The general philosophy of an NFL offense has changed course several times over the years. Teams used to run two-man backfield sets almost exclusively, and that has given way to a more pass-heavy game, which features much more receivers on the field in stock formations. Our point is that the NFL is a juggernaut for high-flying offenses right now, and the 2017 season may end up being the most entertaining season yet, in that regard.
There are some truly marquee offenses in the league right now, and then there are some that are absolutely abysmal. That's usually the case with every NFL season, except for the fact that we could see some middling offenses break out into top-tier ones this season, and really hit their stride. With such a mix of veteran and young quarterbacks playing alongside dynamic skill players, it's an exciting time to be watching the league, and seeing which teams are able to take the next step, and start putting points on the board with the very best the game has to offer.
Let's take a look at which teams are going to thrive on the offensive side of the ball this year, and which ones will crash and burn.
Ranked below is every NFL team's offense heading into the 2017 season, from worst to best.
32 New York Jets
This isn't going to be a pretty season for the Jets. They had an outright terrible offensive season last year, and now that they've gotten rid of most of their starting roster and committed to a rebuild, things are going to get ugly. The starting quarterback job likely goes to journeyman Josh McCown, with unproven youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg also in the mix. None of them exactly scream "wins."
Elsewhere, we find Matt Forte at running back, who is well past his prime, and far less effective than he once was. The receiving corps is heavily lacking after getting rid of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Rookie ArDarius Stewart figures to be the best player at the position. That's not saying much.
All in all, this Jets offense is going to be painful to watch this season, but such is the nature of a rebuild, especially in its first year.
31 Cleveland Browns
There's reason to believe that the Browns are on a better trajectory than they were a few years ago, but that doesn't mean that they've figured out the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback, as always with them, is the biggest question mark, and they still haven't found the answer. Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, rookie DeShone Kizer and Brock Osweiler are all on the roster, and none of them are the long-term option. Knowing Cleveland's tendencies, you can bet that more than one of them will start a game in 2017.
Kenny Britt was signed to bolster the receiving corps, and while it's a fair stopgap option, it's not going to make great strides in improving the passing game. Isaiah Crowell is a so-so running back, and the ageless Joe Thomas is back for yet another season at left tackle. None of this adds up to a productive offense.
Until the Browns find a true franchise quarterback, they'll be near the bottom of the league.
30 San Francisco 49ers
No doubt that the 49ers should be improved with new head coach Kyle Shanahan at the helm, but it's going to take a year or so to really get going. The team is going into the season with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, and he's the definition of a stopgap options. With Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin added to the receiving corps, the position is improved but still isn't strong enough to beat good secondaries on a regular basis.
All in all, running back Carlos Hyde is probably the best player on the offense going by sheer talent level, but he's also injury-prone and inconsistent at times.
While the 49ers offense will take great strides in proceeding seasons, they'll have to eat it for 2017, while they try to get their sea legs in Shanahan's scheme.
29 Los Angeles Rams
The Rams really have a "boom or bust" kind of offense for this season. The entire operation hinges on 2nd-year quarterback, and former 1st-overall pick Jared Goff to step up and take the next step. Todd Gurley can only take so much pressure off of him in the running game, and Goff needs to show why there was such an investment placed on him.
The receivers he'll be throwing to are...OK. Robert Woods was acquired in free agency (read: overpaid for in free agency), and Tavon Austin is still there, alongside rookie Cooper Kupp and 2nd-year man Pharaoh Cooper. It's not the most inspiring group, but it has potential to be productive.
This is a situation where first-year head coach Sean McVay is going to have to do a lot to get the Rams into good offensive standing. It's not likely to happen in 2017 however.
28 Chicago Bears
What an offseason it was for the Bears regarding the quarterback position. After inking former Jameis Winston-backup Mike Glennon to a multi-year deal, they traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky, who has his fair share of question marks as a future franchise quarterback. Glennon will start the season for sure, but will likely be on a short leash. Multiple quarterbacks options is a good thing, even if neither are an established NFL starter.
