Which teams have the best of the best…
As the NFL season nears, fans are excited for another exciting campaign. As the league continues to become a more big play-friendly environment, we see offenses become even more explosive each year.
It’s more than just the play of an elite quarterback or one dominant player. Some of the game’s best offenses are so effective because of play calling and execution of every aspect of each play.
Let’s take a look at the top-32 offenses heading into the 2018 season
Buffalo overlooked Josh Allen’s often poor play last season in college. The excuse generally made was that he was surrounded by a supporting cast that limited his ability to succeed.
So naturally, Buffalo put him in the same situation to start his NFL career. If he starts in Week 1, which is possible, it might get ugly. With one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and the worst receiving corps, it’s a recipe for failure. Put it all together and you have one of the worst quarterback situations in the league.
Someone needs to free LeSean McCoy from this mess. Given all he has done in his career, it would be a shame for his final carries to take place in the rotting carcass that is this offense.
New York Jets
New York now has its quarterback of the future in Sam Darnold. Now it just needs to find a running game, wide receivers and tight ends to help provide him with the keys to success.
A backfield duo of Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell is adequate, but doesn’t offer the threat that takes pressure off a rookie quarterback. Robby Anderson flashed plenty of potential last season, but the competition behind him with Quincy Enunwa, Jermaine Kearse and Terrelle Pryor is a major weak spot. Especially behind this offense, Darnold will experience severe growing pains.
Baltimore’s future on offense could be very promising with quarterback Lamar Jackson. For as long as Flacco starts under center though and Baltimore’s skill positions remain what they are, this offense will be putrid.
Flacco averaged 5.7 yards per attempt with an 80.4 quarterback rating last season. He is a bad quarterback and even with the new receiver trio of Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, there’s far too much to overcome here. It’s best to just count the weeks until a quarterback change is made.
Living in South Beach has to be nice. That is as long as you aren’t watching this offense. Miami tried to address some of its deficiencies from last season, but it felt quite short in its efforts.
Tannehill, 30 in July, will be trying to bounce back after he missed all of last season with a torn ACL. He lost Jarvis Landry, his top target, and now must make things work with DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson.
A quarterback two years removed from being an above-average starter with mediocre wide receivers and a backfield duo of Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake. After a few weeks, Miami fans might just want to go to the beach.
Denver found a quarterback who can provide stability at the position…maybe. Case Keenum, who excelled with Minnesota last season, lands on a roster that seems to have solid pieces to help him deliver another strong season.
Yet, it’s still tough to buy into this offense. Keenum completed just 58.4 percent of his passes with a 78.4 quarterback rating in 24 starts before 2017. If last year was a blip on the radar, Denver is in trouble with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on the decline.
There is some upside, though. If Keenum can complete 64-plus percent of his passes with an 80-plus quarterback rating, this could become a top-25 offense. It could even become a top-20 offense if the Royce Freeman-Devontae Booker backfield pairing works out.
Oakland enters the summer with hopes that Jon Gruden can turn one of the league’s most disappointing teams around. In order to do it, Gruden brought in a cast of stars. Unfortunately, they were stars from years ago.
The odds of success aren’t in his favor. When Green Bay lets go of a wide receiver, it’s usually a sign to stay away. Perhaps Nelson works out in Oakland and can help Amari Cooper become the wide receiver people hoped he would become coming out of the draft.
The Marshawn Lynch-Doug Martin tandem will yield average results at best. Derek Carr isn’t as bad as the sub-3,500-yard quarterback we saw last season, but he also shouldn’t be on the same list as other MVP favorites. Trust this team if you want, but it could get ugly quick for the Raiders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If Jameis Winston wasn’t suspended for three games, this offense would be ranked higher. Of course, many were excited for Tampa Bay’s offense in 2017, then the Bucs finished 18th in points per game (20.9).
A lack of weapons isn’t the problem. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin gives Winston one of the best receiving corps in the league. Tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard are also capable of excellent production. Tampa Bay’s running game could also take a step forward if rookie Ronald Jones delivers upon expectations.
When Winston plays, he needs to show more consistency and improve his decision making to make this a top-15 offense. If it’s Fitzpatrick, this offense’s ceiling becomes average.
The Dak Prescott-Ezekiel Elliott duo was the talk of the NFL in 2016, then 2017 came. Elliott served a six-game suspension and Prescott experienced a serious sophomore slump.
Perhaps the duo can bounce back now that the two players will (hopefully) be together for a full season. The offensive line in front of them remains one of the best in the league, which should provide ample time to throw, and holes to run through.
Unfortunately, the passing game has serious questions. Dallas’ No.1 receiving heading into camp is Allen Hurns, and he will be ‘challenged’ for the role by Terrance Williams.
