1. Denver Broncos @ IND
You know your defense is doing something correctly when you limit Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards passing. The Broncos defense is demoralizing quarterbacks and pressured Rodgers on 63 percent of his drop backs. That’s the highest rate he has been pressured in a game over the past seven seasons. Denver has allowed the fewest points (112), while posting the most sacks (28) and defensive touchdowns (4). What’s more, in the two games since Andrew Luck’s return, he has thrown five interceptions and the Colts have surrendered a whopping seven giveaways. Finally, only one team has notched more total takeaways (17) than the Broncos defense.
2. New England Patriots vs. WSH
“You like that?” Why yes, I do love the fact the Patriots square off with the Redskins this week. It was so kind of you to ask, Mr. Cousins. The Washington offense, led by Kirk “The Paper Airplane” Cousins has surrendered a whopping five giveaways and two defensive touchdowns over the last two weeks. The Patriots have allowed the sixth fewest total points (133) and they’ve notched multiple turnover performances in every game but three. In closing, the Redskins have scored 25 total points or more in just one contest this year.
3. St. Louis Rams @ MIN
The Rams defensive line against the patchwork Vikings offensive line has the makings of a new episode of “The Walking Dead.” Teddy Bridgewater might not survive this game and if he does, he’ll be a zombie for life. The Rams have notched the second-most sacks (26), along with the fifth-most total takeaways (13). Minnesota’s offensive line has struggled against every defensive front they’ve encountered. For example, Denver tallied a gargantuan seven sacks against the Vikings a few weeks ago. What’s more, Minnesota has committed a least one turnover in every contest this season. Finally, the Rams have accumulated a whopping seven turnovers over the last three weeks of play.
4. Atlanta Falcons @ SF
“You can tell everybody, I’m on the bench, on the bench, on the bench.” The Blaine Gabbert tour is back and the ensuing power cords are sweet music for fans across the globe. Jim “The Soprano” Tomsula decided he needed a casting change and Gabbert clearly was the best option. However, I do want to see video of Colin Kaepernick sitting in a dim lit room as he murmured “The Man” to himself.
Atlanta’s defense has notched just two combined turnovers over the last three weeks. Nonetheless, Blaine Gabbert has thrown 24 interceptions in 28 career starts. In addition, the Falcons have surrendered 25 points or more just twice this season. San Francisco’s offense has been bad and they’ve struggled to even cross the 50-yard line. It’s pretty evident as they’ve committed the third-fewest giveaways of any team in the league. However, I’ll give you two words that will change this immediately: Blaine Gabbert.
5. New York Jets vs. JAC
Recently, it’s been a tale of two different stories for the Jets. Nonetheless, the Jags offense has served up six giveaways and three defensive touchdowns over the last three contests. The Jets have managed to accumulate the fourth-most takeaways (15). More importantly, the Jags have scored over 20 points on just three occasions this season. The Jets have allowed over 300 yards of passing in two consecutive games, but Blake Bortles has notched 300-yard performances in just two matchups.
6. Green Bay Packers @ CAR
Over the last two weeks, the Packers defensive weaknesses have been exposed. They’ve surrendered over 500 yards of offense in each of the last two weeks. The injuries are piling up and young players are starting to be relied upon. However, the Panthers have committed two or more turnovers in three consecutive contests. Green Bay has still posted the fourth-best mark in total points allowed (130). What’s more, they’re averaging two turnovers per game over their last three contests. Finally, the Panthers have tallied the eighth-most total giveaways this year.
7. Cincinnati Bengals vs. CLE
The Bengals haven’t allowed more than 25 points to any offense this season and a team led by Johnny Manziel is in no danger of threatening this statistic. The Browns have surrendered a gargantuan nine turnovers over the last three contests and Johnny Football is starting this game with a short week to prepare. Oh yeah, and Cincinnati has tallied the sixth-most takeaways (12) of any defense. Manziel should just play quarterback left-handed while he’s at it. More importantly, the Bengals have notched two or more takeaways in each of their last three contests against the Paper Bags.