Running back Jordan Howard was a pleasant surprise last season, and easily the best player on the offense as a whole. The receiving corps however, is a mashup of aging veteran receivers with little rhyme or reason for the combination; Victor Cruz, Reuben Randle, Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton are alongside former 1st-round pick Kevin White. The position is oversaturated, and lacking an identity that was provided by Alshon Jeffery, who left in free agency.
The Bears need to run Howard behind a decent run-blocking line, and hope for the best. That strategy likely has a short shelf life.
27 New York Giants
One would think that an offense that has the services of elite receiver Odell Beckham Jr. would be a respectable one, if not a juggernaut. That's not what happened last year though, and the Giants have some serious problems. An absolutely putrid offensive line has not been addressed whatsoever in the offseason. The running back situation is equally as bleak, adding only Wayne Gallman to the mix, who was a 4th round pick out of Clemson.
Eli Manning isn't getting any younger, and it's becoming less and less likely that he'll be able to buck the trend of a bad offense. The Giants had one of the worst offenses in the league last season, and they've done very little in regards to changing that. Their running game is going to be a detriment all season long.
They have to hope that a quality receiving corps of newcomer Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, and the aforementioned Beckham can burn defenses on a regular basis, and overcome the lack of a running game and decent pass protection.
26 Jacksonville Jaguars
The jury is still out on Blake Bortles being a true franchise quarterback, and the Jaguars are almost out of time to buy for him. He has a quality receiving corps, led by the likes of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and should be able to put up a good season if he has any long-term ability at all. The passing game needs to take a huge step forward in 2017, after being underwhelming last year.
By far the biggest addition to the offense is rookie 1st round selection, running back Leonard Fournette out of LSU. Many are bullish on Fournette's ability to translate his game to the next level, and his skill set could change the entire course of the Jaguars' offense. He'll join solid complimentary options T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory in the backfield this year.
Jacksonville has potential to improve, but they'll have to show more consistency than they have in recent years.
25 Houston Texans
Any time a team has a rookie quarterback starting for them, there are going to be inevitable growing pains. That will be the case for the Texans, as DeShaun Watson will likely be thrown right into the fire at the team's starter. It's true that the team has some high quality skill players, but how far can they carry the offense with a rookie quarterback?
Lamar Miller should get his usual heavy workload out of the backfield, but the receivers remain a question mark. Will Fuller had a solid start to last season before regressing late in the year, DeAndre Hopkins had a down year all together, and Braxton Miller has shown nothing more than gadget-piece abilities. It's not an inept position for the Texans, but it's also not a surefire bet with rookie Watson under center.
Expect the elite Houston defense to carry the team in 2017.
24 Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings went all-in on the running back position this offseason, adding free agent Latavius Murray, and drafting Dalvin Cook in the 2nd round. They should provide a formidable 1-2 punch in the backfield, and allow the Vikings to have a run-first operation this year. Though the offensive line struggled last season and will likely do so this season, these are dynamic options that have the potential to overcome that.
The passing game is where things really could get ugly. Sam Bradford is one of the most risk-averse quarterbacks in the league, and his high completion percentage is not indicative of his quality as a player. With Bradford still under center, the Vikings will need to get early leads, and leave it up to the defense to win the game. This average receiving corps is led by Stefon Diggs, and the mere hope that former 1st round pick Laquon Treadwell's utter lack of productivity last season was just an anomaly.
Minnesota needs to run the ball and hope for the best.
23 Buffalo Bills
Now that Buffalo has finally rid itself of all-time bozo Rex Ryan at head coach, they may actually have a chance this season on the offensive side of the ball. The pieces are certainly in place to make some noise. Receiver Sammy Watkins is one of the best in the game when he's healthy, and likewise for running back LeSean McCoy. These are two elite skill players that can carry the bulk of the load if needed.
Tyrod Taylor is back as the starting quarterback, and he'll continue to defy the odds, and turn in solid performances all season long. The real issue stems from the lack of depth at most of the offensive positions. Jonathan Williams, Corey Brown, rookie Zay Jones and Andre Holmes are not the greatest backup plan. Charles Clay is an average tight end.
The Bills have a chance to be a solid offense is McCoy and Watkins stay healthy, and can inflict most of the damage on defenses.