As for the hype about Dallas landing a ‘steal’ in Tavon Austin, just think about this. If Sean McVay couldn’t make it work with Austin, it’s hard to imagine Scott Linehan can.
Can Andrew Luck throw an NFL football in an actual NFL game? It’s the question we’ve been waiting to be answered for over five months, yet no answer appears to be in sight.
Indianapolis improved its offensive line this offseason, though the unit is still average at best. T.Y. Hilton is an impact receiver and the tight end duo of Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron can be productive. What will define this offense and this team’s chances is if Luck’s shoulder is healthy, which is far from a given right now.
Blake Bortles is not as bad as we thought. That said, he is keeping this team from being considered a serious Super Bowl threat. Offensively, this will still be an offense that relies heavily on Leonard Fournette to carry it.
It worked for them last season and it should work in 2018. Jacksonville’s receiving corps of Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief and Dede Westbrook should be adequate given the quarterback situation.
Ultimately, this is a team that strangles opponents with its defense then buries them with the running game. It’s a formula that should once again lead them to a playoff spot.
Washington immediately found its answer at quarterback in Alex Smith when it let Kirk Cousins walk. Of course, Washington addressed more than just quarterback position this offseason.
At running back, Guice should immediately become a reliable contributor who can carry the ball 15-plus times and add a needed punch to this offense. His running mate, Chris Thompson, can be a dynamic weapon out of the backfield.
On paper, a cast with Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson and Jordan Reed is attractive. The problem is Reed seems destined for a major injury and Doctson still hasn’t broken out. If it all clicks this year, Washington has a top-15 offense. The smart bet is to go against that happening.
A.J. Green is one of the best at his position. The running back tandem of Gio Bernard and Joe Mixon could also be explosive and a key for this team in 2018. There is your reason for optimism.
The question centers performance of Andy Dalton and Cincinnati’s offensive line. While Cincinnati addressed some of the gaps on the line, it brought in Corey Glenn and Billy Price, this is still a shaky group.
Dalton, who completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes last season, will need to show last year was a fluke. If he can help move the ball effectively, then the Bengals might surprise some people this season.
There’s a lot to love about this offense beyond 2018. Josh Rosen has the makings of a franchise quarterback, and David Johnson is one of the best running backs in the NFL.
As for the immediate future, there’s still room for optimism. When healthy, which is rare, Sam Bradford is an efficient quarterback who can help move the chains and feed Larry Fitzgerald the ball. Of course, Bradford’s ability to stay healthy will be greatly challenged by Arizona’s porous offensive line.
This will be an inconsistent offense in 2018. It will deliver 30-plus points then go through a stretch where even getting a first down seems impossible. In those moments though, fans can feel hopeful about the future.
Cleveland’s offense could see one of the most dramatic rises. It’s all because of the additions of Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb to the offense.
Tyrod Taylor, known for his mobility, is also an efficient quarterback who can stretch the field and protect the football. He also transitions from Buffalo’s supporting cast to a vastly better crew in Cleveland.
The Browns’ backfield will be productive with Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb as capable threats for defenses to respect. Meanwhile, Duke Johnson is an excellent receiver out of the backfield for Taylor to target. As for Cleveland’s receiving corps, while it’s not the best in the NFL, Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry and Corey Coleman are an excellent group
Put all of these talented players in Todd Haley’s offense and the results should be a major improvement over previous seasons. Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield can develop at his own pace and take the stage in 2019.
Seattle’s offense is highlighted by two moves. First, it hired Brian Schottenheimer as its offensive coordinator. Second, it drafted running back Rashaad Penny in the first round.
Penny, who is a novice in pass protection, will be asked to protect Russell Wilson quite often behind Seattle’s porous offensive line. Meanwhile, Penny’s carries will comes behind the same offensive line, which is one of the worst in the NFL.
An innovative offensive coordinator could work around this in some ways, Schottenheimer is not that man. Instead, Wilson must try and bring this offense back to life and make it fly.
Carolina signed running back C.J. Anderson and drafted wide receiver D.J. Moore in the first round to replace Jonathan Stewart and Kelvin Benjamin. Both are significant upgrades over their predecessors. A healthy Greg Olsen should also help add greater support for Cam Newton.
It just isn’t enough. Newton is a great football player and while he certainly has some deficiencies as a quarterback, he is a threat to kill defenses with his arm or legs at any moment.
Unfortunately, Carolina didn’t put a strong enough cast around him. As a result, this offense will be good thanks to the Newton-Christian McCaffrey-Devin Funchess trio, but fall short of greatness.
