The Defenses and Special Teams Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s main NFL slate. For more of our weekly football content, visit our NFL homepage.
Sky’s the Limit
Here are the top two D/STs per our median projections:
- Green Bay Packers: $2,800 DraftKings; $4,400 FanDuel
- Seattle Seahawks: $3,400 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel
The Packers should have plenty of sack opportunities against the Cardinals, who are14-point underdogs as of writing (see live odds here), which should force Arizona into a pass-heavy game script. The Cardinals just released their starting right tackle Andre Smith and rank 22nd in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate.
The Cardinals’ offensive line will simply be outmatched against a Packers defense that ranks fifth in adjusted sack rate and fourth in pressure rate (per Sports Info Solutions) this season.
The Seahawks’ pass-rush isn’t great, ranking 17th in adjusted sack rate and 25th in pressure rate, but Seattle warrants consideration against a San Francisco offense that ranks 23rd in adjusted sack rate. The Seahawks are also 10-point home favorites while the 49ers are implied for a meager 18 points. Defenses with comparable trends have historically averaged a +1.50 DraftKings Plus/Minus (per our Trends tool).
Shoot the Gap
Denver Broncos ($2,700 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel): The Broncos are on the road, but are 5-point favorites against the Jeff Driskel-quarterbacked Bengals. The Broncos’ pass-rush has been solid this season with a top-12 pressure rate while ranking sixth in adjusted sack rate.
Houston Texans ($2,700 DraftKings; $4,400 FanDuel): The Texans draw a home matchup as 6-point favorites against the Browns, who are implied for a mediocre 21 points. More importantly, the Browns’ offensive line ranks 24th in adjusted sack rate and is going against a Texans defense that ranks seventh in adjusted sack rate; Houston’s 3.09 sacks per game is tied with the Bears for sixth-best in the league.
Chicago Bears ($3,300 DraftKings; $4,800 FanDuel): This game is presently off the board with the health of Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) in question (get daily update here), but the Bears defense should find success against a Giants offensive line that ranks 26th in adjusted sack rate. Overall, the Bears boast the eighth-highest pressure rate and rank sixth in sacks per game.
Los Angeles Rams ($2,600 DraftKings; $4,100 FanDuel): The Rams are always in consideration with their league-leading 40.05% pressure rate, and they check in as 10-point favorites against the Lions.
Kansas City Chiefs ($2,500 DraftKings; $4,300 FanDuel): This is an ideal spot for the Chiefs as massive 15-point favorites against a Raiders team implied for just 19.75 points. Furthermore, the Raiders offensive line ranks 27th in adjusted sack rate, and the Chiefs rank 11th in pressure rate and third in sacks per game (3.27).
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Pictured above: Jaire Alexander, Reggie Gilbert, Clay Matthews
Photo credit: USA TODAY NETWORK/Wisconsin