Charch's Week 1 Defense Rankings

RankPlayer

Baltimore led the league with 2.1 takeaways per game last year, and the start the season with a cake matchup at home game against a Bills offense led by (gulp) Nate Peterman. The pass rush combo of Terrell Suggs and Matt Judon, who combined for 19 sacks, are primed to feast in the opener. Buffalo was pathetic in pass protection last season, giving up the seventh-most sacks (47), and the loss of veterans Eric Wood, Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito along their O-line is sure to turn Baltimore, Maryland into Sack City this week. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 10.00/10

The Saints come marching in to 2018 with the sour aftertaste of the Minneapolis Miracle still lingering. What better remedy than a home opener against the division rival Buccaneers, who just so happen to be starting career journeyman and human interception machine Ryan Fitzpatrick? The Bucs face a tall task against a dominant Saints defense that tied for the fourth-most in sacks per game (2.7) and held opposing quarterbacks to sub-200 yards and opposing rushing attacks to sub-75 yards on eight occasions each! Tampa also averaged 1.7 giveaways per game, which tied for fifth-most in the league, and in two matchups with the Saints, they tallied four turnovers. Couple that with the aforementioned bearded wonder Fitzpatrick and his career 136 picks in 119 starts, and this turns into quite the juicy matchup for New Orleans. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 9.75/10

Scoring against the Vikings D is akin to eating soup with a fork. It’s not impossible but incredibly difficult. Minnesota allowed a league low 1.8 touchdowns per game last season, and only six teams created fewer takeaways than the Vikes’ 19. Coming off a 13-sack effort, Everson Griffin is ready to unload on a 49ers O-line that gave up 43 sacks, tied for seventh-most in the league. San Fran should be much improved on offense, but they’ll face tough sledding in hostile U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 9.50/10

With the return of Odell Beckham and the arrival of Saquon Barkley, the Giants have essentially added two elite weapons, but concerns remain along their O-line, despite the additions of Nate Solder and Will Hernandez. There are a lot of moving parts up front, as only two linemen return as starters, and one of the them is Ereck Flowers, possibly the worst starting tackle in football. To make matters worse for the G-Men, across the trenches lurks a Jaguars pass rush that was second in sacks with 55, led by the dominant Calais Campbell, who totaled 14.5. Even if Eli Manning manages to stay upright, there is still the fact that Jacksonville forced multiple turnovers on nine occasions and held opponents to 10 or fewer points eight times last season … eight! -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 9.25/10

The Rams are on the verge of becoming an absolute monster on defense thanks to several offseason transactions, most notably the signings of Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Ndamukong Suh, as well as the massive contract extension for reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. LA comes off a campaign in which they forced the fifth-most takeaways (28) and will face an Oakland squad that proved ball security was not a top priority, as they had the fourth-most giveaways (28). This will have to be a wrong that is righted quickly by Jon Gruden and his new regime, or we could see multiple turnovers forced by the Rams defense this week, something they achieved an astonishing 10 times last season. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 9.00/10

6

The Seahawks enter the season with something on offense they haven’t had much of in recent memory: continuity along the offensive line. They return four starters from the second half of last season, and welcome free agent DJ Fluker to the group in hopes to improve upon a season in which they saw Russell Wilson sacked 43 times. The Broncos defense took a few steps back last year, finishing 22nd in sacks with only 33 (finished 1st and 3rd the two years prior) and 26th takeaways with just 17. That being said, Denver still has a ton of talent on defense. First round draft pick Bradley Chubb, along with the game changing Von Miller, will be quite the opening test for the Seattle front. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

Atlanta hopes this trip to Philly goes better than the last, as they were ousted from the playoffs by a dominant effort from the Eagles defense, who allowed only 281 yards and one touchdown against a Falcons team that averaged 365 yards and 2.2 touchdowns per game. The Falcons O-line allowed just 24 sacks, third-fewest, and are primed to be elite once again with the return of four starters and the upgrade at right guard in free agent Brandon Fusco. Atlanta also only committed 18 turnovers last year, seventh-fewest, which forces Philly, who beefed up by adding Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata, to rely heavily on their pass rush for fantasy production. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 8.50/10

