Defense/Special Teams

August 09, 2009

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SI TEAM RANKINGS FOR 2009 with 2008 stats POINTS PER GAME YARDS PER GAME INTERCEPTIONS SACKS DEF/ST RETURN TDS BYE WEEK
1. Pittsburgh Steelers 13.9 237.2 20 51 3 8
2. New York Giants 18.4 292.0 17 42 3 10
3. San Diego Chargers 21.7 349.9 15 28 4 5
4. Minnesota Vikings 20.8 292.4 12 45 4 9
5. New York Jets 22.3 329.4 14 41 6 9
6. Dallas Cowboys 22.8 294.3 8 59 2 6
7. Philadelphia Eagles 18.1 274.3 15 48 7 4
8. Tennessee Titans 14.6 293.6 20 44 4 7
9. Baltimore Ravens 15.3 261.1 26 34 6 7
10. Washington Redskins 18.5 288.8 13 24 1 8
11. Arizona Cardinals 26.6 331.5 13 31 6 4
12. New England Patriots 19.3 309.0 14 31 1 8
13. Chicago Bears 21.9 334.7 22 28 7 5
14. Indianapolis Colts 18.6 310.9 15 30 5 6
15. Houston Texans 24.6 336.6 12 25 3 10
16. San Francisco 49ers 23.8 326.0 12 30 5 6
17. Green Bay Packers 23.8 334.3 22 27 9 5
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20.2 306.1 22 29 7 8
19. Miami Dolphins 19.8 329.0 18 40 2 6
20. Carolina Panthers 20.6 331.2 12 37 2 4
21. Oakland Raiders 24.3 360.9 16 32 5 9
22. New Orleans Saints 24.6 339.5 15 28 3 5
23. Buffalo Bills 21.4 326.1 10 24 5 9
24. Atlanta Falcons 20.3 348.2 10 34 4 4
25. Seattle Seahawks 24.5 378.0 9 35 4 7
26. Jacksonville Jaguars 22.9 330.9 13 29 3 7
27. Cleveland Browns 21.9 356.5 23 17 3 9
28. Detroit Lions 32.3 404.4 4 30 1 7
29. Denver Broncos 28.0 374.6 6 26 2 7
30. Cincinnati Bengals 22.8 325.5 12 17 3 8
31. St. Louis Rams 29.1 371.9 12 30 1 9
32. Kansas City Chiefs 27.5 393.2 13 10 3 8

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)

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)