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Yet again, the Patriots led the way in scoring among defenses. The top defenses have begun to solidify themselves among the top scorers week after week. But this all depends on the matchup. I will be going through my top 9 defenses for this week, analyzing the offense they will be playing and giving some insight about what to expect as an outcome.
1. New England Patriots
Opponent: New York Jets
The Patriots have no reason to not continue their dominance against the Jets this week. Last week, the Patriots handled the Giants with a blocked punt for a touchdown as well as 4 turnovers and only allowing one touchdown to the Giants’ offense. Sam Darnold returned for the Jets last week and provided a spark in what was a very stagnant offense. This is actually a rematch from Week 3 where the Patriots’ defense shut out the Jets’ offense (only let up two extra points from defensive touchdowns). I’d expect a little less but not much less this week.
2. Buffalo Bills
Opponent: Miami Dolphins
The Bills are coming off their bye week and come into the best matchup possible for defenses. The Dolphins have by far the worst offense in the NFL with an average score of 8.4 per game. The Bills rank among the top in defenses with an average opposing score of 14 per game. The combination of these creates a very high score for the Bills’ defense. The Bills held the Titans to 285 total yards from scrimmage and just 7 points. If they held the Titans’ offense to that little, imagine what they can do to the Dolphins. It won’t be pretty for the Dolphins’ offense.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Opponent: Washington Redskins
The 49ers’ defense has carried the team to an undefeated record and this week should not be any different. The 49ers had 7 turnovers all of last season. They already have 11 turnovers through 5 games this year. The 49ers have allowed the second-least amount of points this season at 12.8 points per game. The Redskins’ offense has gone through three quarterbacks now and has gone back to their original starter because nothing has worked. Because of fortunate events, they beat the worst team in the NFL. There is no way they manage much against the 49ers this week.
4. Los Angeles Chargers
Opponent: Tennessee Titans
Since Week 2, the Chargers have forced at least one turnover every game, plus they even had a touchdown in Week 5 against the Broncos. The Titans have recently run into a brick wall as they are the fifth-least scoring offense in the NFL. They have decided to bench their starting quarterback, Marcus Mariota, and turn to backup, Ryan Tannehill. While Tannehill is not new to leading a team, it has been a while since his last start which was on a different team. He will likely be rusty and likely make a few mistakes for the Chargers to capitalize on.
5. Chicago Bears
Opponent: New Orleans Saints
As the number one ranked preseason defense, there is a lot to live up to for the Bears. While they haven’t lived up to the number spot, they certainly haven’t disappointed. They have allowed the third-least amount of points per game at 13.8 and have one touchdown against the Redskins. 2 weeks ago was their worst week where they allowed 24 points. Before that, no team had scored more than 15. The Saints struggled to score against the Jaguars last week. If the Bears can mimic what they did, which they have the ability to do, they will do just fine this week.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals
The Jaguars are coming off a nice game against the Saints last week in which they held them to 13 points with 3 sacks. The one issue with the Jaguars this year has been their ability to create turnovers. They only have two this year but the Bengals serve as a great team to raise their totals against. The Bengals have turned the ball over 11 times this year and have been the fourth-worst scoring offense this season with 16.2 points per game. The Jags have a great opportunity to show what they are capable of.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Opponent: New York Giants
The Cardinals’ defense has been one of the worst this season. They have allowed the fourth-most points per game this season, but this matchup is a good enough matchup that I would rank them this high. The Giants have turned the ball over the most in the league at 15 times. Patrick Peterson will be returning this week from his suspension. He will be ready to return to action and maybe even return with an interception. I’d expect a few turnovers for the Cardinals that would help cover-up for any points they allow.
8. New Orleans Saints
Opponent: Chicago Bears
The Saints have been able to post solid numbers due to turnovers and sacks. They had a great game against the Jaguars last week as they held them to just 6 points with 2 sacks and an interception. The Bears have scored the sixth-least points per game at 17.4 and have a recently hurt, Mitchell Trusbisky returning. He has not played well this season and David Montgomery has not quite lived up to his hype yet. The Saints should be able to handle the Bears’ offense with a few sacks and maybe a turnover or two.
9. Tennessee Titans
Opponent: Los Angeles Chargers
The Titans have not allowed more than 20 points in any contest this season. They have 8 total turnovers on the season and the Chargers have turned the ball over 11 times. They have the fifth-highest turnover rate per drive at 17.2% which sets the Titans up nicely to add to their number. The Chargers’ running game came to a halt last week in which they only had 32 yards. The Titans have the fifth-best pass defense in terms of yards which should play in nicely for when the Chargers try to test their luck through the air.