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Most explosive NFL offenses, ranked from worst to first

Rachel Wold
Carson Wentz leads one of the most explosive NFL offenses
Bill Streiche--USA Today Sports

The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books. Free agency and trades have begun to simmer down. Now that most of the team building is over, how do the NFL offenses stack up?

Over the past few months, every franchise has made moves to enhance their roster. Several teams hit home runs, while others left fans scratching their heads. Topping some of the league’s biggest moves were multiple clubs bringing aboard new quarterbacks to boost their offenses.

With some surprises sure to be forthcoming, we ranked the most explosive NFL offenses from worst to first. Enjoy!

32. Buffalo Bills

Down at the bottom of the barrel, we really cannot endorse a team currently featuring quarterback A.J. McCarron as a starter. Behind him sits rookie Josh Allen whose college accuracy issues were talked about to no end prior to the draft,. Either one of both will be throwing to wideouts Zay Jones and Kelvin Benjamin who scored three times combined last year. The Bills can only hope that running back LeSean McCoy remains healthy and that backup Chris Ivory — who was a disaster last year — stays neatly stashed on the bench.

31. Indianapolis Colts

It is topping 500 days since quarterback Andrew Luck has thrown a regulation-sized football. So at this time, expectations for the Colts offense must be tempered. Either Luck, or backup Jacoby Brissett, will be hoping to connect more with wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has scored only 10 times in the last two seasons. Running back Frank Gore, who has always been healthy as a horse, is gone. Replacing him is Marlon Mack, backed up by a couple of later-round rookie running backs. Perhaps tight end Eric Ebron, whom the Colts broke the bank for, will save the day.

30. Miami Dolphins

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill makes his comeback, having not played since December of 2016. Better yet, Brock Osweiler is his backup. The aforementioned Gore joins Kenyan Drake, who managed an impressive 4.8 yards per carry last season. But Jarvis Landry, who led the league with 112 receptions, is long gone. Instead, the oft-injured Danny Amendola will take Landry’s place with DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills headlining the receiving corps. These guys can make big plays, provided somebody accurately gets them the ball.

29. New York Jets

Sam Darnold Jets

The Jets did well in selecting quarterback Sam Darnold to compete with Josh McCown for the starting job. Teddy Bridgewater is still in mix too, but the thought of him under center, for any reason, is a concerning one. Receivers Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor, Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson don’t exactly have us jumping for joy. The latter also possibly faces a suspension. New to join Bilal Powell in the backfield is running back Isaiah Crowell, coming off a two-touchdown season. This all makes for what should be an interesting Jets training camp.

28. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals’ offense needs to improve by miles this season, and this starts with quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton threw for 886 yards fewer last year than he did in 2016. Incredibly, he connected with wideout A.J. Green only 52.4 percent of the time. This year, we can only hope to see more from 2017 first-round pick and bust, John Ross, as well as Joe Mixon. One thing we do like about the Bengals’ offseason is their offensive line improvements. Yet we question the team re-signing injury-riddled tight end, Tyler Eifert.

27. Tennessee Titans

Quarterback Marcus Mariota hopes to bounce back this year after passing for his lowest touchdowns (13) to date in 2017. This must improve and the Titans really need second-year wideout Corey Davis to break out. Despite making the playoffs, the Titans ranked 23rd in passing offense. As for the rushing game, Derrick Henry is starting to show promise. He will be joined by Dion Lewis, who was quite the gem for the Patriots last season. At tight end, Delanie Walker is Mr. Reliable after leading the Titans with 74 catches.

