Predicting the top five NFL offenses in 2014
5. Green Bay Packers
2013 stats: No. 9 in scoring (26.1 points per game), No. 3 in total offense (400.3 yards per game), 42 offensive touchdowns.
Key players: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Eddie Lacy, WR Randall Cobb, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Jarrett Boykin, WR Davante Adams, TE Andrew Quarless
It goes without saying that any offense with Aaron Rodgers at the helm is automatically thrust into the upper echelon of NFL offenses. Depending on how Rodgers has recovered from his shoulder injury last year, this season should be no different. In addition, he doesn’t have the most reliable cast of wide receivers to throw the ball to. James Jones is gone and Jermichael Finley is still a question mark on whether he’ll ever play again. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are his most reliable targets, and they’re by no means amateurs. But beyond those two, his next best target is Jarrett Boykin who has struggled heavily in camp so far. All three of these receivers are experts at stretching the field, which will be helpful in opening up the running game for Eddie Lacy. This offense is designed around Rodgers and even with his carousel of help this offense is still strong.
4. Chicago Bears
2013 stats: No. 2 in scoring (27.8 points per game), No. 8 in total offense (381.8 yards per game), 45 offensive touchdowns
Key Players: QB Jay Cutler, RB Matt Forte, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Marquess Wilson, TE Martellus Bennett
On the complete opposite end of the “Aaron Rodgers and his receivers” spectrum is Jay Cutler and the Bears. Jay Cutler is a lucky, lucky man. Any quarterback in the NFL would give an arm and a leg (no pun intended) to be able to throw to Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett every week. Sophomore HC Marc Trestman has been a godsend to Cutler and company. What’s even scarier about potentially the best WR corp in the league is that if somehow all three of them have an off day, Matt Forte can run the ball down a defense’s throat. This offense is FULL of weapons and as long as they all stay healthy, they could be one of the most lethal attacks in the league.
3. New Orleans Saints
2013 stats: No. 10 in scoring (25.9 points per game), No. 4 in total offense (399.4 yards per game), 49 offensive touchdowns
Key Players: QB Drew Brees, RB Pierre Thomas, RB Mark Ingram, WR Marques Colston, WR Kenny Stills, WR Brandin Cooks, TE Jimmy Graham
Similarly to a few other quarterbacks on this countdown, QB Drew Brees is the kind of quarterback that makes everyone around him better. Brees is going to spend 2014 in the top 5 again as he does every year. Somehow, this power offense was 10th in scoring last season. They set out this offseason to correct that and become insanely high scoring again by shoring up the running game. With the loss of Darren Sproles, he’ll be replaced by 2013 undrafted free agent Khiry Robinson. Robinson showed his potential with limited touches this year, so I expect he’ll be important as the third back behind Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram. I expect Kenny Stills to be a favorite target for Drew Brees this year along with Marques Colston and TE (yes, he’s a tight end not a wide receiver) Jimmy Graham. This offense has the potential to be top five again, especially with Drew Brees at the helm. The Saints are known for their high powered offense, and Sean Peyton knows that and will take advantage of it.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
2013 stats: No. 4 in scoring (27.6 points per game), No. 2 in total offense (417.3 yards per game), 51 offensive touchdowns
Key Players: QB Nick Foles, RB LeSean McCoy, RB Darren Sproles, WR Jeremy Maclin, WR Riley Cooper, WR Jordan Matthews, TE Zach Ertz
Last year, Chip Kelly worked on implementing the lightning fast offense that worked so well for him at Oregon. After a successful year, it looks like year 2 of this blazing speed style is only going to get better. He enters his second year with an established system and no more questions at quarterback. For Kelly, Nick Foles proved that he’s THE guy. Along with a healthy Jeremy Maclin and rookie WR Jordan Matthews is a big target with great hands. Along with a great batch of wide receivers for Nick Foles to choose from, they also have one of the best running backs in the game in LeSean McCoy. Defenses are going to have a hard time keeping up with this speedy offense, and if they get a handle on Foles and the wideouts they’ll have to deal with McCoy and vice versa. And no matter what, they’re going to be gasping for breath at one of the fastest offenses the NFL has ever seen. Oh, and did I mention Darren Sproles has joined the squad too? This offense is SCARY.
1. Denver Broncos
2013 stats: No. 1 in scoring (37.9 points per game), No. 1 in total offense (457.3 yards per game), 71 offensive touchdowns.
Key Players: QB Peyton Manning, RB Montee Ball, WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Wes Welker, WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Cody Latimer, TE Julius Thomas
Okay, this one goes without saying. First off, Peyton Freaking Manning is coming off one of the best seasons in NFL history for a quarterback. This offense averaged almost 40 ppg last season and over 450 total yards per game. Despite this, the Seattle Seahawks defense made them look like a pop warner team (is Seattle the number 1 defense in the NFL this season? Make sure to keep an eye out for my top five defenses piece, coming soon. Hint hint…)
The team parted ways with Eric Decker this offseason, who signed with the Jets. But he’s been replaced with former Steeler Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer, the rookie from Indiana. Knowshon Moreno, the oft injured running back that led the rushing attack last season, is gone and replaced by Montee Ball. They lost key pieces in the offseason and replaced them with better pieces. I’d be shocked if the Broncos don’t come at least close to matching their output from last season, which is ridiculous in itself. This offense, simply speaking, is getting better. Defenses are going to be running scared from Peyton Freaking Manning and his gang.
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