NFL defenses are ranked in the following categories: red zone trips per game, third down conversion percentage, yards per rush attempt, yards per pass attempt, sack percentage allowed, rushing touchdowns per game and passing touchdowns per game. These rankings can be used when assessing fantasy matchups for the upcoming week. When doing that, look at the run and pass-oriented stats individually.

Rank Team Red Zone Pos. Third Down % YPR YPA Sack % TD-Run TD-Pass Total
1 Denver (5-0) 1 3 5 4 3 4 1 21
2 New Orleans (4-0) 12                  2 11 6 9 14 4 58
3 New York Giants (5-0) 6 1 27 1 1 22 6 64
4 Minnesota (5-0) 9 7 10 19 2 1 18 66
5 Cincinnati (4-1) 6 10 19 16 7 9 7 74
6 Pittsburgh (3-2) 2 26 9 10 8 2 22 79
7 Washington (2-3) 14 23 14 12 10 4 7 84
8 Indianapolis (5-0) 4 31 16 2 14 17 1 85
9 Baltimore (3-2) 17 8 3 25 11 9 13 86
9 Chicago (3-1) 12 20 12 8 5 22 7 86
9 Philadelphia (3-1) 27 5 8 3 4 14 25 86
12 San Francisco (3-2) 4 19 4 14 18 17 13 89
13 Dallas (3-2) 6 4 17 20 20 4 22 93
14 New York Jets (3-2) 9 16 18 5 31 17 3 99
15 Seattle (2-3) 17 6 26 17 13 17 7 103
16 New England (3-2) 14 24 22 15 18 2 18 113
17 Atlanta (3-1) 17 25 29 11 21 14 4 121
18 Arizona (2-2) 27 9 2 27 23 7 28 123
19 Miami (2-3) 22 12 6 31 26 17 13 127
20 Carolina (1-3) 24 17 30 9 6 22 20 128
21 Tennessee (0-5) 29 14 1 23 25 9 31 132
22 Green Bay (2-2) 17 28 7 22 27 7 28 136
22 Houston (2-3) 2 15 32 18 30 32 7 136
24 Tampa Bay (0-5) 9 22 24 32 12 9 30 138
25 Cleveland (1-4) 22 18 31 13 22 31 7 144
26 Buffalo (1-4) 25 20 25 7 28 28 13 146
26 Oakland (1-4) 32 10 20 28 15 28 13 146
28 Jacksonville (2-3) 21 29 13 24 32 9 27 155
29 St. Louis (0-5) 25 29 15 30 17 26 22 164
30 Detroit (1-4) 30 13 28 26 16 22 32 167
31 Kansas City (0-5) 14 27 21 29 29 26 26 172
32 San Diego (2-2) 30 32 23 21 24 30 20 180

Executive Summary (Yes, you're an executive. You own a football team!)

Games played by each team is not a factor in the rankings, but obviously impacts sample size.
 
I did this for offense, too, this week, to test whether offense or defense correlates better to winning. Top 10 offensive teams are 34-11. Top 10 defensive teams, measured the same way, are 42-10 (three-way tie for ninth place in the defensive ranks, thus, more games). So, maybe it's not an offensive game. The defensive teams are doing quite well.

Alas, there's a lot of overlap. Teams in the top 10 in both offense and defense: Saints, Giants, Vikings, Steelers, Colts, Ravens and Eagles. We hear a lot of talk about how weak the NFL teams are at the bottom. But the zero-sum aspect of this, I guess, is that there are lots of very strong teams at the top, too.

If you forced me to choose one stat and use only it to predict fantasy relevance going forward, it would be red zone possessions per game. So the Texans (7th), Bears (9th) and Seahawks (13th) might be better than their overall rankings suggest. On the other hand, skepticism is still reasonable when assessing the Broncos (25th) prospectively.

The Jaguars remain the one team I can't get a good read on, no matter how many numbers I see.