1. Baltimore (STL) – The Ravens defense appears to be back on track after their week 4 melt down. They face a St. Louis team that is working diligently to overcome many issues in its own right. The Rams offense is showing signs of improvement but they have a long way to go and too many injuries up front. The Baltimore defense should handle them with ease.
2. Jacksonville (HOU) – They came into the '07 campaign with a reputation for being a run stuffing defense but they have actually excelled in stopping the pass. The run defense, which was non existent in week 1, is starting to live up to its billing. The Jags defense looks to be a force in future weeks with the complete package. We like them this week at home against a beat up Texans offense.
3. Chicago (MIN) – No one could argue that this defense has certainly had a rough way to go in recent weeks, but they are getting healthy and seem to be regaining their momentum. The Bears face an offense that is solid in the running game but has a very quiet passing game. The Chicago defense should be able to focus in on the Vikings running attack and have a successful day. Look for bonus points from turnovers and sacks.
4. San Diego (OAK) – The Chargers appear to be a rejuvenated team after last week’s drumming of the Broncos. The defense was amazing and shows no sign of slowing down this week at home against the Raiders. They are riding high with confidence against an improved but shaky Raiders offense.
5. Philadelphia (@JETS) – This defense does not rank among the league’s elite but they have matched up well against some of the NFL’s best offenses. The Eagles, coming off a bye week, should be well rested and prepared for their road match up with the Jets. We like their chances for a big game this week.
6. Tampa Bay (TEN) – Sure, they got waxed last week, but this defense has performed admirably all season and it is hard to hold a beating at the hands of the high powered Colts against them. The Bucs D matches up against a Titans offense that really sputtered last week and is prone to turnovers. They should rebound at home this week in what will likely be a defensive battle.
7. Minnesota (@CHI) – They are quickly becoming a big play defense. What the Vikings lack in pass defense, they more than make up for against the run. They have also had a lot of success in creating turnovers this season which should translate well against a turnover prone Bear’s offense. The Minnesota D has had two weeks to prepare and they come in fresh. We look for them to have a solid game.
8. Arizona (CAR) – The Arizona defense has seen its share of ups and downs this season. They match up against a Carolina offense that has been on a similar roller coaster ride. The difference is that Carolina is on the steep down hill run. The Cards defense should have a good afternoon against the declining Panthers offense.
9. Washington (@GB) – This defense continues to improve each week. The Redskins D looked especially impressive last week in their route over the Lions. They should bring that momentum into Green Bay and create some problems for Favre and the Packers but it will be a big test for the secondary.
10. Tennessee (@TB) – There is no question that the Titans defense has been one of this season’s biggest surprises. They rank among the NFL’s elite in practically every possible statistical category. They will match up against a Tampa Bay offense that is not exactly potent but very efficient, and free of mistakes. Look for Tennessee to make another strong showing this week in Tampa.
11. Seattle (NO) – The Seahawks defense has struggled at times this year and have not lived up to expectations. They face a New Orleans offense that can not move the football on the ground right now. The Saint’s passing game has been equally poor, turning the ball over and failing to find the end zone. The Seahawks defense could turn the tables this week on a mediocre beginning to the '07 season.
12. Green Bay (WAS) – The Packers defense struggled a bit in the second half last week against the Bears and they face an improving Redskins offense this week. They must limit their penalties and play better against the pass but they could present the Washington offense with a stern welcome to Lambeau Field this week.
13. New England (@DAL) – This defense is typically a lock as a fantasy starter but this week offers a huge test. They must go to Dallas and face one of the league’s top offenses. It is unlikely the Cowboys will come out as lame as they did last week, but if they do; the Patriots will surely make them pay. This defense makes few mistakes but the Cowboys have the tools to give them problems. The New England defense is a rare gamble this week.
14. NY Giants (@ATL) – The Giants defense played decent last week but fell back into some of their bad habits. They face an Atlanta offense that has seen its share of ups and downs. It is hard to say which Giants D will show up this week but they should be ok. Just in case, we suggest you look elsewhere this week if you have a better option.
15. Cincinnati (@KC) – This defense has been far from good this season but the week off should have helped them heal and regroup. They face a very inconsistent Chiefs offense this week that showed little effort in week 5. The Bengals may be a bit of a gamble as your starting defense this week but it is a risk that could pay off nicely. Good match up.
16. Houston (@JAC) – The Texans have played well at times this season on defense but they continue to be inconsistent. They face an upstart Jaguar offense this week that is likely to give them problems. You could do much worse than the Houston defense this week, but there are better options out there.
17. Atlanta (NYG) – They played a decent game last week in spite of a loss. The Falcons have done a good job of forcing turnovers but they are prone to giving up big plays and easy scores. The Giants thrive on big plays and that makes them a tough match up this week.
18. Oakland (@SD) – The Raiders defense has been little more than mediocre to this point. They match up against a confident Charger offense that showed signs of returning to greatness last week. This will likely be a tough game for this defense despite the extra week to game plan. You should consider another defense to be on the safe side.
19. Carolina (@ARI) – The Panther defense is showing signs of weakening with each passing week. Much of it has to do with the declining play of the offense which shows no indication of improving. This week they face a Cardinal offense that has been putting up some impressive numbers. These are obviously two teams headed in opposite directions, so it is a good week to take a pass on the Carolina D.
20. Kansas City (CIN) – The Kansas City defense has over achieved throughout the season. They will likely meet their match this week against the high powered Bengal offense. Give the Chiefs D the week off. They are a solid defense but the Cinci offense presents too big of a challenge.
21. New Orleans (@SEA) – The Saints march into Seattle one of only three winless teams. Much of that lies on the offenses shoulders but the defense has done little to remedy their many problems. They will battle a bitter Seahawks offense, out for blood, coming off of a shut out. Until the Saints offense gets on track, you can expect little improvement from this defense.
22. Cleveland (MIA) – The Browns defense has been the weakness of this team all season long. The offense can now score with almost anyone, but the defense takes them out of games. They face a struggling Miami offense that is without Trent Green, but this defense can not hold even the worst offenses. Great match up, bad defense.
23. St. Louis (@BAL) – This defense continues to get embarrassed on a weekly basis. The good news is that they face a Ravens offense that can not find the end zone in recent weeks. The bad news is that the Rams defense will likely help the Baltimore offense get back on track in week 6.
24. Miami (@CLE) – There is some consolation for this defense in saying that they were not completely awful last week, but they are a long way from being the defense that they were projected to be. On the other side of that coin, the Dolphins defense faces a Browns offense that has defied preseason prognostication and played very well. The Cleveland offense will present them with a big challenge. This would have been a dream match up for the Dolphins going into week 1, but what a difference a year can make.
25. Dallas (NE) – This is a pretty solid defense and one you should use in almost any given week. Unfortunately, this is not that week. They will battle the league’s most frightening offense in the Patriots, and likely come out on the short end of the stick. This is the week to see what your back up D is made of.
26. NY Jets (PHI) – The Jets defense continues to be one of the league’s worst. They face a potential throttling this week at the hands of the Eagles. Philly is coming off of a bye and should have a healthy Brian Westbrook. Using this defense is like letting Britney Spears baby sit your kids, a bad idea. Steer clear of the Jets D this week and any week.