Chicago is the team everyone envisions as this year’s version of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. The Bears added Matt Nagy, a great offensive mind, as the leader of the team and the man to help develop Mitchell Trubisky.
Once Chicago brought in Nagy, it immediately upgraded the weaponry around Trubisky. Allen Robinson gives him a No.1 receiver, Trey Burton is a breakout target at tight end and Taylor Gabriel is a chess piece. Meanwhile, the backfield is set with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.
Now all of these young players just need to click under a new coach. If it does and Trubisky takes a Jared Goff-like step forward, Chicago will quickly rise in the NFC North.
New York Giants
Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. Together, New York’s fearsome foursome might become the NFL’s best supporting cast. Sadly, quarterback and offensive line play drag them down to No. 15 on this list.
Perhaps Manning can bounce back and average seven-plus yards per attempt with an 82-plus quarterback rating. But most quarterbacks don’t get better as they soar past the age-35 milestone. Even if they did, the situation is made worse by the offensive line protecting Eli.
New York committed itself to Manning when it selected Barkley over a plethora of young quarterbacks with the No.2 pick. It could pay off, but it might also be the decision that greatly holds this team back for several years.
San Francisco 49ers
It’s the question that will decide San Francisco’s future: Just how good is Jimmy Garoppolo? According to Pro Football Reference, the 26-year-old averaged over eight yards per attempt and completed 67 percent of his passes in five starts last season. At the same time, his six touchdowns to five interceptions is an ugly ratio.
The hype around him is real and for good reason. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is an offensive guru and has now had half a season and a full offseason to develop his quarterback.
This could be the next great coach-quarterback duo, but San Francisco’s offense is still a few pieces away from being considered a top-10 offense in the NFL. If Garoppolo lives up to the hype, then they will get a lot closer to it.
After Tennessee’s offense finished in the bottom third of the NFL last season in yards per game, change became necessary. Now under the direction of a new head coach and a young offensive coordinator, there is a chance to reach new heights.
Marcus Mariota can be a very good quarterback. The key to unlocking his potential is a good play caller scheming an offense to fit his strengths with weapons to help make achieving success easier.
The backfield is set with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis. As for weapons, Corey Davis, Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews should be reliable targets for Mariota. Now it’s up to Matt LaFluer, who worked under Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan. If he can bring the innovation to this offense, get ready for fireworks in Tennessee.
The passing game isn’t a concern for Detroit. The Lions finished sixth in passing yards per game (261) and fifth in quarterback rating (98.4) as Matthew Stafford continues to prove he is still underrated.
The question, as always, comes down to the running game. LeGarrette Blount gives this team a bulldozer, while hope will once again ride on a promising rookie running back to emerge. It’s a familiar storyline and Detroit now hopes Kerryon Johnson will yield better production than Ameer Abdullah gave them in recent years.
Los Angeles Chargers
Naturally, injuries struck this offense before the hype train could even think about leaving the station. Despite Hunter Henry’s absence, Los Angeles should be a fun offense to watch this season.
Philip Rivers can still be a very good quarterback and the offensive line is greatly improved from last season, health permitting. An improved offensive line will open up running lanes for Melvin Gordon. Pair a running game and passing games that must be respected with the Chargers’ top-10 defense and you’ve got a real playoff contender in the AFC.
Houston’s stretch of dominance with a healthy Deshaun Watson last season keeps them in this spot. But of the top-20 teams on this list, Houston’s placement is the most volatile.
In Watson’s case, he needs to show he is fully healthy and maintain production close to what we saw from him as a rookie. The backfield duo of Lamar Miller and Donta Foreman is talented enough to provide a threat teams must respect.
At wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller make for an exciting duo and the pair excelled with Watson under center.
If we see the healthy version of Watson, this team will thrive in the AFC. If he gets hurt, Houston will have a catastrophic problem.
Green Bay Packers
As long as Aaron Rodgers is under center, Green Bay will have one of the NFL’s best offenses. Of course, that troublesome collarbone sits in the back of everyone’s mind.
Before he fractured his collarbone, he picked defenses apart. According to Pro Football Reference, the two-time MVP completed 66.9 percent of his passes and had 100.7 quarterback rating through his first four games. So this isn’t a question of his talent.
The additions of Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis make this team lethal in the red zone. Rodgers holds a career 101.4 quarterback rating and 207 touchdown passes to just nine interceptions in the red zone. Now he’ll have Davante Adams, Graham, Lewis and Randall Cobb to target.
A three-headed backfield of Aaron Jones, Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams is begging for someone to step up. If one of them does, not even the league’s best defenses will want to face Green Bay.
