This week, four defenses of underrated value will be in action. These teams fly under the radar due to various reasons of reputation or one poor performance.
However, these defenses provide value to their teams in many ways. By keeping the opposition from scoring, many of these defenses allow their offenses the opportunity to win games they have no place winning.
The Vikings defense has been having a solid year on the so far.
Led by veteran defensive end Jared Allen, the Vikings have sacked the quarterback 12 times. Linebacker Chad Greenway currently leads the NFL in tackles with 44. Minnesota only allows an average of 18 points per game, which ranks it seventh in the NFL.
The Vikings' defensive efforts were on display in their Week 3 win over the San Francisco 49ers. They held San Francisco to 13 points overall and only 280 total yards.
This week, Minnesota will look to utilize its under-the-radar defense against the Tennessee Titans.Young quarterback Jake Locker has already thrown two interceptions. With Minnesota's pass rush bothering him all game, look for Minnesota's secondary to take advantage of errant throws.
The Vikings will also look to shut down the poor Tennessee running game. The Titans average 68 yards rushing per game, and the Vikings only allow an average of 85 yards on the ground each week. With a solid rush and a good linebacker core, Minnesota should have no trouble stopping Chris Johnson.
The Seahawks have been phenomenal on the defensive side of the ball this season. Their defensive efforts have kept them in games that their offense had no right to win. Seattle's defense has had excellent showings against Green Bay and Dallas.
The Seahawks have NFL leaders in their rush and their secondary. Linebacker K.J. Wright has made 30 tackles this season. Defensive end Chris Clemons ranks third in the NFL with five sacks. Also, lockdown corner Richard Sherman has two interceptions this season.
As a team, Seattle ranks 10th in average passing yards allowed with 213 yards. The Seahawks only allow an average of 62 yards each game. This ranks them second in the NFL.
This week, Seattle goes up against an explosive Carolina offense. NFL fans will be surprised to see Cam Newton struggle against an impressive pass rush. Seattle also has linebackers with the ability to contain Newton as he leaves the pocket.
Furthermore, look for Seattle to shut down DeAngelo Williams and the Panthers rushing game.
The underrated Cardinals defense will look to shut down the underwhelming Rams offense.
Arizona ranks third in the NFL with only 15 points allowed per game. It has forced 10 total turnovers, which, according to ESPN, ranks them fourth in the NFL.
They will match up against a rather lackluster Rams offense that is led by quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford has thrown four interceptions this season and is likely to continue that trend against the turnover forcing Cardinal defense. St. Louis ranks near the bottom of the league in total offense and points scored this season.
Arizona will look to exploit these weaknesses this week and could possibly hold St. Louis to single digits.
This defense will likely cease to fly under the radar, especially if Arizona continues to win games.
The Indianapolis Colts have their work cut out for them this week.
They will be playing a Green Bay offense that is led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has thrown for 1,064 yards and seven touchdowns. Green Bay boasts a receiving core that is the envy of the entire NFL. The Packers have also improved their running game with offseason pick up Cedric Benson.
That being said, look for the Indianapolis Colts to contain this explosive offense. The Colts have allowed an average of 231 yard per game. The majority of this damage was done by Jay Cutler in Week 1. Last week, the Colts held Blaine Gabbert to just 155 yards.
The Colts recently signed corner back Darius Butler. Adding this veteran corner to a secondary that already includes Vontae Davis and Jerraud Powers can only improve the Colts secondary.
The tough defense of the Colts is led by linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who has registered 27 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception. He will look to lead the underrated Colts defense against the Packers this Sunday.
If the Colts can contain the impressive Packers offense, they might have a chance to upset Aaron Rodgers and company.