22 Kansas City Chiefs
Though some will think the exact opposite, the biggest asset to the Chiefs' offense is Andy Reid and his play calling. Other than a good offensive line, receiving tight end Travis Kelce, and 2nd-year all-around dynamic player Tyreek Hill, there's little to be excited about here. The word is out on Kelce and Hill, and opposing defenses will key in on them for the whole game.
The team cut Jeremy Maclin, who was far and away their best receiver, with only Chris Conley as a logical replacement. That's not going to replicate the expected production. Quarterback Alex Smith is still risk-averse and average, and won't be able to throw open the majority of receivers on the team. Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and rookie Kareem Hunt make up an unspectacular, but potential solid backfield.
The real strength to the Chiefs lies on their defense. They could struggle to move the ball this year, and will have to rely on other aspects of their team to win games.
21 Denver Broncos
The Broncos may still be working out their quarterback situation, but either Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian could see success with what is a solid offensive core around them. It all starts with the receivers, as Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are a top 1-2 punch in the passing game. Either quarterback option could succeed with such talent at the top of the depth chart.
The running game will include the services of C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker, all of whom provide a quality mix of skill sets, and could really prove lethal if the passing the game is on. The offensive line is middling, but the backfield rotation has enough talent to make up for it.
The ultimate question for Denver is just how much can the selected quarterback between Siemian and Lynch elevate the offense. If skill players are forced to carry the load for the entire time, good defenses will take advantage of that.
20 Arizona Cardinals
Time is ticking for the Cardinals offense, as Carson Palmer is getting only and slowly regressing as the starting quarterback. Ditto for Larry Fitzgerald. How much time do these two cornerstones of Arizona's offense have left to be productive? That's likely the biggest question on head coach Bruce Arians' mind this offseason.
The saving grace could be the presence of stud running back David Johnson, who proved himself to be one of the best young players in the game last season. Johnson is a workhorse out of the backfield who can also excel in the passing game. Jermaine Gresham was very solid in the tight end spot, and John Brown is a burner who can take the top off of a defense. The offensive line can get the job done when needed.
For the Cardinals, it really comes down to how Palmer and Fitzgerald hold up for another season. If they pour their efforts into a final curtain call, then this could be a dangerous offense. That has to be proven though.
19 Cincinnati Bengals
Despite a disappointing 2016 campaign, the Bengals have retained most of their surefire offensive weapons, and added a few more. Andy Dalton remains under center, and while he has trouble in big games, he's still a veteran quarterback who has the arm to make quality throws. He'll be able to continue to make those throws to elite receiver A.J. Green, 2nd year receiver Tyler Boyd, 4.2-40-running speedster John Ross, and receiving tight end Tyler Eifert all season long.
The backfield has added Joe Mixon alongside Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, which forms a nice mesh of different skill sets. They should be able to compliment the passing attack nicely.
But the entire thing hinges on Dalton's ability to elevate them. This is a good offense on paper, that could end up struggling because of Dalton's own inconsistencies. For the Bengals this year, it's really a toss-up.
18 Miami Dolphins
Jay Ajayi was a revelation last year for Miami, but can he keep up the same kind of production this year? That's the most important factor to the Dolphins' offense this year. They need a compliment to their effective passing game, and Ajayi is the one running back on the roster who stands a chance at making it happen.
At this point, Ryan Tannehill is what he is as a starting quarterback. While he is aided by some really nice receiving talent in DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, he still isn't going to post the numbers of a Brees or Brady. He needs help from other areas, and will depend on the offensive line and Ajayi to get it done in the running game.
The Dolphins have a chance to be a really good offense, but if they become one-dimensional, they won't have the variety necessary to be truly elite.
17 Washington Redskins
At this point in the Jay Gruden era, two things are certain about the Redskins' offense; they like to throw the ball, and they can't run the ball. Luckily for them, even though they lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to free agency this year, their passing game personnel still looks on the up-and-up. Jamison Crowder is one of the best slot receivers in football, Terrelle Pryor was a nice acquisition for the outside spot, and Josh Doctston was a 1st round pick who has a chance to rebound after struggling with injuries last season.
Their downfall could be the running game, although they tried to address this with the selection of Oklahoma product Samaje Perine in the 4th round of the draft this year. Other backfield options include the underwhelming Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley.
