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NFL Power Rankings 2014: Top 10 Defenses After Preseason Week 3

Power Ranking The Top 10 Defenses After Preseason Week 3

Richard Sherman
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As we head into the final week of the 2014 NFL preseason, most franchises have a fairly clear picture of what their roster will look like to start the regular season. There are some punishing defensive units that will undoubtedly standout in an offensively dominant league, which is hard to accomplish.

Here's a look at the top 10 defenses after preseason Week 3.

10. Houston Texans

Jadeveon Clowney
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10. Houston Texans

Jadeveon Clowney
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Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt are going to be a problem in 2014, and will, in all likelihood, end up with the most sacks for a duo in the NFL. Johnathan Joseph is still a top talent at cornerback, and Week 3 saw the return of their top linebacker Brian Cushing after 10 months lost to injury. The Houston Texans will be better than most are anticipating purely due to their defense.

9. Cincinnati Bengals

Carlos Dunlap
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9. Cincinnati Bengals

Carlos Dunlap
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Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins lead a punishing defensive line into the 2014 campaign, and Vontaze Burfict is primed for a breakout season at linebacker. The Cincinnati Bengals' secondary is undoubtedly the units Achilles' heel, but Cincinnati's front-seven has enough talent to mask its weakness in the secondary just enough to finish as a top 10 defense.

8. New England Patriots

Chandler Jones
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8. New England Patriots

Chandler Jones
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Chandler Jones is the real deal and helps Vince Wilfork give the New England Patriots a dynamic defensive line, and the addition of Darrelle Revis will give the team some needed veteran leadership in the secondary. The Patriots have not been able to keep their secondary healthy in recent years, but if they do, the unit as a whole undoubtedly belongs in the top eight.

7. Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Berry
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7. Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Berry
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The Kansas City Chiefs have a stellar linebacker corps in Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston and Tamba Ali, and one of the most underrated defenders in the NFL in safety Eric Berry. The Chiefs have enough on defense to compete with two high powered AFC West offenses in Denver and San Diego, and the unit undoubtedly gives the Chiefs a chance to make the postseason again in 2014.

6. Denver Broncos

Demarcus Ware
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6. Denver Broncos

Demarcus Ware
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A healthy Von Miller, and the additions of DeMarucs Ware and Aqib Talib will likely have the Denver Broncos finishing the season ranked much higher than they are currently. Peyton Manning is a defense's best friend, as he keeps them off the field as he dinks and dunks the offense down the field, using up a ton of time on drives. Denver looks like a better team than it was last season, which is scary.

5. Arizona Cardinals

Tyrran Mathieau
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5. Arizona Cardinals

Tyrran Mathieau
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The return of the 'honey badger' and the addition of Antonio Cromartie will take an already stellar secondary to the next level in 2014. Calais Campell is one of the most underrated edge rushers in the NFL, and their linebacking corps has a ton of experience in John Abraham and Larry Foote. The Arizona Cardinals won 10 games last season and could easily make the playoffs if their offense doesn't hold the defense back.

4. St. Louis Rams

Robert Quinn
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4. St. Louis Rams

Robert Quinn
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The St. Louis Rams were dealt a devastating blow to their offense when the loss of QB Sam Bradford for the season was announced, but their defense is good enough to mask the offenses issues if they get any kind of solid play at QB. DE Robert Quinn is going to win Defensive Player of the Year with over 20 sacks, LB Alec Ogletree is in line for a breakout season, and St. Louis' secondary will be improved with the addition of rookie Lamarcus Joyner.

3. San Francisco 49ers

Patrick Willis
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3. San Francisco 49ers

Patrick Willis
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The San Francisco 49ers would probably have cemented No. 2 on this list if Aldon Smith was not going to be suspended for a good chunk of the 2014 campaign. Patrick Willis is still an impact linebacker, and San Francisco probably has a strong enough front-seven to make up for their somewhat suspect secondary.

2. Carolina Panthers

Luke Kuechly
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2. Carolina Panthers

Luke Kuechly
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Charles Johnson and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly lead a somewhat under the radar unit into the 2014 campaign, with designs on leading the Carolina Panthers to another NFC South division title. Roman Harper and Carolina's secondary need to step up considering the havoc its front-seven will cause, and if it does, the Panthers will dominate opposing offenses in 2014.

1. Seattle Seahawks

Richard Sherman
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1. Seattle Seahawks

Richard Sherman
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The Seattle Seahawks' defense lost a few pieces from their Super Bowl winning unit, but Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas still take the most impressive NFL secondary into the 2014 campaign. If Seattle's front-seven wreaks as much havoc as it did in 2013, the Seahawks should easily be making another championship run if they stay healthy.

Timothy Downs is a St. Louis Rams/NFL writer for RantSports.com. You can add him on Google or follow on Twitter @Tidow1212.