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Defense and Special Teams

Aug. 04, 2008
Aug. 04, 2008

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Aug. 4, 2008

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Defense and Special Teams

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This is an article from the Aug. 4, 2008 issue

SI TEAM RANKINGS FOR 2008 with 2007 statsPTS/GMYARDS/GMINTsSACKSDEF. TDsSPEC. TEAM RETURN TDsSAFETIESBYE WEEK
1.San Diego Chargers17.8337.330428209
2.Chicago Bears21.8370.016418618
3.Minnesota Vikings19.4355.315389118
4.Seattle Seahawks18.2340.820455314
5.New England Patriots17.1309.619478204
6.Green Bay Packers18.2326.919366208
7.Dallas Cowboys20.3327.6194640010
8.Jacksonville Jaguars19.0329.120374107
9.Indianapolis Colts16.4289.822283124
10.New York Giants21.9326.815536104
11.Baltimore Ravens24.0313.0173243010
12.Arizona Cardinals24.9345.318368107
13.Buffalo Bills22.1371.918265226
14.Tampa Bay Buccaneers16.9291.3163331110
15.New York Jets22.2344.915295305
16.Pittsburgh Steelers16.8281.611363116
17.Detroit Lions27.8393.617375114
18.Denver Broncos25.6348.714333118
19.Tennessee Titans18.6306.622402006
20.Philadelphia Eagles18.8326.611372007
21.Oakland Raiders24.9353.318272015
22.Cleveland Browns23.9371.217284315
23.New Orleans Saints24.3360.513325019
24.Carolina Panthers21.7335.914232009
25.Houston Texans24.0356.411317408
26.San Francisco 49ers22.8357.612311019
27.Kansas City Chiefs20.9335.214371016
28.St. Louis Rams27.4355.718313115
29.Washington Redskins19.4317.6143320210
30.Cincinnati Bengals24.1356.819225118
31.Miami Dolphins27.3352.614303104
32.Atlanta Falcons25.9364.616251007

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On the Rise

JETS
New acquisitions Vernon Gholston (above) and Kris Jenkins will add value to a defense that already includes fantasy stars Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis.

SEAHAWKS
This underappreciated group is led by Lofa Tatupu, one of the game's most active defenders.

PACKERS
With the offense in transition, Green Bay's outstanding defense and special teams will be called upon to do even more.

On the Decline

RAVENS
This team has been defined by its elite defense for years, but this aging unit could plummet abruptly.

STEELERS
They will still be among the best at keeping opponents off the board, but they won't score many fantasy points.

GIANTS
With Michael Strahan's retirement, they no longer have the best three-end rotation in the league.

Sleepers

CARDINALS
Cornerbacks Antrel Rolle (above) and Roderick Hood combined for five TDs last year, and Steve Breaston emerged as a top punt returner.

COLTS
The return of pass-rush demon Dwight Freeney from foot surgery will kick-start a defense that ranked 26th in the NFL in sacks last year.

RAIDERS
The addition of All-Pro CB DeAngelo Hall gives Oakland's already strong secondary some added fantasy cachet.

PHOTOAL PEREIRA/GETTY IMAGES (GHOLSTON)PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (ROLLE)