NFL Top 5: Football's best red-zone defenses

Nov 3, 2009 |
NFL Top 5: Football's best red-zone defenses

Being able to limit opponents to field goals instead of touchdowns can often make the difference in the NFL.

Some teams allow opponents to march up and down the field at will, but their ability to stiffen inside their own 20-yard line keeps them in the game.

We take a look at the five NFL defenses that have come up biggest near their own endzone.

Odds provided by

Washington Redskins (31.3 percent touchdowns allowed)

The Redskins are one of the NFL's biggest disappointments this season, but that's no fault of their defense. Not only is Washington fourth in yards allowed and fifth in scoring defense, but it's also the toughest to score touchdowns against inside the 20.

The Redskins have allowed only five majors in 16 red-zone trips by their opponents. Washington has also forced three turnovers near its own goal line. Philly racked up 27 points on the Skins in Week 7, but all three TDs were on plays over 20 yards.

Washington is 1-5-1 against the spread and has gone under in five of seven games. All seven of its games have been decided by 10 points or less. The Skins are 10-point dogs this weekend at Atlanta with the total set at 41.

Minnesota Vikings (33.3 percent)

Despite ranking 18th in yards allowed and 20th in scoring defense, Minnesota has been tough to score against when in the shadow of its own uprights.

The Vikings allowed TDs on four of their opponents' first eight red-zone trips of the season. Since, the Vikings have yielded only four majors in opponents' last 16 possessions inside the 20. Three of those TDs came last week against the Packers.

The Minnesota defense's best red-zone performance came in Week 5 against the Rams, when the Vikes denied St. Louis a touchdown on four different drives. Minnesota snuffed out three of those threats with two fumble recoveries and an interception.

Minny is 5-3 ATS and has gone over the total in six of eight contests. The Vikings are on a by this weekend.

Baltimore Ravens (40.9 percent)

Baltimore's defense hasn't dominated this season as it has in the past, but Ray Lewis and Co. stiffen in the red zone. The Ravens have held opponents out of the endzone 13 of 22 times inside their 20-yard-line.

Baltimore's red-zone defense was the difference in a 31-26 win over San Diego in Week 2. The Chargers drove inside the Baltimore 20 on five occasions, but had to settle for four field goals. Lewis ended the last threat, stopping Darren Sproles in his tracks on fourth and two in the final minute.

The Ravens are 5-2 ATS and 4-3 over the total. Baltimore is giving three points at Cincinnati on Sunday with the over/line resting at 43.5.

New York Jets (41.2 percent)

Rex Ryan's bunch has been tough to move the ball against, no matter where they are on the field. Second in yards allowed and fourth in points allowed, the Jets are also the fourth-best in red-zone defense. New York has limited opponents to field goals or less in 10 of 17 opportunities.

The Jets were at their red-zone best in Week 3 against the Saints. New York held the powerful New Orleans offense to a TD and a field goal in four trips deep into Jets territory, but the Saints scored on fumble and interception returns to win 24-10.

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