Passing Teams Front and Center in NFL

Kurt Warner (Getty)

The NFL is a passing league, and those contenders who can defend it are separating from those who clearly cannot. The Giants joined the 1989 Rams as the only teams in league history to drop four consecutive games following a 5-0 start. They're still giving up a respectable 168 passing yards per game overall, but that was inflated against bad teams during the soft early part of their schedule.

Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Donovan McNabb and Philip Rivers have combined to average 263 passing yards during the losing streak.

"All we can do is go back to the drawing board and keep working hard," said cornerback Corey Webster, who was beaten for the winning touchdown Sunday. "We have a lot more football to play and we have a bye week this week, so hopefully we'll just keep getting better."

Meanwhile, Chicago's lone win the past four games was against 1-7 Cleveland. In the other three contests the Bears' secondary has been sliced and diced by Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer and Kurt Warner.

"For this to work, we have to believe it's going to work, and we have to have a sense of urgency, (but) we don't have that right now," said defensive end Alex Brown. "I don't know what the (heck) is wrong, but we have to change it."

What's wrong isn't rocket science. Opposing quarterbacks have an 89.5 passer rating against Chicago. Translation? When the Bears don't rush the passer well, quarterbacks are having their way with the Bears' secondary.

The Giants and Bears each have four losses and are currently on the outside looking into the NFC playoff picture.

The story is similar for Baltimore in the AFC, except the defensive shortcoming is surprisingly the run defense. After going 39 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, the Ravens have allowed three in the past four games.

Baltimore is another four-loss team that has to take a hard look at its defense if it hopes to make a playoff run down the stretch.

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