26. Washington Redskins

All eyes will be on quarterback Alex Smith as he attempts to maintain his high-level accuracy with a completely new offense. This is an offense that had some sloppy drops last year, especially from Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson. Wideout Paul Richardson, with his big play-making skills, joins the group. And tight ends Vernon Davis and a hopefully healthy Jordan Reed might just be Smith’s favorite targets. At running back, Washington did well to spend its second-round pick on LSU’s Derrius Guice to add to the mix.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback Blake Bortles is always a wild card entering any given season. And this year, he will be without both receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. This leaves him with Marquise Lee, Dede Westbrook and newly signed Donte Moncrief. The latter scored only twice in 12 games last year with the Colts. And, time will tell what tight end with Austin Seferian-Jenkins brings to the table. Though on the solid side, last season’s first-round pick, running back Leonard Fournette, should continue to balance out the entire offense.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott

The Cowboys fell low on this list due to the release of Dez Bryant and departure of Jason Witten. Here to help quarterback Dak Prescott rediscover last year’s lost mojo are new additions Deonte Thompson, Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns and Colorado State’s Michael Gallup. This means Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley are now the tenured vets. Beyond this questionable group, the bright star in Dallas is obviously running back Ezekiel Elliott. While he remains an elite at his position, he cannot be the offense’s sole miracle worker.

23. Baltimore Ravens

To jump start a floundering Joe Flacco, the Ravens boldly moved up to draft the mobile Lamar Jackson. While that was a plus move, the team signing the embattled Robert Griffin III was a puzzling one. The total makeover at wide receiver featuring Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown might just be the ticket. Plus, the Ravens also drafted help for Flacco by selecting tight end Hayden Hurst out of South Carolina in the first round. Decently covering the running back position are youngsters Alex Collins, Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon. Offensively, this team might just surprise — in a good way — this year.

22. Denver Broncos

The Broncos averaged a meager 18.1 points last year and signed quarterback Case Keenum to boost the offense out of its funk. We would like to hope that he takes advantage of having the talented receiving corps, led by Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Though, Sanders needs to stay healthy for the best results. At running back, the Broncos will rely on Devontae Booker and rookie Royce Freeman after letting C.J. Anderson go. Overall, this is an offense that could take a huge leap forward, or sputter and remain in neutral.

21. Chicago Bears

New head coach Matt Nagy should launch the Bears offense into the relevant category this year. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky should improve tremendously working with the guy who coordinated the Chiefs’ well-oiled offense last season. Giving Trubisky options, the Bears signed wideouts Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, as well as Super Bowl hero, tight end Trey Burton. The running back tandem of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen should continue to keep opposing defenders scrambling.

20. Cleveland Browns

What is not to like about the Browns’ moves this offseason? They added a new face to the franchise by selecting Baker Mayfield first overall. The team also earlier doubled-down at quarterback by trading for the mobile Tyrod Taylor. And speaking of mobile, the Browns signed the explosive Carlos Hyde and drafted Georgia’s Nick Chubb to join Duke Johnson. At wide receiver, we cannot wait to watch Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon teaming up. For the first time in ages, the Browns’ offense is looking more hot than not.

19. San Francisco 49ers

This will be quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s year to prove he is worth the gigantic contract the 49ers signed him to. The 49ers did not land one of the top receivers in free agency, so Marquise Goodwin, veteran Pierre Garcon and Trent Taylor will be the main weapons for Jimmy G, along with the versatile Dante Pettis out of Washington. At running back, the 49ers replaced Hyde with pass-catching back Jerick McKinnon. This group will look to help Garoppolo keep his perfect winning streak running.

18. Seattle Seahawks

If the Seahawks did not have the quarterback who earned the most fantasy football points in 2017, this team would be much further down the list. But, Wilson is one of the most explosive at his position, and can do it all when it comes to making plays. Plus, he can lean on trusty wideout Doug Baldwin, who has tallied 29 touchdowns in the last three seasons. At running back, the Seahawks desperately needed to upgrade. They did exactly that by picking San Diego State’s Rashad Penny, responsible for 2,383 scrimmage yards and 25 touchdowns last year. On a down note, the team departed with tight end Jimmy Graham.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Mike Evans rediscover their chemistry, this offense has huge potential. The same goes for veteran wideout Desean Jackson rediscovering how to make his awesome plays. Dumping a disappointing Doug Martin was a positive step that led to the Bucs drafting USC’s Ronald Jones in the second round. He’s already talking about becoming “Rookie of the Year.” A breakout season for tight end O.J. Howard would be a sweet complement to all these components.

