Last season, we saw a lot fire power coming from the offensive side of the ball. Teams like Dallas and Atlanta consistently outscored their opponents. They had two of the best offensive units in the NFL. We still have a while before the start of the 2017 season, but NFL teams are getting into OTA’s, meaning we’re one step closer. This left me thinking about which NFL teams will have the best offensive units in 2017.
I’ve chosen my top 5 offense’s based on how well balanced each team is on the offensive side of the ball. How well do they throw the ball? How well do they run the ball? Some could say a team like the New York Giants might have the best offense, especially now that they have Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall, but the Giants can’t run the ball. They’re too one dimensional. Keeping that in mind, let’s go through the list of top 5 NFL offense’s for 2017, starting with 5 and working our way down to number 1.
5. Atlanta Falcons
Anytime you have the reigning MVP as your QB, you’ll be thought of as one of the best offensive units. That didn’t treat Cam Newton so well after his MVP campaign, but Atlanta has offensive pieces Newton has never had. Matt Ryan has Julio Jones, who many consider to be the best WR in the game. Expect Ryan to be throwing the ball all over the field once again.
The running game in Atlanta might be overshadowed by how often you see Matt Ryan throwing a deep ball to Julio Jones. The Falcons ranked 5th in rushing yards per game last season. Devonta Freeman ran for over 1,000 yards, while Tevin Coleman run for over 500. Both had more than 8 TD’s.
Atlanta ranked in the top 5 in points (1st), total yards (2nd), passing yards (3rd), and rushing yards (5th). They’re very balanced on offense and can come at you multiple ways. The only reason I put them at number 5, is because their offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left to be the head coach of the 49ers. That’s no knock on new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, it just might take a while to get used to his system.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot dominated just about every team they played last season. Some think these two will have a sophomore slump, but I think they’ll only get better. The offensive line in Dallas is built for the running game. Dallas was second in the league in rushing yards per game last season. Ezekiel Elliot led the league in rushing in his rookie year. Zeke is a great young running back with a lot of miles left on him. I fully expect their running game to be in the top 5 once again.
Where Dallas has a lot of room to grow this year, is in the passing game. They ranked 23rd in passing yards per game a season ago. Part of that is the running game being so successful. Teams will do more to try and stop Elliot from making big plays on the ground, so Prescott might be asked to throw the ball a little more this year. Prescott and Dez Bryant developed some good chemistry in the second half of the season after Dez was back and healthy.
Prescott has all the weapons he needs to be a successful QB. Byrant, Witten, Beasley, Elliot, and the offensive line. They even gave him a new Cole Beasley like weapon in Ryan Switzer, who I think will make a big impact as a rookie. It’s already hard enough to cover just Cole Beasley. What will teams do when his clone it out on the field at the same time?
3. Oakland Raiders
Before Derek Carr broke his leg at the end of the regular season, I thought the Raiders were one of two teams who had a chance to beat the Patriots in the playoffs. Carr threw the ball all over the field to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. He’s got two consistent play makers at the receiver position.
I was surprised to learn that Oakland had the 6th most rushing yards per game last season. Much like the Falcons, the Raiders passing attack kept the running game on the down low. The Raiders rushing attack might be a little more noticeable this season. Enter Marshawn Lynch. Beast mode has come to Oakland. Lynch is a significant upgrade over Latavius Murray. Outside of his last season with Seattle, Lynch has ran for over 1,000 yards every season since 2011.
Lynch brings a whole new dynamic to the Raiders offense. Murray made his share of plays for the Raiders, but I don’t think he put fear into the opposing defense. Lynch will force to teams to game plan for him. If they stop the pass, beast mode will run right down their throats. If they stop the run, Carr will have a field day passing to Cooper and Crabtree.
2. New England Patriots
How can you not put the Patriots in the top 5 offense’s? Anytime you’ve got Tom Brady running the offense, it’s going to put up points. Brady has done it consistently throughout his entire career, most of the time without an elite WR. Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell are all players who consistently make plays for the Patriots. Now throw in former Saints WR Brandin Cooks and a healthy Rob Gronkowski. They’ve got too many guys to cover.
Where some might be concerned, is the Patriots running game. LeGarrette Blount ran for over 1,000 yards and 18 TD’s a year ago. How will they replace his production? The Patriots know how to get production out of just about anyone. They signed former Bills running back Mike Gillislee, who led the league in rush yards per attempt last season. Add him to a backfield that already has proven weapons Dion Lewis and James White.
Unless there really is a Madden curse, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense will be just fine. They’ll dominate teams much like they last year, the year before that, and the year before that.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers had a little scare this offseason when Ben Roethlisberger said he was considering retirement. Everyone in Pittsburgh is resting easy again after his decision to come back. It also puts them in the number 1 spot for top offense. We all know what Roethlisberger can do as a QB. He led the Steelers to the 5th ranked passing offense a season ago.
Let’s not forget about who Roethlisberger is throwing the ball to. Antonio Brown is one of, if not the best receiver in the game. He’s had at least 100 receptions, 1,000+ receiving yards, and 8+ TD’s in the past 4 seasons. Brown is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. The Steelers were without their second best receiver in Martavis Bryant last year, but now he’s back from suspension. In his last season playing, Bryant had close to 800 receiving yards. He forces the defense to pay attention to him, leaving Antonio Brown in more single coverage. Eli Rogers is a good play maker in the 3rd receiver spot, and don’t forget about the Steelers adding JuJu Smith-Schuster in the draft. He’ll be another nice weapon for Roethlisberger.
Now to the run game. If Le’Veon Bell is healthy, you’re either going to have to have the best defense in the league, or just be really lucky to stop this offense. Bell can do everything you want from a running back. If you want him to run outside, he’ll run outside. If you want him to run inside, he’ll run inside. If you want to line him up as a receiver, he’ll go beat his man and catch the ball. The problem for Bell has been staying on the field, but if he’s there, this offense will be close to unstoppable.