Projecting the most explosive NFL offenses, from first to worst

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NFL offenses have never been more exciting, with more points and explosive plays seemingly every year. As of May, these are the best offenses in the league heading into the 2021 season from 1-32.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

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Patrick Mahomes continues to be the best quarterback on planet Earth, sporting an incredible 37-8 regular-season record with three AFC Championship appearances and two Super Bowl appearances in his three years as the Chiefs starter. He has the help of offensive mastermind Andy Reid, along with arguably the best wide receiver ( Tyreek Hill) and best tight end (Travis Kelce) in the league. The front office revamped the offensive line in the offseason, which should help versatile running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire find holes and also keep Mahomes upright. The offensive consistency is staggering over the last three years, with the Chiefs ranking top six in points and yards each season.

 

Dallas Cowboys

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The Cowboys finished sixth in points scored in 2019 and were well on their way to another great season last year until Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury. The offensive line has taken its lumps in recent seasons, but it’s difficult to find better weapons. Dallas employs three elite wideouts with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, and Ezekiel Elliott is still one of the most durable backs in the game. The team certainly has a chance to rank No. 1 in points this season, and it might be needed with a defense that was terrible last season.

 

Buffalo Bills

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Josh Allen became an elite quarterback seemingly overnight with the help of a mechanical adjustment and the addition of Stefon Diggs. He goes into 2021 as a legitimate MVP candidate after throwing for more than 4,500 yards and 37 touchdowns last season, and Buffalo’s strong offensive line remains intact. The team’s youthful weapons are also promising around Allen, with the young running back duo of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, along with second-year wide receiver Gabriel Davis. Slot receiver Cole Beasley has also been a consistent outlet for Allen over the last two seasons.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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What a difference a Hall of Fame quarterback makes. Tom Brady had some early hiccups in Tampa Bay, but the Bucs offense finished the season elite with Brady and all of his incredible weapons. Tampa Bay’s receivers can stack up with any team in the league, bringing back Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski, along with No. 1 wideout Mike Evans. The team was also happy with the development of Ronald Jones in 2020 and signed a proven third-down back in Giovani Bernard.

 

Green Bay Packers

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Assuming Aaron Rodgers plays in Green Bay this season, the Packers should remain one of the league’s top offenses. They saw the ascent of Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan last season and were able to keep Aaron Jones despite his free agency. Davante Adams continues to be one of the top wideouts in the league with the help of Rodgers’ elite play, and the offense was far more explosive in head coach Matt LaFleur’s second season, finishing first in points and fifth in yards.

 

Baltimore Ravens

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The Ravens offense was a revelation in 2019, Lamar Jackson’s breakout campaign, ranking tops in points scored. Jackson and the rest of the offense saw some regression last year, and the offensive line has taken some hits. They hope that passing offense will take a jump with the addition of first-round pick Rashod Bateman, and the running game remains in good hands with the one-two punch of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, along with Jackson.

 

Seattle Seahawks

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The Seahawks offense has evolved recently, but they’ve ranked top nine in points over the last three seasons, regardless. They saw the benefits of passing last year, and the improved talent on the offensive line this offseason should serve Russell Wilson and company well. It remains to be seen what direction new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron will take the offense, but he has plenty of talent to work with, as D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have developed into one of the elite wideout duos in the league, and Chris Carson remains highly productive in the backfield.

 

Tennessee Titans

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The Titans were not only one of the most balanced offenses in the league last year but also one of the best. The team already had star power with Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown, with Ryan Tannehill doing a fine job as a game manager in his 1.5 yards as the starter. And now, they’ve added Julio Jones to the mix. Of course, Tennessee’s losses are somewhat of a concern, including Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

 

Los Angeles Rams

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The Rams offense has been in decline over the last two seasons with the decline of Jared Goff and non-spectacular running back play, but the upside now looks through the roof after LA traded for Matthew Stafford. He’s capable of elite production with head coach Sean McVay, and has good weapons with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and running back Cam Akers. The Rams have needed to go cheap on the interior of their offensive line to make up for their high-priced players, but hopefully, that won’t come back to haunt them.

 

Minnesota Vikings

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Over Kirk Cousins’ three seasons in Minnesota, the Vikings offense has ranked 19th, eighth, and 11th in points. He’s solidified the quarterback position, though has done so without elite stats. The team addressed a dire need on the offensive line in this year’s draft, which should only help stars Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson. Tight end Irv Smith replaces Kyle Rudolph as the No. 1 tight end and has some big shoes to fill.

