In the final first-round matchup of PFW’s “In the Trenches” bracket searching for the best defense in the NFL, the Houston Texans take on the Seattle Seahawks for a chance to move on to the semifinals.
A fan vote will decide who moves on, but here’s what the PFW staff had to say about the two defenses:
Senior producer Adam Anshell:
“I understand why the Seahawks snuck into PFW's top 8 defenses. Are they improved? Yes. Do they have some good pieces? Yes. Do they belong in the discussion with the Texans? No. Just look at the last game of their 2011 season. Seattle gave up 23 points in a loss to a Cardinal team led by John Skelton and LaRod Stephens-Howling. The Texans, on the other hand, rode their defense into the playoffs, despite a rookie QB leading the offense. After a dramatic turnaround in just one season under Wade Phillips, it’s scary to think how good this group could be in Year Two. Easy win for the Texans in this one.”
Senior editor Eric Edholm:
“The Seahawks have something brewing on defense — a young, aggressive group that I think will be a top-10 unit this season. I love their secondary, and I think it will help produce a lot of turnovers in what should be a big-play unit. But my heart still says the Texans are hard to ignore based on what they did last season. I know that Wade Phillips has some losses to contend with, but the talent remains strong, and players such as Kareem Jackson and Daryl Sharpton still have potential to get better this season. I’ll pick the Texans: by a sliver, though.”
Associate editor Kevin Fishbain:
“A year or two from now I may take the Seahawks, because I really like the young talent in that secondary, but the nod goes to the Texans. What that unit accomplished having Mario Williams for only five games is remarkable. J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed will be good for a long time. Connor Barwin had a great year and the secondary is vastly improved. Throw in one of the best coordinators in the game in Wade Phillips and first-rounder Whitney Mercilus, and the Texans have the better unit.”
Producer Mark Schoeck:
“If we’re going to make a case for the Seahawks, it’s that they’re an improving defense with promising pieces in their secondary that could make them a force to be reckoned with in a few years. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they’re going up against a more promising defense with young stars like J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed. Both defenses will stay among the league’s best for the foreseeable future, but the Texans were better in 2011 and will be in ’12, too.”
Associate editor Arthur Arkush:
“I’ll take Houston’s personnel and defensive coordinator over Seattle’s any day of the week. The Texans boast major star power on all three levels of the 'D' and thrived in a new defensive system in 2011, despite having virtually no offseason to install. The only advantage I give the Seahawks is at safety, where Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are rising stars. However, with Wade Phillips concocting pressure with his havoc-wreaking front seven, the Texans are clearly a formidable group.”
You can vote in our online poll, at our Facebook page, you can tweet @profootballwkly and follow along for all of the matchups by subscribing to our Youtube channel.