Defense/Special Teams rankings for week 14

Defense/Special Teams rankings for week 14

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1. San Diego Chargers at PIT

True fact. The San Diego Chargers have scored a defensive touchdown in every other week since Week 4. Unfortunately for you, they scored one last week against the Bengals. Fortunately for you, they face a Steelers team with one brittle quarterback and one terrible backup. It's no wonder that the Steelers have given the ball away 14 times in the last three weeks.

2. Denver Broncos at OAK

If you combine defensive and special teams touchdowns, as most leagues do, the Broncos have the same amount of TDs as the Chicago Bears (each have seven). Since everyone gets their jollies on the Bears, I'd also like to note that Denver has six more sacks than the Bears. This week they face Carson Palmer, who has thrown an interception in eight straight games and ten of the last 11.

3. New York Jets at JAC

The Jets held a toothless Arizona squad to only six points last week in the Meadowlands. If only they could hold all teams to fewer than six points, then Tim Tebow could be a viable option as the starter. Nevertheless, the Jets have had at least one takeaway in eight straight games and face a Jaguars squad that has given one up in each of the last nine games. Chad Henne has improved the offense to some degree, but he's much less mobile than Blaine Gabbert, which has resulted in 11 sacks in the last two weeks.

4. Cleveland Browns vs. KC

So the eight takeaways against Charlie Batch are probably skewing the number, but the Browns actually have a fairly decent defensive side. Only two teams have topped 25 points against the Browns this season and they've posted occasional high sack totals. The real key to their start this week is Brady Quinn and the Chiefs. Kansas City had its' first game of the season without a turnover last week, but still lead the NFL in giveaways.

5. Chicago Bears at MIN

Yes, Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings aren't likely to play on Sunday, but this defense is opportunistic and they're facing a quarterback with shaky confidence, no receivers and a short leash. After starting the season with four straight games without a pick, Christian Ponder has thrown 11 in the last eight games.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. PHI

For as bad of a pass defense the Bucs have, they've intercepted a ball in 10 of 12 games this season and had multiple picks in five games. It's almost as if they're baiting offenses to throw at them. They'll probably be doing that this weekend too against Nick Foles and the Eagles. Philly has had turnover issues for a while, but it's been really bad in the last five weeks. They've allowed five defensive touchdowns in that time frame and have fumbled the ball in each of those contests.

7. San Francisco 49ers vs. MIA

From a fantasy standpoint, the 49ers defense has been a massive disappointment this season. They've only scored on the defensive side in two games this season and have had one or fewer turnovers in seven of 12 games. This week they face rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins, who make a cross country trek to Candlestick. Miami has given up three defensive touchdowns in the last four weeks as Tannehill has been picked off six times during that span.

8. St. Louis Rams at BUF

Prior to the last two weeks, the St. Louis Rams had not forced a turnover in five straight games. It's nearly impossible to do, and they were just that bad. Fast forward to Week 11, in which they picked off Ryan Lindley four times, returning two for touchdowns and then to Week 12 when they returned a fumble for a score and recorded a safety against the 49ers. This week they travel to Buffalo to face a Bills squad that has given up two defensive scores in the last three weeks. Maybe the Rams are about to turn this thing around.

9. Seattle Seahawks vs. ARI

The Seahawks defense has been rocked by suspensions to both starting cornerbacks. Brandon Browner will begin his four game suspension this week while Dick Sherman will wait until his hearing next week for a decision. Despite that, the Seahawks still have one of the toughest defenses in the NFL, especially at home. That fact is just accentuated by their matchup with the Cardinals. Arizona named John Skelton the starter for the week, but he had been benched a few weeks back for throwing too many balls to the other team.

10. Minnesota Vikings vs. CHI

Call it a gut instinct, but living in Minnesota and hearing all the negativity surrounding the Vikings (specifically the offense) makes me think that this defense is due to win a game on their own. The Vikes certainly have the pieces to make some noise on the defensive side and the Bears have enough injuries on their offensive line to make Jay Cutler poop his pants. The Bears have allowed five or more sacks four times this season, and that was with a healthy o-line. I'm going to give the Vikes a chance this week in the dome.

Other options…

11. Green Bay Packers vs. DET

12. Tennessee Titans at IND

13. Dallas Cowboys at CIN

14. New York Football Giants vs. NO

15. New England Patriots vs. HOU

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