- Gary Horton, Scouts Inc.
On Thursday, we began our look at the most dynamic duos in the NFL by ranking the top 10 in the AFC. On Friday, we continue in the NFC.
Again, the key to a truly impressive tandem is a twosome that works better together than they do apart. They cover each other's weaknesses and enhance each other's strengths -- even if their link isn't readily apparent. Some readers raised an eyebrow Thursday about my pairing of punter Shane Lechler and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, believing the two don't relate to one another -- after all, they're not even on the field together. However, it's their complementary skills that earned them my appreciation -- Lechler's big leg gives the Raiders better field position and, combined with Janikowski's range, leads to more field goal opportunities for Oakland.
I suspect you'll find our NFC pairings slightly more conventional, however. Here is my breakdown of the top 10, starting out in San Francisco:
1. ILBs Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers
They are the most dominant inside linebacking duo in the NFL and it is uncanny how they mesh their skills on the field. They look and play the same in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme and not only do they dominate against the run, they both defend the pass and have sideline-to-sideline range. They have become effective blitzers/pass-rushers, and San Francisco is able to bring one of them, drop the other into coverage, without fear that the LB dropping into coverage will be a liability. Combined with San Francisco's strong defensive line, Willis and Bowman make the 49ers' pass rush scary.
17hEric D. Williams
17hSharon Katz & Hank Gargiulo