- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
• 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.
• 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.