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Defense/Special Teams

Aug. 10, 2009
Aug. 10, 2009

Table of Contents
Aug. 10, 2009

GOLF PLUS
LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
PABLO SANDOVAL
PRO FOOTBALL
Departments

Defense/Special Teams

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This is an article from the Aug. 10, 2009 issue

SI TEAM RANKINGS FOR 2009 with 2008 statsPOINTS PER GAMEYARDS PER GAMEINTERCEPTIONSSACKSDEF/ST RETURN TDSBYE WEEK
1. Pittsburgh Steelers13.9237.2205138
2. New York Giants18.4292.01742310
3. San Diego Chargers21.7349.9152845
4. Minnesota Vikings20.8292.4124549
5. New York Jets22.3329.4144169
6. Dallas Cowboys22.8294.385926
7. Philadelphia Eagles18.1274.3154874
8. Tennessee Titans14.6293.6204447
9. Baltimore Ravens15.3261.1263467
10. Washington Redskins18.5288.8132418
11. Arizona Cardinals26.6331.5133164
12. New England Patriots19.3309.0143118
13. Chicago Bears21.9334.7222875
14. Indianapolis Colts18.6310.9153056
15. Houston Texans24.6336.61225310
16. San Francisco 49ers23.8326.0123056
17. Green Bay Packers23.8334.3222795
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers20.2306.1222978
19. Miami Dolphins19.8329.0184026
20. Carolina Panthers20.6331.2123724
21. Oakland Raiders24.3360.9163259
22. New Orleans Saints24.6339.5152835
23. Buffalo Bills21.4326.1102459
24. Atlanta Falcons20.3348.2103444
25. Seattle Seahawks24.5378.093547
26. Jacksonville Jaguars22.9330.9132937
27. Cleveland Browns21.9356.5231739
28. Detroit Lions32.3404.443017
29. Denver Broncos28.0374.662627
30. Cincinnati Bengals22.8325.5121738
31. St. Louis Rams29.1371.9123019
32. Kansas City Chiefs27.5393.2131038

Talking Points

• The entire front seven is back for Pittsburgh. The Steelers are all but automatic as the first defense called.

• The one caveat to picking the Vikings defense: You need to follow the legal battle involving StarCaps supplements and the Williams Wall (tackles Pat and Kevin Williams). If the two end up having to serve a four-game suspension each, scratch Minnesota from your board.

ON THE RISE

• It was already good last year, but the Jets defense will be even better with new coach Rex Ryan and former Ravens like Bart Scott on board. Plus, this team has a good return game.

• You don't think of the Cowboys as having an elite defense—perhaps it's the 44 points they gave up to the Eagles with a playoff spot at stake last year—but Dallas did lead the league in sacks in 2008, which gets you the fantasy numbers.

• The Eagles have formidable talent in the return game, and Trent Cole is a sack machine, but they'll miss longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who died of cancer last week. His successor, Sean McDermott, at least was schooled under Johnson for years.

UNDERRATED

• Don't be too concerned that the TITANS lost free agent Albert Haynesworth or coordinator Jim Schwartz. They stayed in-house to fill Schwartz's position (Chuck Cecil), so the scheme won't change. And Tennessee's ball-hog offense will keep the heat off linebacker Keith Bulluck and the defense.

• What happened to the pass defense in Chicago? The Bears dropped to 30th in the NFL in that category last year. Their greatest selling point now is their return game, with Devin Hester on punts and Danieal Manning bringing back kicks.

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PHOTOMICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (SCOTT)PHOTODONN JONES (BULLUCK)