Defense/Special Teams for week 17

Defense/Special Teams for week 17

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1. San Francisco 49ers vs. ARI

The Niners defense seems to have ramped up their pass rush in the last month or so, as they've connected with the quarterback for over three sacks a game since their bye week. That's not a good thing for the Cards. Arizona has given up the most sacks in the NFL this week and whatever quarterback they decide to play this week will certainly not possess the mobility or skill to flee the Niners.

2. New England Patriots vs. MIA

Why is it that the team of the decade gets to play a rookie quarterback and a warm weather team in the final game of the season… at home?! In what should be an easy win for the Pats, they look to keep their turnover streak going. In fact, New England has had at least one pick in seven of their last eight games, the only one they didn't record one was against Ryan Tannehill and these Dolphins. Payback!?!? Maybe!

3. Chicago Bears at DET

Bear down, Chicago Bears. Or at least bow down to their defense. At least Detroit should. In the last two games with the Lions the Bears have recorded five sacks, eight turnovers, two touchdowns and only allowed 20 points. Chicago needs this one for a chance at a playoff spot and Detroit needs to get their bags packed for a long offseason.

4. New York Giants vs. PHI

It's the combination of a team that really needs to win facing off against a team that has nothing to play for. It's the stuff that championship teams thrive on and the Giants, last I checked, are still the reigning champs. The Giants are among the top five in interceptions this season while the Eagles offense ranks as one of the worst in giving away turnovers. Last time these teams met the Giants did not force a turnover, but only gave up 19 points to an Eagles team that was still trying.

5. Houston Texans at IND

Just two weeks ago this very Houston Texans team sacked Andrew Luck five times and forced a fumble while holding the Colts to only 17 points. Eight times this season the Texans have held teams to 17 or less. That's pretty good. It makes for some desperation tosses, which is something the Colts know all too well as Luck ranks among the league leaders in interceptions thrown. While the Texans didn't catch a Luck pass last time, I wouldn't think that the Colts could avoid the picks against Houston twice in three weeks.

6. Cleveland Browns at PIT

One of the sneakiest defenses in the league, Cleveland is among the top five in interceptions this season, although they rank in the bottom five in fumbles recovered. Since the Steelers' running game has basically not worked out in a month or so, they will likely take to the skies against Joe Haden and the Browns secondary. Last time these teams met, the Browns recorded four sacks and a pick six.

7. Denver Broncos vs. KC

The Broncos have been one of the most opportunistic defenses in the league and they happen to host one of the offenses that has given up the most opportunities. Those Chiefs have been bad at hanging on to the ball whether it's Brady Quinn or Matt Cassel at quarterback. Kansas City is among the worst in the league at giveaways, as they're closing in on 40 for the season. Denver on the other hand, is among the league leaders in return touchdowns. That's not a good mix for Chiefs fans.

8. Seattle Seahawks vs. STL

The Seahawks are pretty much money in the bank at home games this season. This may be because they get to play with a 12th man, which is cheating, but somehow allowable in Seattle. They've forced multiple turnovers in just about every home game, the one they didn't was against the Packers, and how'd that one turn out Packer fans? The Rams are the opponent this week and have been pretty good at protecting the ball this year. However, the Vikings did return a pick for a touchdown against them just two weeks ago. So we're saying there's a chance.

9. San Diego Chargers vs. OAK

I still can't believe that the Chargers rank among the league's elite in defensive return touchdowns. How can this be possible? Everyone is about to get fired there! You're supposed to easily win games when you get plays like that and the Chargers have lost three games when they've returned a turnover for a score. Luckily for them, the Raiders don't win much. They've also thrown at least one interception in nine of the last ten games.

10. New York Jets at BUF

The thing about the Jets is that they lose in weird ways. Six times in the last seven weeks the offense has scored less than 20 points, while the defense has given up 14 or fewer points in four of the last five. They hope to rebound this week against a Bills team that they throttled in Week 1. In that game the Jets had four takeaways, one defensive touchdown and a kick return score.

Other options…

11. Baltimore Ravens at CIN

12. Buffalo Bills vs. NYJ

13. Arizona Cardinals at SF

14. Tennessee Titans vs. JAC

15. Minnesota Vikings vs. GB

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