NFL Week 2 Picks: Defenses That Will Dominate Opposition

Paul TierneyCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2012

Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware.Norm Hall/Getty Images

The NFL's transition into a pass-first league has put a heavy emphasis on the offensive side of the ball. With gunslingers like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady under center each week, fans crave the high-paced, hard-hitting action that this new style of play dictates. However, many forget that it's just as important to stop teams from scoring as it it to score themselves. In Week 2, there are going to be several defenses that will cause their opposition to have fits throughout their respective contests.

However, while we can always expect the 49ers, Ravens, Steelers and Texans to play stellar defense each game, the matchups in Week 2 may open the door for two of the league's less-heralded squads to put forth a stout defensive effort.

Let's take a look at two defenses that may surprise fans in their second game.


Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys do not have one of the league's most under-appreciated defenses. However, their defense has the potential to work its way up to becoming one of the NFL's most feared units in 2012. With a revamped secondary and a stellar linebacker corps, the Cowboys' defense will improve drastically in 2012.

After a three-sack effort against the New York Giants' high-powered passing attack, the Cowboys will be on the road in Seattle for Week 2.

The Seahawks are starting a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson, a guy who looked like a rookie in his first game against the Arizona Cardinals. Although the Cardinals defense has been far from good the last few seasons, Russell Wilson only threw for 139 yards against them, which was the third worst total in the NFL last week.

Things will not be any easier for Wilson this time around. He will have DeMarcus Ware coming after him all game long, and he will be throwing at a secondary that just dominated the likes of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. If Dallas' defensive line can bottle up Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks could be in for a long day.


Washington Redskins

Although the Redskins were 5-11 last year, the performance turned in by their front seven on the defensive side of the ball was nothing to scoff at. In 2011, the 'Skins ranked 13th in the league in yards allowed, which enabled them to beat the eventual Super Bowl champions twice. After containing an explosive New Orleans Saints offense in Week 1, Washington should fare a lot better against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

The strength of the Redskins defense lies in the front seven. Ryan Kerrigan has quietly become one of the best linebackers in the league, and Brian Orakpo is not far behind. Rams running back Steven Jackson is going to have a hard time running the ball behind a questionable offensive line while being pursued by an elite linebacker tandem.

In the secondary, cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson played well against the Saints last week. It figures that they can only improve in Week 2 playing against the likes of Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson.

Look for the Redskins defense to once again turn in an impressive effort on Sunday.