Week 12 lineup calls: D/ST teams
Let’s dive into the top starts, sleepers and flops for defenses/special teams.
Top Defenses/Special Teams
(Other than Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and New York Jets)
Kansas City at Seattle
The Seahawks rank 27th in scoring offense at 18.5 points per game. The passing game has been intriguing at times with Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu, but the running game has been inefficient and inconsistent. Seattle has allowed 24 sacks and has committed 17 turnovers.
Cleveland vs. Carolina
The Panthers rank dead-last in offensive production, generating a dismal 11.7 points per game. Mike Goodson is fun to watch, but there’s a lot of potential for misery here. The Panthers have turned the ball over 28 times this season.
Philadelphia at Chicago
To call the Chicago offense inefficient would be an understatement, as offensive line woes have contributed to troubles on the ground and this team continues forward without a true No. 1 wide receiver. As such, the aggressive Philadelphia defense is good bet to harass Jay Cutler and force errant throws. The secondary has been hit by injuries recently, but the system works.
St. Louis at Denver
The Rams possess a tremendous pass rush and effectively slow opposing running games. This will be a great test against a surging Knowshon Moreno and the deep passing game of the Kyle Orton-Brandon Lloyd combination. Denver is tied for 21st in turnovers with 14, but seventh in sacks allowed with 26.
New York Giants vs. Jacksonville
The Giants’ front four will be called upon to pick up the injury-riddled offense this week against the first-place Jaguars. New York did a fine job containing the frenetic Philadelphia offense last week before ceding multiple big plays down the stretch. I look for this front to get after David Garrard and perhaps match his Week 11 turnover total.
New England at Detroit
The Patriots rank 23rd in total defense (24.2 points per game) and face an interesting challenge in Detroit. You know of my infatuation with the Lions’ skill position players, starting at the top with Shaun Hill. However, the potential is always there for Hill to press and throw into tight spots for the big turnover. The Lions are tied for 10th in the turnover department with 19.
Arizona vs. San Francisco
The 49ers rank 31st in total offense at a miserable 16 points scored per game. They are tied for 12th in turnovers (18), and Troy Smith is subject to the errant throw downfield. Arizona has struggled against opposing quarterbacks, but they also gamble on the edges and occasionally come up with the big play.
Chicago vs. Philadelphia
The Bears are tied with the Packers for the top spot in scoring defense, having surrendered 14.6 points per game. Chicago faces the speed-laden Philadelphia offense, and it’ll be interesting to see how the cornerbacks contend with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. The Giants appeared to have found a blueprint to somewhat contain this attack, although they were helped markedly by dropped balls.
Atlanta vs. Green Bay
The Falcons have been one of the steadiest defenses in the game, but now face the hot Green Bay offense that spreads the field and works the ball deep. The Packers are tied for 24th in turnovers and in the middle of the pack in sacks allowed. As such, those points won’t be piling up, and you’re certainly not shutting down Rodgers in the “Points Allowed” column.
Tampa Bay at Baltimore
The Buccaneers rank among the league’s best scoring defenses, having benefited greatly from great cornerback play. However, they’ll face myriad of speed options downfield, Todd Heap over the middle and a dangerous two-back system in the backfield.