The last week of the season makes me take a couple of new variables into consideration when rankings the team defenses. For week 17 you got to pay attention to what teams are still playing for something and which teams might just put it into cruise control. With that being said some offenses are just flat out terrible and some playoff bound team’s second string can still put up points against a completely defeated team. So with all that taken into consideration here are my week 17 team defense rankings.
1. San Francisco 49ers – Still need a win to achieve ideal playoff seeding. Great match up this week at home vs. a terrible Arizona offense.
2. Denver Broncos – Broncos have locked up their playoff birth but KC is just so bad on offense (minus the occasional Jamall Charles appearance). You can play the Broncos with confidence this week even if Von Miller doesn’t play the full game.
3. Chicago Bears – Bears are playing for their season this Sunday. Charles Tillman was able to keep Calvin Johnson in check the first time these two rivals met. The Bears seemed to regain some of that defensive mojo they had at the beginning of the year.
4. Houston Texans – J. J. Watt is still chasing the sack record and Houston would love to see him get it vs. rival Indy and Andrew Luck. This game really isn’t that significant but I would still play Houston’s D and not think twice about it.
5. NY Giants – Giants need a win to keep any type of playoff hopes alive. Getting Philly at home definitely helps the Giants cause. It sounds like Michael Vick is going to have to shake off the rust and start this game. I can see the Giants forcing a couple of turnovers this week.
6. San Diego Chargers – A irrelevant game vs. a terrible Oakland team. This game has potential to get sloppy and turnover filled quickly. The Chargers D has been about average this year and I believe they can get you some points this week.
7. Seattle Seahawks – Once again this is based on Richard Sherman. If Sherman plays Seattle’s D can put up some big numbers at home vs. St. Louis. Even if Sherman is suspended I would still feel fairly confident to play the Seahawks this week.
8. New England Patriots – The Pats D looked like junk early in the game last week vs. JAX, but I think in true Bellichek fashion the Pats will bounce back this week and put up some good fantasy numbers vs. Miami.
9. Buffalo Bills – Bills are ranked in the top 10 because they are playing a terrible Jets team. As long as Mario Williams and company can contain the run game the Bills could definitely create turnovers.
10. Detroit Lions – Lions are playing the spoiler role in week 17 vs. the Bears. Jay Cutler and the Bears offense hasn’t exactly been torching defenses as of late. Detroit’s D-line should be able to put pressure on Cutler who is usually good for at least 1 pick.
11. Cleveland Browns – Another match up of non playoff teams Cleveland gets Pittsburgh this week. Big Ben has been coughing the ball up lately and Cleveland’s secondary has been unexpectedly good this year. Cleveland is more of a sleeper play this week but definitely something to keep your eye on.
12. NY Jets – Jets defense is the gas that keeps that car going. Good match up for the Jets secondary the only thing that scares me here is their ability to stop C. J. Spiller.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers defense has been good all year and I don’t believe Mike Tomlin will let his team lay down vs. Cleveland this week. If you are a Pittsburgh owner you can play them with confidence this week.
14. Atlanta Falcons – Tampa Bay’s offense has fallen off the map lately. To avoid another post season collapse I can see Atlanta’s defense going at full speed this week. Not a bad waiver wire pick up this week.
15. New Orleans Saints – The Saints defense has gotten better each week and they should be looking to end the season on a high note.
It’s been a great time ranking the defenses every week as well as answering questions in the members only forum this year. Please make sure to check out our Sunday morning show 90 minutes before kick off.