 

Atlanta Falcons

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The Falcons had an offseason coaching change with offensive-minded head coach Arthur Smith, and have also improved Matt Ryan’s weapons. Tight end Kyle Pitts could be a generational talent, and Mike Davis is an under-the-radar improvement over Todd Gurley at running back. Julio Jones is gone but Calvin Ridley is still around, the Falcons should be prepared to put up a lot of points and get back on track after they finished 16th in points last season.

 

Cleveland Browns

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Cleveland seems to have made the right coaching hire with Kevin Stefanski, judging by his first season. The team ranked 14th in points scored, which was actually their best output since 2007. Baker Mayfield’s improvement was a big part, but the one-two running back punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt also put defenses on their heels. The return of Odell Beckham from injury should be significant, with Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and speedy third-round pick Anthony Schwartz making for a solid receiver group. Tight ends Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant also show strength at that position, and the offensive line performed at an elite level last year.

 

Las Vegas Raiders

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Derek Carr is coming off arguably his best season, and yet the Raiders still only ranked 10th in points scored during 2020. They’ve invested heavily in the draft with early draft picks like Josh Jacobs, Henry Ruggs, and Bryan Edwards, but the offensive line is in flux with new players on the right side. Tight end Darren Waller is the team’s most consistent receiving performer, but the team needs more from Henry Ruggs with the departure of Nelson Agholor.

 

Arizona Cardinals

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Arizona has an exciting, developing offense under head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray. They ranked 13th in points and sixth in yards in the second season for the duo, with superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins joining the team. Well, the team will lose future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, they’ve replaced him with A.J. Green and second-round pick Rondale Moore. The offensive line also got a boost with center Rodney Hudson, and the running backs should be just fine with the combo of Chase Edmonds and James Conner.

 

San Francisco 49ers

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Kyle Shanahan is an offensive mastermind who produced elite offense in 2019 despite less than elite talent, but the offense has scuffled in two of the last three seasons when Jimmy Garoppolo has been injured. They hope that first-round pick Trey Lance can bring more consistency, though he might not play much this season. Better health from George Kittle and Deebo Samuel would make a huge difference, and the offensive line talent remains elite. Shanahan’s ability to scheme running plays is perhaps his greatest strength, and the team still has a backfield of interesting skillsets led by Raheem Mostert and rookie Trey Sermon.

 

Indianapolis Colts

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The Colts went from 16th in 2019 to ninth in points scored last season with Philip Rivers under center, and hope to continue that momentum with new quarterback Carson Wentz. He will have to reverse the disturbing trend of his development in Philly, and in order to do so, will need continued development from young wideouts Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell. The Colts were able to bring back T.Y. Hilton, and have Marlon Mack returning from injury to solidify a strong backfield alongside Jonathan Taylor. The offensive line is solidified with Eric Fisher replacing long-time left tackle Anthony Castonzo.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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Quarterback has been an issue in Pittsburgh over the last two seasons, with Ben Roethlisberger missing most of 2019 and struggling for part of 2020, finishing with a poor 6.3 yards per attempt. He could be entering his final season, and the Steelers have improved his weapons by drafting running back Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freiermuth. The wideouts remain as good as any in the league, led by Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Now the offensive line is the biggest question mark with multiple losses and multiple new starters.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

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If you’re looking to buy stock in an up-and-coming offense, the Chargers seem like a great buy. That’s mostly because of Justin Herbert’s potential, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year after throwing for over 4,300 yards and 31 touchdowns. The offensive line looks elite after adding Corey Linsley and Rashawn Slater, and Jared Cook is capable of offsetting the loss of tight end Hunter Henry. Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are productive, and Austin Ekeler is one of the most versatile backs in the game.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

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Not many teams have more high upside talent at the skill positions than Cincy. Joe Burrow looked solid before his knee injury last season, and the team added first-round wideout Ja’Marr Chase to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Joe Mixon remains a potential star at running back, as well. The big issue has been the offensive line over the last several years, and that remains the case despite new right tackle Riley Reiff.

 

New Orleans Saints

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Drew Brees has been the heart and soul of New Orleans’ offense since he joined the team in 2006, so things will appear very different for the team with either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill under center this season. Still, head coach Sean Payton has shown he can make the offense work with anyone, and there remain elite weapons with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. After losing Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook, the Saints will have to find new complementary pieces, which could cause some offensive regression, along with the quarterback situation.

 

New York Giants

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Daniel Jones’ third season is a make-or-break year for him, but the Giants have surrounded him with an embarrassment of riches. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay was the headliner, but the team also added Kyle Rudolph and Kadarius Toney. Saquon Barkley’s return from injury will certainly help, and the team still has Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram on the roster. Ultimately, the team needs more consistency and better ball security from Jones, and they’re a sleeper if they get it.

