1. Chicago Bears vs. HOU
Until further notice the Bears are the top ranked defense. They scored another two defensive touchdowns last week and have now forced 28 takeaways this season. I don't even care that they play a really good offense (the Texans have only allowed 10 sacks and six turnovers in eight games). If you have the Bears, you start them.
2. New York Giants at CIN
You thought that it was impressive that the Bears had 28 takeaways, well the Giants have put up an equally impressive 26 takeaways this season. They happen to take on the Bengals this weekend, who have allowed the fourth-most interceptions in the league this season and have allowed four defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.
3. Denver Broncos at CAR
This Broncos defense is starting to gain some confidence. They've allowed 24 or fewer points in four of their last five games and the offense seems to be firing on all cylinders. The Broncos face a Panthers offense that is not firing, but could be fired before the season is through. Carolina has been held to 22 or fewer points in five of the last six games. This has the makings of a blowout, which usually lead to sloppy play and defensive touchdowns.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. KC
If this year's Bears are the epic defense of the decade, this year's Chiefs offense is the exact opposite, and almost on the same scale. The Chiefs have allowed 29 turnovers this season including at least two in every game and at least four turnovers in four of their last five games. If there was a pee wee football team facing the Chiefs, I would start them this week. Fortunately for you it's the Steelers playing the Chiefs. While Blitzburgh has been anything but this season (only eight takeaways), they will right the ship with a big win this week.
5. New England Patriots vs. BUF
The Patriots are very quietly tied for the league lead in fumble recoveries with the Chicago Bears. That's right, the Pats are becoming some sort of opportunistic defense, as they're only two fumble recoveries away from setting their highest mark in eight years. Buffalo just happens to be really good at fumbling the ball. The Bills have lost a fumble in six straight games and Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown at least one pick in four of his last five.
6. Houston Texans at CHI
When you are talking defense and Bears in the same article, it's rarely highlighting their opponent, but this Houston club cannot be overlooked. The Texans are tied for third in the NFL with 25 sacks this season and have also allowed the third-fewest points to opponents. Remember, Jay Cutler does have a touch of meltdown to him. We just don't know when it's going to happen next. The Bears offensive line hasn't done Cutler many favors, allowing 14 sacks in the last three weeks.
7. Baltimore Ravens vs. OAK
This ain't your daddy's Ravens' defense, but it's still a defensive squad that has held four opponents to 16 or fewer points this year. While I don't think that Baltimore will accomplish that feat against a mistake-prone, yet high-flying Raiders offense, I think that they will make some noise. The Raiders have turned the ball over at least three times in three of their last four games and it's not likely that they will even try to run the ball this week.
8. New York Jets at SEA
The Jets make the long trek across the country to a date with the Seahawks. I'm guessing they were sleepless or something like that. While the Jets still boast one of the league's best passing defenses, the Seahawks aren't afraid to hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch 30 times. However, rookie Russell Wilson has given up the ball multiple times in three of their last five games. So let's see if the Jets can dial up some exotic blitzes and confuse the rookie this weekend.
9. Seattle Seahawks vs. NYJ
The Seahawks also boast one of the best defensive backfields in football, so it's likely we see a heavy dose of Shonn Greene this week in Seattle. Since that obviously won't work, the Jets will have to throw the ball, and despite his west coast roots, Mark Sanchez will be made uncomfortable. The Seahawks have forced at least one interception in seven of nine games this year and have allowed under 140 passing yards in three of their last five games.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. SD
The Bucs are third in the NFL in interceptions this season with 13 and just happen to face a quarterback that has thrown nine picks in his last six games. It's a recipe for success for someone playing the Bucs defense this week. The Chargers have turned the ball over multiple times in four of their last six games, but have looked better in the last two weeks against meager teams such as Cleveland and Kansas City. The last time the Chargers faced a challenge from a defense, the Broncos were housing six turnovers and bringing back two for scores.
11. Philadelphia Eagles vs. DAL
12. San Francisco 49ers vs. STL
13. Dallas Cowboys at PHI
14. Atlanta Falcons at NO
15. Miami Dolphins vs. TEN