Kansas City Chiefs
Running back Kareem Hunt excelled last season as a rookie with over 1,300 rushing yards and 455 receiving yards. Meanwhile, tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill combined for 2,200-plus receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Chiefs also gained running back Spencer Ware, who was injured last year, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who will further supply quarterback Patrick Mahomes with the weapons for success.
Now it all comes down to Patrick Mahomes. In his second year and first as a starter, he’ll need to limit the crippling mistakes and maximize the big-play opportunities. If he does, Kansas City’s offense can carry them to a playoff spot.
Los Angeles Rams
Sometimes all it takes is an innovative coach to turn an offense around. Head coach Sean McVay did just that in Los Angeles, turning Jeff Fisher’s paint blobs into a fine piece of art that dazzled football fans.
The masterpiece started with running back Todd Gurley. Under Fisher, Gurley averaged 3.2 yards per carry and 1,212 total yards in 2016. Last season with McVay, the do-it-all back finished with 2,093 total yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry.
Brandin Cooks adds a game-changing vertical threat to open the field up more for Robert Woods and Gurley. While it might be tough to repeat last year’s level of success, this will be one of the best teams in football.
Before he tore his ACL, Wentz seemed destined to win the MVP award. As the Eagles rolled towards the No.1 seed in the NFC, the 25-year-old held a 101.9 quarterback rating and a 33-7 TD-INT ratio.
This is an offense fully capable of leading the league in points. Philadelphia has a balanced attack, but one factor will be key. The health of Wentz and left tackle Jason Peters will determine just what level of success Philadelphia’s offense reaches in 2018.
An offense that finished top-10 in points per game and top-12 in yards per game made significant improvements this offseason. While Case Keenum played well, Kirk Cousins is a superior quarterback and will elevate this passing attack.
Cousins will certainly look towards Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen often this coming season. Both are supremely gifted wide receivers and could combine for 2,400-plus yards and 15-plus touchdowns in 2018.
Running back Dalvin Cook is the real threat to take this offense to the next level. Before he tore his ACL in Week 4, he averaged 5.2 yards per touch last season. He should be fully recovered from knee surgery and ready to deliver Pro Bowl-caliber production.
Atlanta’s offense enjoyed remarkable success in 2016 when it averaged 33.8 points and 415.8 yards per game in 2016. Then Steve Sarkisian came in last year as the play caller and the results, his offense averaged 22.1 ppg and 364.8 ypg.
Sarkisian must make adjustments to reverse poor trends from 2017. Among them, Julio Jones finished with only three touchdowns and Devonta Freeman and fell short of the 1,000-yard mark.
Everything is there for this to be a top-five offense. Matt Ryan is an excellent quarterback with an arsenal of Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Atlanta’s addition of Calvin Ridley will add another dimension to its offense.
If Sarkisian can’t make it work for a second consecutive season, his days in the NFL might be over.
New England Patriots
Even if some of the pieces around him are questionable, Tom Brady finds a way to make this offense great. When he lost wide receiver Julian Edelman last season, he still found a way to help the Patriots lead the league in total yards (6,307).
While New England lost running back Dion Lewis and wide receiver Brandin Cooks this offseason, it added running back Sony Michel and welcomed back Edelman. Meanwhile, tight end Rob Gronkowski and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels are also back.
Edelman’s four-game ban will hurt this offense and Michel will hit some bumps as a rookie. Of course, the Patriots will overcome all of that and still finish with one of the most productive offenses in the league.
New Orleans Saints
The duo of Sean Payton and Drew Brees has consistently made the Saints’ offense one of the best in the NFL for nearly a decade. Even as the offense has adapted from a pass-heavy machine to a well-balanced attack, the Saints continue to march.
Last season, we saw Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram form an explosive backfield. Together, they combined for 3,000-plus total yards and 25 touchdowns. Now Kamara is set for an even larger role with Ingram suspended for four games.
The wide receiving corps is headlined by Michael Thomas, who is already one of the best in the NFL as a 25-year-old. The passing game could take a step further if Cameron Meredith, who missed 2017 with a torn ACL, can return to his 2014 form. Ted Ginn Jr. adds a vertical threat that nearly set a career-high in receiving yards in 2017.
The top three offenses in the NFL are all fairly close. Both from a talent and depth perspective, a compelling case could be made for each of the top-three offenses. Pittsburgh holds the edge here with none of its main contributors suspended.
Pittsburgh’s offense is centered Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, arguably the best players at their respective positions. Ben Roethlisberger remains one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks and may try and prove himself even more after Pittsburgh drafted Mason Rudolph.
Add in second-year receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who could emerge as a top-25 receiver, and a potentially record-setting offense seems poised to reach new heights in 2018.