It is less than 100 days until the 2017 NFL season officially kicks off. The time will fly by and soon enough we will be watching which NFL offensive power trios emerge ahead of others.
This article will look at skill-position trios and which ones are the best in the NFL heading into the 2017 season.
From a certain group in Atlanta that led the Falcons to the Super Bowl last season to a young trio in Oakland, here are the best of the best.
Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons)
We kick off this list predicting the red-hot Falcons offense will pick up where it left off last season. Despite falling to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, the Falcons averaged a league-high 33.8 points on the season in 2016.
Ryan had his best year to date, passing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns. He earned a stellar 117.1 quarterback rating as a result. Ryan’s seven interceptions marked a career low as well.
The recipient of 1,409 of Ryan’s passing yards was none other than Jones. The four-time Pro Bowl receiver averaged a generous 17 yards per catch, making him one of the most elusive for defenders to tackle.
As for Freeman, he rushed at a career-high 4.8 yards per carry while tallying a total of 1,541 yards and 13 touchdowns. This season, the 25-year-old running back plans to up his game even more.
“Last year, I left some runs out there, Freeman said per Vaughn McClure of ESPN. Also in the open field, continue to make guys miss, punishing guys. I just want to be real disrespectful this year when it comes to football.We must not forget that running back Tevin Coleman will help keep Freeman fresh by lending is legs to the mix on late downs.
We envision the combination of Ryan, Jones and Freeman continuing to create nightmares just as they so savagely managed last year.
Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Marshawn Lynch (Oakland Raiders)
This is an exciting power trio that nobody was discussing around the water cooler at the close of the 2016 season.
It was a season that saw Carr suffer a broken leg at the very worst time. The Pro Bowler went down in Week 16 and missed the entire playoffs, pretty much ending Oakland’s championship aspirations. Carr is now doing well and should be back to his healthy self this upcoming season. He will look to build on the 3,937 passing yards and 28 touchdowns he tallied before the aforementioned injury.
Heading into his third season, Cooper should continue to flourish as well. He produced a 62.9 percent catch rate for 1,153 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2016. When Cooper is drawing double coverage, Carr will have the trusty Michael Crabtree on hand.
Lastly, Beastmode is back in the NFL and will be joining one of the league’s most up and coming offenses. It might be hard for Seattle Seahawks fans to see Lynch in silver and black taking hand-offs from Carr, but Raiders fans are going to eat that up.
— Alex Flanagan (@Alex_Flanagan) May 30, 2017
The 31-year-old running back kept in fantastic physical shape during his one year off. Soon enough, we will see him in action helping to get his Raiders into Super Bowl contention.
Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall (New York Giants)
This group of G-men is another new trio that has the potential to do some real damage in 2017.
Manning is a fortunate quarterback and is poised for fabulous success with Marshall’s veteran skill set and Beckham’s feisty determination.
Marshall signed on with the Giants because he wants to play for a “winning team.” That definitely was not going to happen playing with the New York Jets. Marshall arrives to the Giants after scoring a career-best 14 touchdowns in 2015. He’ll be a tremendous asset for Manning when OBJ is drawing double coverage.
Speaking of coverage, Beckham is king of posting phenomenal numbers despite defenses trying to limit his production. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver has averaged 6.7 receptions and 95.9 yards per game over the course of his three-year career. OBJ has scored no less than 10 times per season as well.
Throw second-year receiver Sterling Shepard into the mix, and Manning should hit the trifecta this fall.
Tom Brady, Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots)
Life just continues to get more glorious for Brady after the future Hall of Famer earned the fifth Super Bowl of his stellar career. As if the Patriots’ offense was not already loaded to the brim with elite talent, Cooks joined the forces via a trade back in March.
The fourth-year wideout wanted a trade from the New Orleans Saints because he was not seeing enough action from quarterback Drew Brees. Despite his claims, Cooks still managed to tally 78 catches for a career-high 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns. He brings his services up north to now catch passes from another future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Last year, Brady turned suspension lemons into lemonade, throwing for 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He eventually led the Patriots to a nail-biting, come from behind, Super Bowl victory.
Brady will now get tight end Rob Gronkowski back. If he stays healthy, the sky will be the limit on the Patriots’ offensive accomplishments.
Cooks and Gronk as well as wide receiver Julian Edelman are sure to supply Brady all he needs for yet another successful run in the AFC East.
Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Here is another new power trio that really should turn some heads and drop some jaws starting in September.
Winston is coming off a sophomore season that saw him put up 4,090 yards with 28 touchdowns. These are numbers that will surely go up with Jackson now in the mix.
The Buccaneers offered quite the pretty penny in $33.5 million for three years to sway Jackson down to Tampa. Winston personally advocated for Jackson to join the team.
“I’ve met him before, and we want DeSean. You better believe we want DeSean here. I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean.”
Jackson is still producing at a high level and maintains a stealthy average of 17.9 yards per reception over the course of his nine-year career. That means it is go-time once the speedster gets his hands on the ball.
Jackson joins Evans, who was a brilliant selection of the Buccaneers back in 2014. The Pro Bowler is coming off a career 2016 campaign that saw him put up 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2016.
If the Buccaneers are two continue their progression this upcoming season, this trio will have to dominate opposing NFC South defenses. At this point, we shouldn’t question Tampa Bay’s ability to do just that.
Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys)
Bryant’s veteran expertise in conjunction with Elliott’s fresh legs and Prescott’s youthful arm makes for one of the best trios in the league.
If Bryant is able to return completely healthy, there’s no reason to believe he won’t top the 796 yards and eight touchdowns he put up last season. He remains a legitimate elite receiving threat when at 100 percent.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) April 15, 2017
As for sophomores Prescott and Elliott, there is nothing to hint that either player’s level of production will significantly decline. Prescott was poised and confident under center last year, completing 67.8 percent of his passes for 23 touchdowns and only four picks. He was a mobile quarterback gem as well, rushing for 282 yards and six touchdowns.
Eventually, Prescott led the Cowboys to first place in the NFC. It was no surprise Prescott earned AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Elliott was no slouch either, leading the league with 1,631 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns over 15 games. He carried the ball at blazing 5.1 yards per attempt.
Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers)
The 2017 NFL season might mark the last that this trio takes the field. Big Ben is seriously tossing around the idea of retiring after this year. He won’t commit to life as a Steeler past 2017.
In the meantime, Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell should keep offering a one, two, three punch. Big Ben is about as tough as quarterbacks get and Pittsburgh’s offense ranked seventh in scoring last year.
The team will look to continue the trend with superstars Brown and Bell doing what they do best. That would be piling up truck loads of yards and touchdowns. Brown is coming off a 2016 season that saw him record 106 catches for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a result of his last four amazing years of production, the Steelers made Brown the highest-paid receiver in the league.
Bell is up for a new mega-deal as well. This will be the motivation for him to continue producing stellar numbers. During the course of just 12 games in 2016, Bell recorded a total of 1,884 yards and nine touchdowns. That equated to 157 yards on average per tilt. This is a pretty impressive feather for Bell to wear in his cap.
Steelers fans can only hope a groin surgery Bell is recuperating from will not hamper his 2017 production.
For now, the Steelers are a team that must win now in order to take advantage of what could be Roethlisberger’s final year. If everyone stays healthy, Big Ben, Brown and Bell stand to finish 2017 as potentially the best offensive power trio in the league.