Projecting the NFL’s top 10 offenses heading into 2021

Over the past 10 seasons, offense has taken over the NFL. Since 2010 we have 7 of the 10 scoring seasons of all time, with last season being the highest scoring season in NFL history. Offense is the name of the game, and I decided to take a look at the league’s best. Here are the top 10 offenses heading into the season.

10) Los Angeles Chargers

In 2020 the Chargers had the 18th ranked offense averaging 24.0 PPG (points per game). They did that with a rookie QB, the worst offensive line in football (according to PFF), and a head coach whose teams were in the top 10 scoring just once over his 4 years. The 2021 Chargers bring a new look to the team, Justin Hebert finished as Rookie of the Year and set records for most touchdowns by a Rookie quarterback. The team made major additions to the offensive line, adding former Packer Corey Linsley and drafting Rashawn Slater 10th overall, one of the best pass blockers in the draft. The Chargers also fired Anthony Lynn, a coach notorious for running an uninspiring offense.

With Lynn out of the picture, the Chargers brought in up-and-coming defensive coach Brandon Staley, along with former Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi to run the offense. Lombardi has spent 12 of the last 15 seasons with Drew Brees, one of the smartest quarterbacks in NFL history. Lombardi hopes to bring some of the things that made Brees a future Hall-of-Famer to Herbert. This team has some of the best weapons in the NFL with Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, combine that with an innovative offensive coordinator and a promising young quarterback. The Chargers will have one of the league’s top offenses and should have a chance at one of the wild card spots.

9) Los Angeles Rams

The team with the biggest splash in the offseason, the Los Angeles Rams traded for long-time Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford had been with the Lions since he was the team’s first pick in 2009. He has been a model of consistency with the team, always making plays for his receivers. The Rams traded for Stafford, expecting him to be the missing piece for a team lacking consistency from the Quarterback position.

The Rams have a plethora of playmakers, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are two of the most underappreciated receivers in football. Tyler Higbee has put up top 5 tight end numbers without Gerald Everett (who is now a Seattle Seahawk), and they have one of the better offensive lines in the league. This team has all the makings of a top offense. Combined with Sean McVay an offensive genius who has shown time and time again he can get the most out of his guys. If McVay made Jared Goff look like a future star for a season, he should be able to make magic with Stafford.

8) Tennessee Titans

The Titans made one of the biggest splashes in free agency trading for Julio Jones. Jones has been the best wide receiver in the NFL since he entered the league in 2010. The addition of Jones gives the Titans an incredible offensive core of Jones, AJ Brown, and Derrick Henry. With Jones in the mix, defense coordinators are going to have a hard time deciding between giving the secondary extra help or putting more players in the box to stop Henry.

Ryan Tannehill has quietly been one of the league’s most efficient quarterbacks since he escaped Adam Gase Hell. The Titans’ offense comes with some question marks, as they lost their second and third most targeted players in Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. The greatest loss comes from their coaching staff as offensive coordinator Arthur Smith became the Atlanta Falcons head coach. He was the mastermind of the offense and helped produce the best seasons of Henry and Tannehill’s careers. The team’s new co-coordinators were on the staff with Smith, they kept them in place to continue running the scheme that made the Titans offense so successful.

7) Cleveland Browns

Continuity is the theme for the Cleveland Browns this season. The Browns offense comes back with the same starters as last season and the same coaching staff. This is the first time in Baker Mayfield’s career he will have the same head coach for more than a season. With all signs pointing towards a top offense for the Browns.

Kevin Stefanski is a coaching star, who brings an innovative scheme. Baker Mayfield is coming off his most efficient season, thanks to the best offensive line in football. They have the best running back duo in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and they have loads of receiving weapons in Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, and more. Things are trending up for the Browns, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them higher on this list at the end of the season.

6) Buffalo Bills

The Bills were the 3rd highest-scoring team in the league last season, in 2019 they were 19th. Two factors contributed to the massive jump, the main reason being, Josh Allen got better. It sounds so simple but that is it. Allen got better in every aspect of his game. His decision-making got better, his accuracy improved, and his control at the line went to a new level. Allen was the 2nd best quarterback in the league last season, he took his game to a whole new level as well as the game of Stefon Diggs’. Diggs broke out last season and joined the NFL’s elite. His immediate connection with Allen took the league by storm.

Jump to 2021, the Bills bring their entire offense back. Their genius offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll is back in Buffalo, and the Bills are one of the league’s best offenses. I expect the Bills to put up plenty of points, with a slight regression from Josh Allen. While he has definitely taken the leap to the NFL’s elite, Allen’s game revolves around throwing more 50/50 balls than the average quarterback. This will lead to some crazy touchdowns but also more turnovers. The Bills run game will be the big story as they were not overly productive last season. Adding a more efficient ground game to the offense will take some of the rushing pressure off of Allen and keep him from taking big hits.