16. Houston Texans

If quarterback Deshaun Watson returns in full electric form, this offense is going to be on fire. Watson threw for 19 touchdowns in just seven games before his injury. Imagine what is in store for a complete season? Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins might even score more than the league-high 13 touchdowns he did last year. Wideout Will Fuller also responded well with Watson under center. If running backs Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman can step things up, that would be all the more perfect.

15. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers drafted extremely well by getting some much-needed help for quarterback Cam Newton. They wisely spent their first-round pick on receiver D.J. Moore out of Maryland. He should help provide a boost, joining Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith in the receiving corps. Tight end Greg Olsen returning healthy is key as well. Then there’s second-year running back Christian McCaffrey, who will combine with C.J. Anderson to make explosive plays on the ground. Watching these backs in action with Super Cam will not be boring at all.

14. Oakland Raiders

On top of making Jon Gruden the highest-paid coach in the league, the Raiders are gambling with wide receiver Jordy Nelson and running back Doug Martin. Either or both moves could pay off or easily backfire. Nelson joins Amari Cooper, who is coming off a terrible 2017 campaign. The hope here is that these guys help quarterback Derek Carr reverse his 2017 slump. In the backfield, feisty running back Marshawn Lynch will resume his starting role, with Martin on hand to assist. The Raiders feature some promising talent, provided all involved don’t literally drop the ball.

13. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals stand to rebound with the healthy return of the dynamic David Johnson. He has already set his goal to achieve 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving. Johnson should be his quarterback’s best friend this fall. Speaking of which, the Cardinals will feature Sam Bradford with rookie Josh Rosen waiting in the wings for a hostile takeover. Either one or possibly both will be throwing passes to the trusty Larry Fitzgerald, responsible for 109 catches last year. This is an offense that could be sneaky-good in the NFC West.

12. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers is ranked No. 1 in fantasy quarterbacks for 2017

Let’s scrap the Packers’ 2017 season and look on to 2018. The healthy return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers is huge. He is a guy who can make all of the difference no matter who is catching balls. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are the featured receivers, joined by tight end Jimmy Graham. We know at any time Graham is capable of making some stunning plays. While Rodgers’ pass-catchers provide intrigue, we are not exactly thrilled with the Packers not making any veteran additions at running back behind Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones.

11. Detroit Lions

Often underrated, quarterback Matthew Stafford has passed for no less than 4,262 yards since 2011. His consistency makes him one of the most reliable at his position. There to split receptions and touchdowns are Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and second-year wideout Kenny Golladay, who turned heads his rookie year. To improve their ailing run game, the Lions earned good marks by adding LeGarrette Blount and rookie Kerryon Johnson to join Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. New tight end Luke Willson is also a fascinating addition for Stafford’s cannon of an arm.

10. Los Angeles Chargers

Quarterback Philip Rivers is coming off an excellent campaign after passing for 4,515 yards and throwing only 10 picks compared to 28 touchdowns. A healthy Keenan Allen will help keep this trend going. Plus, it is now tight end Hunter Henry’s era to shine. With Antonio Gates no longer a part of the offense, Henry will be featured at the position that Rivers loves to utilize. As for running backs, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler scored 17 combined touchdowns last year. Northwestern’s Justin Johnson joins these two. The Chargers boast a well-balanced offense that should be on its way to a postseason run.

9. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings were the winner of the quarterback Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, so expectations are extremely high here. If he can take advantage of having some awesome receivers — Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs — plenty of scoring should happen. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is an X-factor as well, knowing Cousins loved targeting his tight ends in Washington. Second-year running back Dalvin Cook returns after rushing for 4.8 yards per carry before tearing his ACL last year. He partners with Latavius Murray, who’s coming off an eight-touchdown season. The Vikings are our pick for best offense in the NFC North.