8
NYJ @DET

The Jets just can’t escape Matt Patricia. The newly hired Lions head coach and former defensive coordinator for the Patriots is plenty familiar with the Jets, and he should use this familiarity to his advantage. In two meetings with Patricia’s defense last year, the Jets committed three turnovers and allowed an astounding eight sacks. The Jets offense was a fantasy dream for all opposing defenses a season ago, as they allowed the sixth-most sacks with 47 and turned the ball over 24 times on the season. New York turns to rookie Sam Darnold at quarterback, who will be greeted in his first career start by a Lions defense that finished fourth in interceptions a year ago, paced by Darius Slay and his league-leading eight picks. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

The Patrick Mahomes era officially begins this week, and he’ll be thrust right into the heat of divisional battle against a talented Chargers defense led by Joey Bosa. Kansas City may lean on the run early, as they did last year, when reigning NFL rushing champion Kareem Hunt, averaged a scalding 164 yards on the ground and tallied three total scores in two meetings against LAC. However, beginning the season at home against an inexperienced quarterback makes this a plus matchup for a budding Chargers defense that tied for fifth in sacks with 43 and tied for the fifth-most interceptions with 18, a number that could be outpaced this season with the addition of Derwin James in the secondary. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

Bottom line, the Cowboys’ O-line is banged up. A preseason injury to guard Marcus Martin, and an unfortunate medical battle for All-Pro center Travis Frederick, has left Dallas with no choice but to start rookie Connor Williams at left guard and career back up Joe Looney at center. Carolina roughed up opposing quarterbacks to the tune of 50 sacks a year ago, third-most in the league, and will likely take advantage of this inexperienced front. To make matters worse, Dallas has to game plan for game-changing linebacker Luke Kuechly, who in just two career games against the Cowboys has a fumble recovery and two interceptions, one of which he took to the house. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

11

Hiring Mike Vrabel as head coach means a culture change for a Titans team that has failed to make a name for itself on the defensive side of the ball. But this is a new year, and Tennessee has a great matchup against a Miami team that turned the ball over a bewildering 29 times last season, third-worst in the league. They also tied for the second-most defensive touchdowns surrendered with five. Ryan Tannehill returns from injury but may find himself under pressure early and often against a Tennessee defense that also ranked fifth in sacks with 43. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

The Browns committed the most turnovers last year, with an astonishing 41 (28 were picks). They were also one of six teams to allow 50+ sacks. Oh, and they averaged a league-worst 14.6 points per game. You get the point, this was arguably the worst offense in football. They’ve upgraded at receiver with the addition of Jarvis Landry and the return of Josh Gordon, and they brought in Tyrod Taylor to upgrade at quarterback. Nevertheless, the Pittsburgh pass rush, who had a league-best 56 sacks, won’t make it easy for Taylor and company, who will be without the presence and leadership of future hall of fame left tackle Joe Thomas for the first time in a long while. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 7.50/10

It’s abundantly clear the Packers want to become an elite defense, spending their top two draft picks on corners Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson to fit the philosophy of new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The Bears figure to be much improved on offense with new weapons surrounding Mitchell Trubisky and new head coach Matt Nagy. This will be a tough opener for Chicago, though, as they struggled mightily against Green Bay last year, committing a ghastly five turnovers and allowing six sacks in two games. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 7.50/10

Houston was an embarrassment in pass protection a season ago, allowing opponents to drill their quarterbacks for 54 sacks, second only to the Colts. It won’t get any better for the Texans front in ‘18, who return just one starter (center Nick Martin) and will start rookie Martinas Rankin at left tackle. Deshaun Watson returns from injury, but even this may not be enough to save Houston this week. In just seven games, Watson threw eight interceptions and was sacked 19 times, including two picks and two sacks in a tilt against these Patriots. New England’s best pass rusher Trey Flowers, who missed the entirety of the preseason, is good to go this week at defensive end for a Patriots defense looking to replicate their impressive 42-sack season from last year. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 7.00/10

15

Starting a defense against Aaron Rodgers isn’t typically a recipe for success. However, Green Bay was highly inefficient at protecting the quarterback in 2017, allowing three or more sacks on 11 different occasions! The Bears could take full advantage this week, as Chicago tied for sixth in the league with 42 sacks, and they are hungry for more after landing All-Pro outside linebacker Khalil Mack. -Jeremy Thomas (@jeremyt_2)
Charch's Rating: 7.00/10

17
18
19
BUF @BAL
21
22
24
NYJ @DET
28
30
31
32