They say defense wins championships. While that may not be the case anymore in today's NFL, several defenses are poised for strong performances in Week 3.
A strong defensive showing in the league these days may seem rare, but that won't be the case this week. While obvious teams like the Seattle Seahawks will have quality outings, there are a few units flying a bit under the radar that will make some noise this week.
Courtesy of a favorable matchup or simply playing up to potential, here are three teams set to cruise to victory thanks to strong defensive outings.
Buffalo Bills Continue QB Sack Party Against New York Jets
Buffalo does not receive much national attention after several years of woeful football, but the Bills quietly have one of the better defensive units in football.
The Bills rank in the middle of the pack, but the games themselves tell a different story. Buffalo successfully held Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to just 23 points in Week 1, limiting Brady to just 288 yards. The following week, Carolina's Can Newton only went for 229.
Defensive end Mario Williams had a mini his coming-out party last week, notching a franchise record 4.5 sacks:
Mario Williams sets a Bills single-game record with his 4.5 sacks today— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 15, 2013
In other words, the defense is playing as the front office had hoped it would a year ago when it brought Williams on board. The unit already has 11 sacks through two games and now will get a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith, who has already been sacked nine times.
New York has yet to score over 17 points in a game, and that won't change against Buffalo and its excellent pass rush.
Prediction: Bills 24, Jets 13
Chicago Bears Abuse Pittsburgh Steelers
The Chicago Bears defense has been well known in years past thanks to the leadership and elite play of Brian Urlacher.
Now that Urlacher has hung up the cleats, the defense can finally be known for its two stars—corners Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings.
Tillman intercepted three passes last season and returned them all for touchdowns. This year he's already grabbed two. Jennings led the NFL in interceptions last year with nine and already has one this year—which he returned for a touchdown.
There's plenty to like on the Bears defense, especially rookie linebacker Jon Bostic. The unit is poised for a major game against a Pittsburgh offense that has lost All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey and has allowed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked seven times.
Roethlisberger has only completed 58 percent of his passes while being hit consistently. There's seemingly impending friction between him and coordinator Todd Haley, and things will only get worse against Chicago.
Prediction: Bears 24, Steelers 10
St. Louis Rams Stun Dallas Cowboys
The St. Louis Rams had a solid defense last year that has started out slowly this season, surrendering 24 points to Arizona in Week 1 before allowing the stellar Atlanta offense to put up 24.
St. Louis will regain its form this week against a Dallas offense that is once again (shockingly!) weak in the trenches. Quarterback Tony Romo has already been sacked five times and the offense ranks No. 27 overall with just 62 yards rushing per game.
Conversely, St. Louis ranks No. 5 overall against the run, surrendering just 61 yards per game. The team also excels at getting to opposing passers, with star defensive end Robert Quinn already sitting at four sacks on the year.
St. Louis is more physical and has enough talent, such as corner Cortland Finnegan, to match up with Dallas' best, such as receiver Dez Bryant. The defense will enable the Rams to slip by on the road.
Prediction: Rams 27, Cowboys 23
Note: All stats courtesy of NFL.com
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