8. Minnesota Vikings vs. STL
The Vikings defense has quietly been exceeding the expectations of many. Some young players have helped them post the second-best points allowed total (122). To put this into context, Minnesota hasn’t finished among the top-five scoring defenses since 1988. The Rams have committed at least one turnover in each of their last three contests and they’ve exceeded 20 points scored just twice. The Vikings will be sending pressure to exploit the St. Louis Rams’ weaknesses among the offensive line. Minnesota is averaging four sacks per game over the last three games and this will be the biggest mismatch for both teams.
9. Dallas Cowboys vs. PHI
The Cowboys have notched just one takeaway over their last five contests. With limited help from their offense, a heavy strain has been placed upon the defense. Nonetheless, the Eagles have committed at least two giveaways in every game but two this season. In addition, Dallas’ lone multiple turnover performance came in a week two matchup with the Eagles. The Philadelphia offense has lacked any consistency, surrendering the fifth-most giveaways (15). Finally, just three teams have thrown more total interceptions (10) than the Eagles.
10. Carolina Panthers vs. GB
After surviving a late scare on Monday Night football, the Panthers defense will need to be ready to square off with a Packers offense that has scored the tenth-most points per game (24.9). The Panthers have notched the third-most takeaways (16), including five over the last two contests. Over the last two weeks, Green Bay has yet to surrender a turnover to an opposing defense. However, Carolina has tallied two or more takeaways in every matchup but three this season.
11. Philadelphia Eagles @ DAL
Somehow, no team has tallied more turnovers (19) than the Eagles defense. It doesn’t seem possible considering how Philly has played, but they’re averaging over three takeaways per game over their last four contests. Not to mention, they travel to Jerry’s World to square off with the king of batted balls. Matt Cassel is the only quarterback known to man who has recorded more tipped, batted, and/or self-induced interceptions. He’s thrown three picks over his first two games. With the Eagles secondary corralling six interceptions over their last three games, it’s tough not to get a wee-bit excited.
12. Buffalo Bills vs. MIA
Buffalo has allowed 30+ points or more in each of their last two contests and one of those came at the hands of Jacksonville. Ouch. That’s like swallowing NyQuil in one gulp. Nonetheless, Ryan Tannehill has thrown the third-most interceptions (9) of any quarterback in the league. Not to mention, the Dolphins have committed two or more turnovers in four of their last five contests. Buffalo has registered at least one takeaway in every game but two this season and had the bye week to get healthy again on the defensive side of the ball.
13. New York Giants @ TB
Only the Arizona Cardinals have recorded more total interceptions than the New York Giants (12). However, when you allow 52 points to an opposing offense, any credibility is flushed down the toilet. Nonetheless, prior to that debacle, the Giants allowed over 25 points per game in just three contests. Furthermore, over their last three matchups, they’ve corralled ten turnovers, including two defensive touchdowns. Tampa Bay has committed just one giveaway in the last three games, but they’ve all been at the hands of sub-par defensive squads.
14. San Diego Chargers vs. CHI
San Diego has yet to accumulate a turnover in any of their last three contests. Not to mention, they’ve been throttled like a Harley Davidson motor every week. Chicago has surrendered at least one giveaway in every contest but two. Not to mention, their offense has cracked 23 points per game just once this year. It’s worth noting the Bears have also surrendered a whopping three special teams touchdowns and are extremely vulnerable in this aspect of the game.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. OAK
Over the last three games, the Steelers defense has quietly been producing some shockingly good numbers. In that stretch, they’ve allowed just 17.3 points per game, while notching multiple turnover performances in two of those three matchups. Oakland hasn’t committed a giveaway in two consecutive contests, but had at least one in every game leading up to that. Everyone is jumping on the Oakland bandwagon, but I’m still smelling fool’s gold.