Defenses

July 23, 2006

ON THE RISE

PANTHERS
Lane-clogging DT Kris Jenkins, who tore his right ACL in Week 1 last season, isback at full speed.

BEARS
Top-notch defense now has rookie Devin Hester (six kick-return touchdowns incollege) to bolster a weak return game (one touchdown in '06).

VIKINGS
Koren Robinson, 26, blossomed (26.0 yards, one TD) in his first year as akick-return man last season.

ON THEDECLINE

PATRIOTS
Aging defense struggled through first half of 2005 (27.5 PPG) and lostlinebacker Willie McGinest to free agency.

JETS
Defense is bound to struggle as new coach Eric Mangini implements his 3-4system, which doesn't suit their personnel.

RAMS
This was the NFL's second-worst scoring defense in '05; Martz-less offense willkeep that unit on the field even more this year.

SLEEPERS

EAGLES
A bust last season, they'll benefit from adding free-agent DE Darren Howard (31/2 sacks in 12 games for the Saints last year) to an injury-depleted line.

CHIEFS
The talent is there; now they have a defense-first coach in Herm Edwards totake advantage of it.

SAINTS
This could be a clever way to siphon points out of Reggie Bush (three careerTDs as a punt returner at USC).


  SI TEAM RANKINGS FOR 2006 With 2005 stats POINTS/
GAME
YARDS/
GAME
RANK
(rush/pass)
RANK
(total)
INTS SACKS POINTS* BYE WEEK
1. Chicago Bears 12.6 281.8 11/5 2 24 41 36 7
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 16.1 284.0 3/16 4 15 47 20 4
3. Carolina Panthers 16.2 282.6 4/9 3 23 45 18 9
4. Indianapolis Colts 15.4 307.1 16/15 11 18 46 24 6
5. Seattle Seahawks 16.9 316.8 5/25 16 16 50 18 5
6. Jacksonville Jaguars 16.8 290.9 14/7 6 19 47 18 6
7. Baltimore Ravens 18.7 284.7 9/8 5 11 42 18 7
8. Washington Redskins 18.3 297.9 13/10 9 16 35 24 8
9. Denver Broncos 16.1 312.9 2/29 15 20 28 20 4
10. San Diego Chargers 19.5 309.2 1/28 13 10 46 12 3
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17.1 277.8 6/6 1 17 36 20 4
12. Philadelphia Eagles 24.2 325.4 21/21 23 17 29 18 9
13. Cincinnati Bengals 21.9 338.7 20/26 28 31 28 6 5
14. Minnesota Vikings 21.5 323.3 19/22 21 24 34 30 6
15. Dallas Cowboys 19.2 300.9 15/11 10 15 37 12 3
16. New England Patriots 21.1 330.2 8/31 26 10 33 12 6
17. New York Giants 19.6 327.5 12/27 24 17 41 24 4
18. Miami Dolphins 19.8 317.4 17/20 18 14 49 12 8
19. Atlanta Falcons 21.3 325 26/14 22 16 37 20 5
20. Cleveland Browns 18.8 316.8 30/4 16 15 23 18 6
21. Arizona Cardinals 24.2 295.6 10/12 8 15 37 18 9
22. Kansas City Chiefs 20.3 328.1 7/30 25 16 29 18 3
23. Detroit Lions 21.6 322.4 24/13 20 19 31 20 8
24. Buffalo Bills 22.9 343.5 31/19 29 17 38 14 8
25. Green Bay Packers 21.5 293.1 23/1 7 10 35 18 6
26. Tennessee Titans 26.3 319.4 22/17 19 9 41 32 7
27. St. Louis Rams 26.8 350.1 28/23 30 13 41 26 7
28. New York Jets 22.2 308.8 29/2 12 21 30 24 9
29. Houston Texans 26.9 364 32/24 31 7 37 12 5
30. San Francisco 49ers 26.8 391.2 18/32 32 16 28 36 7
31. New Orleans Saints 24.9 312.1 27/3 14 10 25 0 7
32. Oakland Raiders 23.9 330.8 25/18 27 5 36 6 3

*Points scoredby defense and special teams

PHOTOBILL FRAKES PHOTOBRIAN KILLIAN/WIREIMAGE.COM

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)