5) Seattle Seahawks

Over the first half of the season, The Seahawks averaged 34.0 PPG the highest mark of any team. Russell Wilson looked like the runaway MVP, and the Hawks were rolling in a pass-first offense. Then came Buffalo, in week nine Wilson threw 2 interceptions as the Seahawks were blown out by the Bills. A week later, more of the same as the Rams stout defense forced Wilson into 2 more interceptions and Seattle seemingly lost all its mojo. Head coach Pete Carroll saw these two games and decided to push Seattle back into a run-first offense. Carroll saw the turnovers and decided to take a risk-averse approach. Seattle averaged just 23 PPG over their last 8 games, and Wilson’s incredible start to the season was forgotten.

Fast forward to September 2021, and Seattle’s offense has a new look. The Seahawks brought in a new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron from the Sean McVay tree. Waldron comes from a Rams offense known for getting players open, using lots of motion, and manipulating the run game to set up the pass. The Waldron signing was music to the ears of Wilson, who has discussed his excitement for Waldron time and time again this offseason. Seattle also made some offensive additions, adding Raiders guard Gabe Jackson, one of the better guards of the last five years. Seattle signed former Rams tight end Gerald Everett, one of the best after the catch tight ends in football. Everett and Seahawks second-round draft pick Dwayne Eskridge both figure to be a part of the offense as both are at their best in space. With all the new additions there will be questions with this offense, but Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. As long as he plays for the Seahawks the offense will be dangerous.

4) Green Bay Packers

The highest-scoring team in 2020, The Packers were the talk of the offseason. About an hour before the NFL draft ESPN’s Adam Schefter released a report that MVP Aaron Rodgers was unhappy with the Packers organization. These headlines dominated the NFL over the next couple of weeks, but eventually, the Packers and Rodgers settled their differences (for now). Rodgers is back for 2021, and so are the Packers on this list. Rodgers and receiver DaVante Adams may be the best QB-WR duo in football, they have a mental connection like no other. Add in one of the best do it all running backs in Aaron Jones and a solid offensive line. The Packers are going to put up points.

Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur is one of the most innovative minds in football, his next task is to find a 2nd receiver for Rodgers to rely on. There is only so much Adams and Jones can do, it will take a breakout from one of the “other guys” to take this offense to a new level. If one of Robert Tonyan (who was fantastic last year), Marquez Valdes-Scantling, or Randall Cobb can take on a larger role, this offense can be even better than last season.

3) Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys historically started the 2020 season. Through the first 4 weeks, Prescott was on pace for 6,760 passing yards for the entire season. The current NFL record is 5,447. Prescott was looking to smash that before a horrific injury ended his season. The Cowboys hope Dak and offense can recreate the same record-breaking pace in 2021. Dak is one of the most underrated players in the league, and when healthy he is a top quarterback. His high IQ and understanding of the players around him make him a threat to any defense.

The Cowboys were riddled with injuries last season, besides Dak their offensive line was decimated. The Cowboys expect to have a healthier season, with Tyron Smith and La’El Collins at 100%. Zack Martin will start the season on the Covid list, but he is one of the league’s best guards and a key piece of this team. Dallas has some of the best skill players in the league from All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliot, to their three-headed receiving monster of CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. Each of these receivers brings a different skill set that compliments each other and puts pressure on the defense to focus more on the passing game. The Cowboys should have no problem throwing the ball, and I expect to be discussing CeeDee Lamb as one of the league’s elite by season’s end.

2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The defending champions pulled off one of the greatest offseasons in recent memory, by adding nobody? The Bucs managed to bring back all 22 starters, and somehow kept both of their coordinators. General Manager Jason Licht deserves all the credit in the world, he has built a juggernaut. Tampa has the most weapons of any team in the league. This team has 5 capable receivers, 3 good tight ends, and 3 complimentary running backs, it is ridiculous. They can attack any matchup they want and should be better with another full season of Tom Brady.

The focal point of the offense is their trio of stud receivers. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown are the best group of receivers in league history. It is almost unfair Brady gets to work with this group. The defending champs are set up for success and should be even better this season.

1) Kansas City Chiefs

If my favorite team is playing the Chiefs this season, I am terrified. Having one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time is a scary thought. Combine him with a Hall of Fame tight end, and the biggest mismatch in football. The Chiefs offense will break records in a 17 game season. Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill are the most terrifying thing in the NFL. They can beat you in so many different ways, not to mention 2nd year running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire who I expect big things from.

When the Chiefs lost in the Super Bowl, they had one glaring weakness. They could not protect Patrick Mahomes. So the Chiefs went out and turned that weakness into a strength, they shocked everyone in free agency signing Joe Thuney who ranked as PFF’s 3rd best guard in football. They traded for Orlando Brown Jr. PFF had him as the 17th best tackle. They signed Kyle Long out of retirement, drafted Creed Humphrey, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is back after working as a doctor during the pandemic. The offensive line is revamped and reloaded. The offense has no weaknesses, and Andy Reid is the best play-caller in all of football. Not to mention they somehow kept their offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who is more than deserving of a head coaching opportunity. The Chiefs prepared to destroy every defense in their path, and I expect them to make a statement in 2021.

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