The Tampa Bay Buccaneers run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Todd Bowles
DC Todd Bowles is back for a third year, despite strengthening his case to be a head coach again. It's a nice break for the Bucs, who somehow retained all the key guys from last year, including free agents LB Lavonte David and DT Ndamukong Suh. Injuries can devastate any unit, but it's hard to find other risks here, with the Bucs dominant up front and solid in the secondary. Plus, Bowles loves to blitz.
The Cleveland Browns run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Joe Woods
The Browns have enough talent to jump from the middle of the pack to the top, sniping CB Troy Hill and S John Johnson away from the Rams in free agency before using their first two draft picks on CB Greg Newsome and LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Throw in DE Myles Garrett, DE Jadeveon Clowney and CB Denzel Ward, and you've got all the ingredients for a top-five defense.
The Baltimore Ravens run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Don Martindale
The Ravens were Top 5 in fantasy scoring the past four years, with DC Don Martindale calling shots for the last three (and leading the NFL in blitz rate each time). Martindale is still around, as are CBs Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. The D-line also looks strong again, though first-round pick Odafe Oweh may be a short-term downgrade from Matthew Judon (Patriots) off the edge.
The Los Angeles Rams run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Raheem Morris
The Rams led the NFL in points and yards allowed last year, with Brandon Staley's lone season as DC yielding the best defense of the McVay era. Staley is now head coach for the other L.A. team, while CB Troy Hill and S John Johnson left for Cleveland and DT Michael Brockers for Detroit. The Rams still have Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, but they didn't have the cap space or draft picks to adequately replace those offseason losses.
The Washington Football Team run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Jack Del Rio
All the first-round picks spent on D-linemen finally paid off in 2020, with rookie Chase Young putting Washington's defense over the top. DC Jack Del Rio might have an even better group this season, with free-agent signing CB William Jackson a potential upgrade on Ronald Darby (Denver), while S Landon Collins returns from an Achilles tear. Last but not least, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick should help with game script and field position.
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