Publish date:

Defense/Special Teams

[originallink:10858671:1004220]

SI TEAM RANKINGS FOR 2009 with 2008 stats

POINTS PER GAME

YARDS PER GAME

INTERCEPTIONS

SACKS

DEF/ST RETURN TDS

BYE WEEK

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

13.9

237.2

20

51

3

8

2. New York Giants

18.4

292.0

17

42

3

10

3. San Diego Chargers

21.7

349.9

15

28

4

5

4. Minnesota Vikings

20.8

292.4

12

45

4

9

5. New York Jets

22.3

329.4

14

41

6

9

6. Dallas Cowboys

22.8

294.3

8

59

2

6

7. Philadelphia Eagles

18.1

274.3

15

48

7

4

8. Tennessee Titans

14.6

293.6

20

44

4

7

9. Baltimore Ravens

15.3

261.1

26

34

6

7

10. Washington Redskins

18.5

288.8

13

24

1

8

11. Arizona Cardinals

26.6

331.5

13

31

6

4

12. New England Patriots

19.3

309.0

14

31

1

8

13. Chicago Bears

21.9

334.7

22

28

7

5

14. Indianapolis Colts

18.6

310.9

15

30

5

6

15. Houston Texans

24.6

336.6

12

25

3

10

16. San Francisco 49ers

23.8

326.0

12

30

5

6

17. Green Bay Packers

23.8

334.3

22

27

9

5

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20.2

306.1

22

29

7

8

19. Miami Dolphins

19.8

329.0

18

40

2

6

20. Carolina Panthers

20.6

331.2

12

37

2

4

21. Oakland Raiders

24.3

360.9

16

32

5

9

22. New Orleans Saints

24.6

339.5

15

28

3

5

23. Buffalo Bills

21.4

326.1

10

24

5

9

24. Atlanta Falcons

20.3

348.2

10

34

4

4

25. Seattle Seahawks

24.5

378.0

9

35

4

7

26. Jacksonville Jaguars

22.9

330.9

13

29

3

7

27. Cleveland Browns

21.9

356.5

23

17

3

9

28. Detroit Lions

32.3

404.4

4

30

1

7

29. Denver Broncos

28.0

374.6

6

26

2

7

30. Cincinnati Bengals

22.8

325.5

12

17

3

8

31. St. Louis Rams

29.1

371.9

12

30

1

9

32. Kansas City Chiefs

27.5

393.2

13

10

3

8

Talking Points

• The entire front seven is back for Pittsburgh. The Steelers are all but automatic as the first defense called.

• The one caveat to picking the Vikings defense: You need to follow the legal battle involving StarCaps supplements and the Williams Wall (tackles Pat and Kevin Williams). If the two end up having to serve a four-game suspension each, scratch Minnesota from your board.

ON THE RISE

• It was already good last year, but the Jets defense will be even better with new coach Rex Ryan and former Ravens like Bart Scott on board. Plus, this team has a good return game.

• You don't think of the Cowboys as having an elite defense—perhaps it's the 44 points they gave up to the Eagles with a playoff spot at stake last year—but Dallas did lead the league in sacks in 2008, which gets you the fantasy numbers.

• The Eagles have formidable talent in the return game, and Trent Cole is a sack machine, but they'll miss longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who died of cancer last week. His successor, Sean McDermott, at least was schooled under Johnson for years.

UNDERRATED

• Don't be too concerned that the TITANS lost free agent Albert Haynesworth or coordinator Jim Schwartz. They stayed in-house to fill Schwartz's position (Chuck Cecil), so the scheme won't change. And Tennessee's ball-hog offense will keep the heat off linebacker Keith Bulluck and the defense.

• What happened to the pass defense in Chicago? The Bears dropped to 30th in the NFL in that category last year. Their greatest selling point now is their return game, with Devin Hester on punts and Danieal Manning bringing back kicks.

Now on SI.com
Play Fantasy Football on Facebook. Go to SI.com/fantasy2009

PHOTO

MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (SCOTT)

PHOTO

DONN JONES (BULLUCK)