Several defenses have stood out through the first five weeks of the NFL season, and they won't slow down this week either.
Different ingredients make up a dynamic defense. Finding the correct balance between pass coverage, blitz packages and hefty run support isn't always an easy task.
Week 6 features a handful of matchups that will test prolific offenses and these defenses alike. The offense will win out in some situations, but four excellent defenses will maintain their reputation on Sunday.
Baltimore's offense could be much better than it already is, but Cam Cameron refuses to use his best asset appropriately.
Ray Rice has 81 carries this season. Joe Flacco has 183 passing attempts. It's clear that Cameron is enamored with Flacco's passing ability, leaving Rice's potential partially untapped.
Don't expect that strategy to change against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend, even though it should. Dallas boasts the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL, and it will give Flacco fits.
Not only can Dallas pressure Flacco, but Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne can lock down Baltimore's receivers on the outside. This should prompt an adjustment from Cameron.
It won't, though. He appears ready to ride Flacco under any circumstance, and that could easily lead to a minor upset in M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.
Baltimore won't be shut down if it adjusts, but I have no confidence that Cameron will make the necessary switch.
New York Giants
The Giants have the third-best passing attack in the NFL, and the No.12 rushing attack to go with it, but the 49ers are frightening on defense. The rematch of last season's NFC Championship game will end much differently than it did last year.
In the last two games combined, they've allowed three points. Granted, those games were against the Bills and the Jets, but you still have to come and play the game.
Against the run, San Francisco is surrendering just over 80 yards per game. Finding a weakness is nearly impossible.
It's a home game for the 49ers, and the Giants will struggle to protect Eli Manning from the 49ers pass rush.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers are struggling, to say the least, making Sunday night's contest against the Houston Texans look pretty scary.
Houston, one of two undefeated teams remaining in the NFL, has the defense to control Green Bay's one-dimensional attack.
With Cedric Benson on injured reserve, the Packers will lean on Alex Green, James Starks and Brandon Saine out of the backfield. Neither has what it takes to crack the league's No. 9 rushing defense, which will allow the Texans to completely focus on Rodgers.
Green Bay's passing attack is No. 15 in football this year. It's not the same unit, largely because of pass protection. Expect Wade Phillips to dial up constant blitzes, using J.J. Watt, Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed and company to chase Rodgers around.
The loss of Brian Cushing will eventually hurt Houston, but the Packers ground game won't be able to do it.
Look for this game to be close, but Houston's defense holds the advantage here. Phillips' aggressive 5-2 front will chase Rodgers consistently, keeping him from finding open receivers down the field.
New England Patriots
The Patriots seem to get better every week, and their offense isn't the same as usual. A third-ranked rushing attack keeps the pressure off of Tom Brady, but the Seahawks will present a major challenge.
For one, CenturyLink Field is one of the league's most difficult places to play. Seattle's defense plays well there despite the team's flaws otherwise.
The Seahawks use their "Legion of Boom" secondary and aggressive front seven to put maximum pressure on opposing offenses. We saw the Patriots struggle with Arizona's front seven in Week 2, and I see a similar thing coming here.
Seattle allows under 70 rushing yards per game. Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden have combined for nearly 700 rushing yards this season for New England, but they haven't faced a front group like this.
That puts a lot of pressure on Brady and the Patriots offensive line. Brady will face a secondary that's allowing less than 200 passing yards per game.
It's not Brady that should worry people. He always seems to find a way. His offensive line, on the other hand, has looked shaky at times this year.
Expect Pete Carroll to dial up the pressure as much as possible on Sunday. New England may win this game, but it'll have to win it ugly.
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