Everyone loves a good offense. Big plays get peoples attention and put a team in a position to win. Be honest, what would you rather see? A 6-3 defensive “in the trenches” battle or a 56-49 shootout between two high powered, stellar offenses? Sites like BleacherReport and ESPN have released their NFL preseason power rankings. I agree with them for the most part, but with a few minor changes. What do you think?
5. San Francisco 49ers
Do San Fran’s hopes and dreams rest on Kaep’s tattooed shoulders? (photo credit: csmonitor.com)
I think the Niners are going to have a fantastic, high flying offense this year. That being said, they barely made my top 5. I think Colin Kaepernick is going to be a big star that’s going to shine even brighter than he did last year with help from key offensive pieces Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin, and Vernon Davis. I think the loss of Michael Crabtree to start the season will hurt them a bit, but I think what’s going to slow down their offense the most is their schedule. They have two tough games apiece against division rivals Seattle and St. Louis as well as matchups against Houston and Green Bay. As bright as this offense is, there are a few really tough defenses coming to try and stomp them out in 2013.
Do I still think San Francisco is one of the best offenses in the league?
Do I think they’re going to have an easy time this season in keeping that title?
Not a chance. They’re going to have to fight especially without Michael Crabtree to catch passes for at least the beginning of the season. AJ Jenkins might be a dark horse to keep your eye on as a guy to carry the load if he plays up to his potential.
Pretty much, the Niners are going to be a fun offense to watch in 2013 despite defensive challenges heading their way.
4. Houston Texans
Another big year for Arian Foster on the way? Or will injuries slow him down?
(photo credit: CBSSports.com)
The Houston Texans have been making a name for themselves for the last few years with a crushing defense and a hit-em-in-the-mouth offense led by QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster, and WR Andre Johnson. With the addition of WR DeAndre Hopkins, the pressure on Johnson and Foster will be a bit less. But at the same time, I believe this puts the pressure on QB Matt Schaub. He now has two of the most elite weapons in the game in Johnson and Foster and a potential third in Hopkins, there’s no reason that with that many weapons Schaub shouldn’t look like an absolute beast under center, especially with one of the best offensive lines in the league. If their core players can stay healthy, the rest of the NFL has a big reason to worry about these guys.
It just may be time for Houston to break through and contend not just for a playoff spot, but for a spot in the big dance in February.
3. New Orleans Saints
Can the Saints and their high velocity offense re-take the NFC South?
(photo credit: nflpassers.com
Drew Brees is a quarterback who’s in the same conversation with guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. Not just that they’re among the absolute best passers in the league, but because they make everyone around them look better with their sheer talent. The same way that Tom Brady can take a nobody and turn them into a somebody, Drew Brees does in New Orleans. Brees brings out the full potential of guys like Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham and Lance Moore and makes that offense electric. Along with Colston and Moore on the outside and Graham making waves at TE, Mark Ingram is the starting running back and Darren Sproles is right on his heels with something to prove. In an NFC South with notoriously soft defenses (except maybe Tampa with what they hope is a 100% Darrelle Revis), Drew Brees lights up the air with finesse and makes the entire offense look monumentally better in the process. New Orleans has to be a favorite to compete for the NFC South or at least a wild card birth.
Peyton under center makes ANY offense dangerous (photo credit: broncotalk.net)
The Broncos offense is looking even better than last year, and that’s saying something. Peyton Manning has weapons out the wazzoo to throw to. WR Wes Welker joins WRs Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in a passing game that was great last year, but has the potential to be downright unstoppable this year. Along with their passing game comes a running game where three players are competing, and all of them have potential to be great. Knowshon Moreno has fit nicely into the position after now-former Bronco Willis McGahee went down with an injury in week 11, but the job is also being fought over by fellow RBs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. Hillman has been getting a lot of first team reps at camp and has a chance to enter the season as the starter and split carries with either Moreno or Ball. Montee Ball comes to Denver after breaking several NCAA rushing records while at Wisconsin, so expectations are high for him too. Overall, I can describe Denver’s offense in 2013 with one word
1A. Atlanta Falcons
Are the 2013 Falcons one of the teams to beat in the NFC?
(Photo Credit: Bleacherreport.com)
Yep, I said it. 1…A. There are two offenses in the NFL that I can’t even bring myself to separate into best and second best. But more on that later.
The Atlanta Falcons have an opportunity to dominate offensively this year. Last year, they had one of the best offenses in the league and now they have a chance to improve that. Along with a great core passing game with newly extended QB Matt Ryan having weapons in WRs Roddy White, Julio Jones (who, mark my words, is going to be one of the most dangerous wideouts in the league this year) and TE Tony Gonzalez, the team also added a stud running back in Steven Jackson. I know what you might be thinking. By NFL standards, Jackson is old. He’s washed up. A 30 year old running back? A stud? Yep. The Falcons will definitely be a pass-first team, and that opens doors for Jackson, who will see a vast improvement from his last few seasons with St. Louis.
Matty Ice is ready to show the NFL what he’s made of. The Falcons and this stellar offense are headed for big things. After last years playoff letdown, Matt Ryan and company are going to want to prove that they’re truly an elite offense and this just may be the year.
1B.Green Bay Packers
Can Green Bay make it back to the promised land?
(photo credit: pitch.com)
I honestly can’t separate these two teams at the top. I think they both have all the necessary tools to be a #1 offense in the league. Green Bay used the draft to improve a glaring weakness on offense at running back. They drafted Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin who should make their presence known quickly come September and beyond. When I said that other teams had QB’s that were surrounded with weapons, they pale in comparison to what Green Bay has. WRs Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb are some of Aaron Rodger’s favorite targets, but I think there’s one player in particular that’s going to be huge this year. I think this is the year that TE Jermichael Finley absolutely blows everyone else out of the water. Rodgers lost two of his favorite targets in Donald Driver (retirement) and Greg Jennings (Minnesota), but it’s a testament to how good this team’s offense is when you can lose two guys like that and still have one of the deepest WR corps in the league.
This many great talents surrounding one of the best, if not THE best QB in the league? How can you not rank them #1?
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is dangerous in so many ways. If this team could get some weapons around him, they’d have a great offense. Unfortunately, when your best weapons are Johnathan Stewart (who isn’t bad, but has injury concerns) and Steve Smith (who’s definitely getting up there in age) you’re not putting a good QB in a position to win games.
New England Patriots: Usually a top 5 time not used to having their offense criticized, the Pats saw their offensive weapons drop off the face of the earth this offseason. Rob Gronkowski is injured. Wes Welker is a Bronco now. Aaron Hernandez is in jail. Expect the team to focus a bit more on running the ball with Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen taking most of the carries and newcomer LeGarrette Blount seeing some action too. But never forget, this is Tom Brady’s offense. He can make his wideouts look like gold the same way Brees, Rodgers, and Manning can. I fully expect at some point this season that some poor team is going to underestimate Tom Terrific and he’s going to torch them. He’s not done yet, folks.
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SK Main Site Guest Writer Tad Johnson