Thanks to the NFL's flex scheduling, those fantasy football finals taking place in Week 17 have less risk as more teams should be competing for a play-off spot. The risk of teams sitting their starters with the 2008 season on the line is lessened.
Expect the Atlanta Falcons to give their all against the St. Louis Rams. One team is playing for a possible 1st round bye. The other doesn't want an injury that costs them a year in recovery. Despite the Rams 7th ranked PYA, do not be afraid to start RB Michael Turner.
The Carolina Panthers are the team who loses the bye with a Falcons' win and a loss by the Panthers to the 9th-ranked RYA team, the New Orleans Saints. With the bush league Saints likely to throw the ball all game for Drew Brees' pursuit of Dan Marino's single-season passing record, the Panthers could see a possession or two more than one would expect. Don't expect the Panthers to lay down for Brees. It could be ugly.
For the best pass defenses, I am most curious about the match-up between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. The former ranks 2nd and the latter is 3rd in PYA overt the last three games. Each team is in a win or else situation.
The Eagles need the most help as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to lose to the Oakland Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings need to lose to Eli Manning and the New York Giants. With Tampa Bay playing at 1PM, the Eagles will know whether they have any reason, beyond pride of finishing ahead of the Cowboys, to play for. Sounds improbable but didn't the price of oil going from $147 to $42 in six months seem even more unlikely?
Top Ten Rush Defenses:
Top Ten Pass Defenses: