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Justin Houston is right. The Chiefs do have the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL, for now

Justin Houston and Tamba Hali have accounted for 86.5 sacks in four seasons together with the Chiefs.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Houston and Tamba Hali have shredded opposing offensive lines in their four seasons together in Kansas City. The pair of Chiefs pass rushers have combined for 86.5 sacks since Houston entered the NFL as a third-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Houston, 26, has quickly developed into one of the NFL's most dominant pass rushers and led the NFL in sacks in 2014 with 22, just a half of a sack shy of Michael Strahan's record of 22.5 sacks in a season. While Hali managed just six sacks -- his lowest total since 2008 -- he still went to the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive year.

The track record of bringing down opposing passers has Houston convinced that he and Hali are the NFL's best pass-rushing duo. He told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer as much when asked if the two rank at the top of the league.

"I'd say so. I think everybody should think the same way," Houston said at Charles Johnson's Sports Academy and Community Night last month in Hawkinsville. "I think you should think that as an NFL player, think you're the best and believe you're the best. I really do think we are."

But Houston and Hali certainly weren't the only pass rushers who combined for a productive season in 2014. Elvis Dumervil racked up 17 sacks for the Baltimore Ravens last season and his partner in crime, Terrell Suggs, notched 12 sacks on the other side for a total of 29 sacks between the two pass rushers.

A few other tandems managed to eclipse 20 combined sacks as well, so which is the NFL's best?

Kansas City Chiefs: Justin Houston and Tamba Hali

Both Houston and Hali have made the Pro Bowl in the last three seasons and their consistent production as a duo makes the pair one of the NFL's best. While 86.5 sacks combined in four seasons speaks for itself, it's the recent emergence of Houston that truly makes the Chiefs' pass rush special.

Houston has developed into arguably the NFL's most dangerous edge rusher and while Hali's play tailed off some, the Chiefs also have 2014 first-rounder Dee Ford waiting in the wings, which could re-establish the Chiefs as the team with the clear-cut, top tandem if he pans out.

Baltimore Ravens: Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs

Dumervil made three straight Pro Bowls as a Bronco before a fax machine snafu caused him to leave the team and pair with Suggs in Baltimore. The pair was instantly successful with 19.5 sacks as a duo in 2013, then stepped it up even more with 29 sacks in 2014.

The question is whether the pair will be able to keep up their play. Neither player is the up-and-coming superstar that the 26-year-old Houston is. Dumervil is 31 and entering his ninth season, while Suggs is 32 and entering his 13th. Still, it's hard to argue with their production and there haven't been signs of slowing just yet.

Denver Broncos: Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware

Like Houston, 26-year-old Miller is an on-the-rise edge rusher. Although Miller served a suspension earlier in his career for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy and has also dealt with a torn ACL, it certainly looks like his best days are ahead. His 14 sacks in 2014 combined with 10 sacks from Ware to make the Broncos one of the NFL's top pass-rushing teams.

While the production doesn't match that of Houston in Kansas City, Scotty Payne of SB Nation's Broncos blog, Mile High Report, thinks it will be there soon and that will boost the Miller-Ware combination to the top of the pass-rushing duo rankings.

St. Louis Rams: Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald

Coming into the 2014 season, Quinn had a strong case as the NFL's top edge rusher. His 19 sacks in 2013 trailed only Robert Mathis' 19.5, and he was a terror opposite Chris Long.

Long added 8.5 sacks in 2013 for a total of 27.5 for the pair, but Long managed just one sack in 2014 while Quinn tallied 10.5. Luckily for the Rams, they have Aaron Donald, a dominant three-technique on the inside who racked up nine sacks from the interior as a rookie. If Quinn returns to the dominant form he showed in 2013, the Rams have pass-rushing threats all over to make for a scary defensive front in 2015.


At the end of the day, Houston's probably right that the Chiefs boast the best duo -- for now. Hali's drop-off in production doesn't bode well for the title in 2015, but most of the other top tandems feature aging pass rushers, too. Quinn and Donald are a young pair for the Rams, while other teams like the Houston Texans are banking on potential and could sneak into the pass-rushing spotlight if Jadeveon Clowney finds his form in the NFL alongside reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.