Reading the Defense: Cromartie, Bailey face big challenges

The New York Jets' defense got exposed last week by Darren McFadden and the Oakland Raiders, which led to a little media spat between Gang Green and Jets' legend Joe Namath. After Broadway Joe fired a shot across the bow, the Jets' defenders got, well...defensive.

Yes, this is a column that focuses on IDPs, but what is a team defense other than 11 individuals playing toward a common goal. If Revis is to be believed, then the Jets should be a group of individuals looking to heal their wounded pride heading into a big game against the Baltimore  Ravens on Sunday. It's not an easy matchup, but a good performance would help restore their rep.

In the meantime, let's check out some of the relevant IDP stories heading into Week 4.

Four Downs

First down: While Revis has spent the week defending the Jets' big talk, his counterpart, Antonio Cromartie, is worried about being able to breathe properly. While the latest reports give Cromartie a good chance of playing, he'll likely face off against newly-minted Ravens star Torrey Smith. If Smith's hamstring is good to go, Cromartie can expect to run plenty of wind sprints trying to keep up with the rookie. That's a tough assignment for a guy who already gets picked on quite a bit.

IDP rankings

Top five scoring IDPs (according to NFL.com):

  1. Ray Lewis

Second down: Elsewhere in New York, the Giants are planning to welcome Osi Umenyiora back for his 2011 debut. That's welcome news for a defense that has played surprisingly well considering the number of injuries they've sustained. Next on the schedule for Big Blue are the Arizona Cardinals, whose offensive line will give up sacks. With the distinct possibility that this weekend's game could turn into a shootout, Umenyiora could get plenty of chances to chase down Kevin Kolb.

Third down: The Denver Broncos are getting their three best defensive players back for Sunday's game against the Packers. None of them will be more welcomed than Champ Bailey, who will have to slow down Green Bay's Greg Jennings. Aaron Rodgers isn't afraid to pick on top corners, so Bailey can expect to see plenty of balls thrown in his direction on Sunday.

Fourth down: Congratulations to D'Qwell Jackson for earning the AFC Defensive Player of the Month award for September, validating what IDP fantasy owners have likely realized already. Playing in the center of a Cleveland Browns defense that's better than you think, Jackson has the chance to be a playmaker on Sunday against a Tennessee Titans offense looking to regroup after losing its main playmaker in Kenny Britt.

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