NFL Picks Week 15: Looking at Defenses Sure To Beat Opponents into Submission

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIDecember 14, 2011

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 20:  Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens defends against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 31-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

While few things are certain in the NFL, one thing you can always rely on is good defenses stopping good offenses. 

Defense is the backbone of two teams that should get easy wins this week. The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals both go on the road on Sunday and both teams should be able to come away with solid wins thanks to their stellar defensive units.

The 10-3 Ravens travel to San Diego to take on the 6-7 Chargers in a Sunday night matchup. Baltimore ranks third in the league in total defense, allowing just 278.1 yards per game. On top of that, the Ravens are balanced defensively, giving up just 192.3 passing yards (fifth in the NFL) and 85.8 rushing yards (second in the NFL) per game. 

While the Chargers do have the league's eighth-best offense (388.1 yards per game), they have struggled to move the ball consistently all season. Against a defense as deep and talented as the Ravens, I expect quarterback Philip Rivers to struggle all night.

Rivers will be lining up behind a makeshift offensive line thanks to a litany of injuries that has struck that unit. It could get ugly early on in this one as Baltimore is sure to bring pressure. Even without 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis, the Ravens should cruise to a win behind their defense.

Meanwhile, the 7-6 Bengals travel to St. Louis to take on the 2-11 Rams. Cincinnati has lost four of its last five after opening the season at 6-2. What got Cincy off to such a great start was their incredibly stout defense. I expect them to rediscover that this week.

The Bengals currently rank seventh in the league in total defense, allowing 314.8 yards per game. They face a Rams team that is 30th in total offense (283.8 yards per game), and should be able to completely shut them down.

I expect Marvin Lewis' team to come out hungry and rip the Rams apart on Sunday to help get the Bengals back on the winning track.