 

Miami Dolphins

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Tua Tagovailoa struggled when he played in his rookie season, but the team did a lot to make his life easier. Adding Will Fuller and first-round pick Jaylen Waddle to DeVante Parker gives the Dolphins potentially elite wideouts, and the offensive line is loaded with young talent. Tight end Mike Gesicki has become a strong receiving option, and Myles Gaskin held his own in a breakout 2020 season at running back. There is big upside if Tagovailoa can show development.

 

Carolina Panthers

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Sam Darnold never developed with the Jets, but the Panthers apparently believe he could be their answer at quarterback. The offense ranked only 24th in points with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback last season, though Christian McCaffrey’s injury issues also played a big role in the struggles. The team has lost utilityman Curtis Samuel in free agency, but hope second-round pick Terrace Marshall can offset that loss. Wideouts D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson remain explosive threats, and the offensive line has strong talent.

 

New England Patriots

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Life after Tom Brady didn’t go well for the Pats last season, though it’s unclear if quarterback could have found success with the lack of offensive talent. The team spent big money upgrading the receivers, including Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith. Cam Newton was brought back but should be challenged by rookie Mac Jones. The running back depth remains excellent with Damien Harris, Sony Michel, and James White. The new faces could make this a work in progress, but improvement is expected after finishing 27th in points last year.

 

Washington Football Team

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Washington’s offense was near the bottom of the league last year with a quarterback merry-go-round but hope to have more consistency with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s erratic but has proven he can make big plays and will get that chance with Terry McLaurin and new receiver Curtis Samuel. The team has done a nice job developing tight end Logan Thomas, and the running back room has a lot of versatility with Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, and Peyton Barber.

 

Denver Broncos

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The Broncos have been rumored to be a top candidate to acquired Aaron Rodgers. Assuming they’re unable to add him, the quarterback position remains a major question mark. Drew Lock has played poorly in his first two seasons, and newcomer Teddy Bridgewater is just a game manager. The team does have a lot of talent around the quarterbacks, with good wideouts in Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and K.J. Hamler, a talented tight end in Noah Fant, and a potential one-two running back punch with Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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It’s difficult to know what to expect from Jacksonville with new head coach Urban Meyer and new quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawerence does have interesting young talent around him, including D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, James Robinson, and Travis Etienne, and veteran wideout Marvin Jones also gives the team a proven deep threat. The offensive line play will need to improve over its recent performance for the team to reach its 2021 potential.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

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The Eagles’ defense looks very different than it did last season, going all-in on 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts after a falling out with Carson Wentz. Better health from the offensive line would go a long way in making him successful, and he has a chance to grow with young wideouts, Jalen Reagor and DeVonta Smith. Dallas Goedert has become one of the league’s best Red Zone tight ends, and Zach Ertz remains on the roster for now. The running back room is deep behind explosive Miles Sanders, with Boston Scott, Kerryon Johnson, Kenneth Gainwell, and Jordan Howard.

 

Chicago Bears

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The Bears made a bold move in the draft by trading up for Justin Fields, as the team hopes to finally find its long-term answer at quarterback after Mitchell Trubisky’s failure. The offensive line has had some issues recently, as well, but second-round pick Teven Jenkins is a potential fix at tackle. David Montgomery showed as a consistent starter in his second season, and Allen Robinson remains an elite receiving option. The team also had a nice find with fifth-round pick Darnell Mooney last year. The unit is likely to suffer hiccups in 2021 with a rookie under center, but there’s at least reason for optimism.

 

New York Jets

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The offseason pattern is all too familiar with Jets fans with another redo on offense. Rookie Zach Wilson is the new quarterback after Sam Darnold’s failures, and the team added Corey Davis and rookie Elijah Moore to help him. The offensive line has great young talent with Mekhi Becton and rookie Alijah Vera-Tucker, but the team should be prepared for rookie mistakes from Wilson and company.

 

Detroit Lions

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The trade of Matthew Stafford and a lack of free agency spending indicates that the Lions could be playing for the future. The team lost top wideouts, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, giving new quarterback Jared Goff limited support. He does have a good offensive line that just added first-round pick Penei Sewell, and tight end T.J. Hockenson is a promising talent. The backfield also has promising back D’Andre Swift, who is hoping for better health in his second season.

 

Houston Texans

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Houston’s offense could be a real mess with Deshaun Watson sits out 2021 due to his off-field issues. Tyrod Taylor looks like the starter, and the team’s offseason moves with the additions of Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay indicate they will go run-heavy this season. They join capable back David Johnson, and the offensive line does have talent. There should be some concern at wideout beyond Brandin Cooks, as Randall Cobb struggled last season and the team lost Will Fuller in free agency.



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