8. Atlanta Falcons

An offense featuring top shelf receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman is tough to stop. Tevin Coleman is a great complement for Freeman, as is Mohamed Sanu for Jones. On top of that, Falcons fans are thrilled with the team spending its first-round pick on Alabama’s wide receiver Calvin Ridley. How can quarterback Matt Ryan possibly do any wrong with this group? His touchdowns (20) and yards (4,095) from last season should definitely be on the climb. If not, that will be a problem.

7. New York Giants

Some might say ranking the Giants offense at No. 7 a little strange considering the team won only three times last year. But, getting game-changer wideout Odell Beckham Jr. back is a major deal. He joins Sterling Shepard, who is due a breakout season, as well as tight end Evan Engram, who picked up the slack big time last year. Aside from this, the Giants nailed it by selecting top running back prospect Saquon Barkley second overall. Offensive line improvements should help quarterback Eli Manning and the entire offense get back on track.

6. New England Patriots

Quarterback Tom Brady returns for his 19th year in the league. That is a wow factor all by itself. He will be joined by explosive tight end Rob Gronkowski, who graciously postponed his retirement. Provided he stays healthy, expect the usual dose of Brady-to-Gronk touchdowns. Wide receiver Julian Edelman will also return after receiving 159 targets in 2016. Running backs Rex Burkhead and James White can surprise at any time by ripping off some huge runs. And, other surprises might be in store from first-round pick running back Sony Michel. He averaged a crazy 7.9 yards per carry at Georgia.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs offense is loaded with youthful talent and has huge upside entering 2018. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ big arm will take over as he hurls passes to wideouts Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and tight end Travis Kelce. How fun will this be to watch? Plus, running back Kareem Hunt will continue to wow fans with his explosiveness, backed up by Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. A healthy and productive season will be this team’s ticket to the playoffs next January.

4. New Orleans Saints

Quarterback Drew Brees is still throwing the pigskin with the best of them. As a result, wide receiver Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn never fail to show up with explosive plays. Adding to the mix is Cameron Meredith, whom the Bears completely let slip this offseason. We also like tight end Benjamin Watson re-joining the team. He racked up 825 yards and six touchdowns as a Saint in 2015. Last but not least, is the powerful running back duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Don’t let Ingram’s four-game suspension rain on this parade in the Big Easy.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are stocked to the brim in all aspects of their offense. Quarterback Carson Wentz should pick up where he left off with his handy pass-catchers on hand. This group consists of Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and speedy veteran Mike Wallace, who is an upgrade over Torrey Smith. Tight end Zach Ertz should remain a touchdown-scoring gem in red zone plays, plus the Eagles drafted coveted prospect Dallas Goedert. Aside from this, the Eagles are loaded at the running back position with Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and the versatile Darren Sproles. This entire group would have to try really hard to disappoint this fall.

2. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams’ offense is in full steamroller mode featuring running back Todd Gurley. In 2017, he led the league with 2,093 scrimmage yards and 19 touchdowns. He was every fantasy football owners’ dream and a nightmare for opponents. Gurley aided an offense that saw quarterback Jared Goff throw for 28 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions. The trend should continue with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp on hand for assistance. There is very little here to suggest the Rams finish anywhere other than first in the NFC West.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Le'Veon Bell Antonio Brown, Jan 8, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) celebrates with Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Lastly, we cover a team that has lately fallen short of nailing the AFC title. Though, Pittsburgh’s offense is still No. 1 in our book. There is no wide receiver/running back duo more lethal than that of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Bell tallied a league-high 321 rushing attempts last season while he and Brown combined for 186 receptions. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will continue to make sure his guys are fed in a similar matter this year. On top of that, JuJu Smith-Schuster proved to be a show-stopper in his rookie year, and now they have James Washington as the No. 3 receiver. It would be utterly shocking if this offense took a cliff dive in 2018.