After an upset over the Texans moved the Seahawks on to the semifinals, the 49ers are trying to prevent them from advancing to the championship. Who has the better defense, the Seahawks or the 49ers?
It’s up to the fans to decide who moves on to the championship, but here’s what PFW staffers had to say about the matchup:
Senior editor Eric Edholm:
“The Seahawks will surprise people on defense this season. They have a young, ballhawking, aggressive secondary, and to a man it will be better than the 49ers. Yes, I said it. But — and it’s a big but — the front seven edge goes to the 49ers. Hands down. The league might be cycling away slightly from the 3-4, but few teams do it better. They have a great front three that can stack and clear lanes for maybe the four best playmaking linebackers in the league, on par with the Super Bowl units the Steelers had in the past several years. I do worry about their health after having so few injuries last season, but this Niners “D” gets the edge. It’s just not as big a gap between these teams as people realize.”
Associate editor Kevin Fishbain:
“49ers: This is no contest. The Niners’ run defense is superb compared to a Seahawks front seven that has some question marks, especially at linebacker. Seattle does have some up-and-coming players in the secondary to keep an eye on, but that doesn’t do enough to close the gap. San Francisco led the league in takeaways and with Aldon Smith and Justin Smith, the Niners are much better at getting after the quarterback.”
Associate editor Arthur Arkush:
“For the most part, the voters have done a great job deciding who should advance in our 'In the Trenches' brackets. But I have to call it like I see it: This could not be a more lopsided pairing. I like a lot of the pieces the Seahawks have in place, including a physically imposing secondary brimming with upside, and the underrated DE tandem of Chris Clemons and Red Bryant. But the star-studded Niners are simply on a different level. They allowed over five points less than Seattle each week, while surrendering 26 yards less per game. Seattle is an ascending defense; San Francisco has already reached cruising altitude.”
Producer Mark Schoeck:
“Let’s think of it this way: If the Seahawks pass defense is their selling point, and the Seahawks pass defense was 11th best in the NFL a year ago, is the Seahawks selling point a very good selling point? I think of how fascinated I was watching the 49ers defense week after week in 2011 waiting to see if they’d give up a rushing TD, and then I think of how I was never fascinated by the Seahawks defense at any point in any game. 49ers fans, get your team to the bracket championship. Please.”
Contributing writer Mitch Fraser:
“Although the Seahawks have a very respectable defense that could potentially sneak them into the playoffs in the 2012 season, this one is seemingly a no-brainer. The 49ers take this match up because their defense was the driving force that got them to the NFC Championship game last season when they lost a heartbreaker to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants. Their linebacking core anchored by Patrick Willis complemented by Justin Smith and that D-line pass rush is a major force to be reckoned with, not to mention a group of solid lock-down defensive backs. Because the Niners’ offense pounds the ball and eats up clock, it allows the 'D' to stay fresh and create havoc for opposing offenses week in and week out.”
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