1. New England Patriots at MIA
The Pats have caught fire in the last couple of weeks, or at least they did in 52 seconds of Thanksgiving action, scoring twice in a minute against the Jets. Other than that, the five defensive touchdowns and nine turnovers they've forced in the last two weeks are pretty good I'd say. They face another rookie quarterback this week in Ryan Tannehill, who has thrown six picks in the last three weeks. The Fins have also given up a defensive touchdown in each of the last three weeks, so things are looking good in Beantown.
2. Chicago Bears vs. SEA
It's almost too quiet. The Bears have not scored a defensive touchdown in three straight weeks. It's like they're due. After all, they've forced multiple turnovers in 10 of 11 games this season. Fun fact though, six of their seven defensive touchdowns have been scored on the road. This Sunday's game happens to be at home against the Seahawks. Russell Wilson has only thrown two picks in the last six games, but I'm still taking the Bears over every other team.
3. San Francisco 49ers at STL
An increase in quarterback pressure usually results in good things. The 49ers have now sacked the quarterback 11 times in the last two weeks and subsequently came up with two picks in each game (something that they had not done all season). If the tie three weeks ago against the Rams was a wake-up call, I'm interesting to see how they react to that same team this week. The Rams are by all accounts an average opponent against defenses, they give up a handful of sacks and at least a turnover a game. This is purely speculation that the Niners have turned a corner.
4. Cincinnati Bengals at SD
The Bengals have intercepted at least one pass in five of the last six games and have sacked the quarterback four times in each of the last three games. They happen to face a Chargers club that has allowed Phillip Rivers to be sacked 10 times in the last two weeks. Not only that, Rivers has thrown the second-most interceptions in the league this season. So the Bengals got that going for them.
5. Carolina Panthers at KC
While neither quarterback can take full credit for it, the Chiefs have thrown the most interceptions in the NFL this season with 16, including at least one in all but one game this season. Not only that, the Chiefs also lead the league with 16 fumbles and have allowed the second-most defensive touchdowns with four. So, once again, it's "insert team playing the Chiefs here," and that just happens to be the Panthers this week. The Panthers have forced multiple turnovers in each of the last three weeks and dropped a few easy pick sixes last week in Philly.
6. New York Jets vs. ARI
Ryan Lindley threw four interceptions in his first home start. Now he gets his first road start at MetLife Stadium against the Jets. The Jets had a kick return for a touchdown last week against the Pats, but we'll leave the rest of that game alone. Prior to that they had forced multiple turnovers in each of the last two games (which happened to be against a couple of NFC West teams) and scored a touchdown. It's the Ryan Lindley factor here, that's why I've grabbed the Jets for a start this week.
7. Dallas Cowboys vs. PHI
Three weeks ago when Nick Foles got his first taste of action, the Cowboys had three defensive touchdowns. Three. Other than that they're not a very good fantasy defense to have. We're banking on the lightning striking twice here, but there's a better than a Powerball chance for it to happen here. The Eagles have turned the ball over three times in each of the last two weeks, and as I stated above, Foles threw a few dropped balls into the numbers of Panthers' defensive backs last week too.
8. Houston Texans at TEN
Sure, the Texans have given up 68 points in the last two weeks while only recording two takeaways and five sacks, but this is a good fantasy defense. In the prior six games the Texans allowed only one team to top 17 points, recorded four defensive touchdowns and averaged three sacks per game. Then there's the matchup this week against the Titans. Tennessee has been better as of late, but has given up six touchdowns to opposing defenses this season, including two to Houston in their first meeting.
9. Baltimore Ravens vs. PIT
Yes, these are not the Ravens that were drafted in the mid-rounds of fantasy drafts, but there are a few things brewing in Baltimore. First, in the last four weeks the Ravens have held each opponent to 20 or fewer points, have had multiple turnovers in three of those games and scored in two of those games. Last week's six sacks against the Chargers were impressive, but not as impressive as the EIGHT turnovers the Steelers offense gave up in Charlie Batch's first start. Two weeks ago the Ravens forced three turnovers, returning one for a score, it's hard to expect less this week.
10. Arizona Cardinals at NYJ
This is the team that just picked off Matt Ryan five times merely two weeks ago. But it's also the team that's recorded only four sacks in the last three weeks. They do get to face the Jets' offense this week, and they're not much better. In the last five weeks, the Jets have allowed 16 sacks, 12 turnovers and four defensive scores. Yes, I'm as surprised as you that Tim Tebow is not starting.
11. New York Giants at WAS
12. Green Bay Packers vs. MIN
13. San Diego Chargers vs. CIN
14. Seattle Seahawks at CHI
15. Buffalo Bills vs. JAC