If Kirk Cousins can put up the numbers he has for the last couple of seasons, then Washington will have a potent offense just because of how much Gruden relies on throwing the football.
16 Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco is back yet again as the starting quarterback, and luckily for him, he has a few solid receiving targets waiting for him after the departure of Steve Smith. Mike Wallace returns, and he's a quality deep threat. Add on to that the recent signing of Jeremy Maclin, and the Ravens' passing game is looking to be in good shape. Tight end Crockett Gillmore is no slouch either.
Running backs Lorenzo Taliaferro, Buck Allen and Terrance West may not be the most imposing bunch, but they're going to be running behind a very good line, and will ultimately be able to move the chains, even if it comes by way of committee. Danny Woodhead was also added in free agency to catch passes out of the backfield.
The Ravens will have a solid, but unspectacular offense, to allow their defense to win games. The floor for this offense is very high, but the ceiling is relatively low.
15 Philadelphia Eagles
Though the receiving corps was terrible for the Eagles last season, Carson Wentz was able to prove why he was selected with the 2nd overall pick. He certainly faced his struggles at times, but passed the eye test with flying colors. That receiving situation has only gotten far better this year, as Philly added the elite Alshon Jeffery in free agency, along with veteran Torrey Smith. They join Jordan Matthews in the slot, to form what should be a very good receiving corps.
The offensive line has All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson back, after missing most of last season with a PED suspension. His presence alone makes the offensive line much better this time around, and they could peak at one of the top lines in the league. The addition of bruising running back LeGarrette Blount only helps matters.
The Eagles could eventually turn out to be one of the league's top offenses, but with Wentz only in his 2nd year, they'll finish in the middle of the pack, which is still a big improvement from last season.
14 Detroit Lions
Matt Stafford always has a big arm, and he's going to be put up his usual statistics, which will show him to be one of the more impressive quarterbacks in the league. His primary pass-catchers are still going to be Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Eric Ebron which will be enough to get the job done with Stafford's ability.
Free agent acquisition Ricky Wagner is a major upgrade at right tackle, and should help to anchor the offensive line. They'll need this to happen, because Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner won't be able to do it all by themselves.
Ultimately, the Lions should have an offense that falls into the top half of the league. They have a good line, and a borderline elite quarterback, which should be able to overcome any detriments to the other position groups on the team.
13 Tennessee Titans
Don't look now, but the Titans are becoming a scary team, and fast. Their offense is led by one of the absolute best offensive lines in the league today, and they run the ball with authority every chance they get. DeMarco Murray will likely get the majority of the carries, but 2nd-year man Derrick Henry will be incorporated more into the gameplan this year. They're a run-first team who will excel in that regard.
The passing game is a bit more questionably, but there's no doubt that Tennessee made great strides in improving personnel. Eric Deck and 1st-round pick Corey Davis join Tajae Sharpe and Richard Matthews on the receiving corps, which looks a lot better than it did last year. If Marcus Mariota can continue to develop, this could be peak out at a top-10 offense overall.
More than likely, it will fall just short, but there's reason for optimism in Tennessee, to be sure.
12 Seattle Seahawks
The offensive line needs to protect Russell Wilson with more consistency, but this is a very good offense all the same, and it's undoubtedly anchored by Wilson. His passing ability makes otherwise mediocre receivers such as Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson potential contributors to the offense. The receiving corps is led by Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse however, with Jimmy Graham putting in work from the tight end spot.
The Seahawks have also established a solid crop of running backs, and it should form one of the league's better rotational backfields. Thomas Rawls and C.J. Procise both looked great in limited action last year, and Alex Collins is a solid RB3 that they can work in the mix. Veteran Eddie Lacy is also present after being signed in free agency, but he'll have to earn his spot on the roster.
Seattle has a balanced attack, and if the line can prevent itself from being absolutely horrible, they'll definitely put points on the board.
11 Los Angeles Chargers
Despite a down year last season, the Chargers have one of the more talented offensive rosters in the league; when they're healthy. If Keenan Allen can buck the injury trend that he's faced recently, he and rookie Mike Williams should form an excellent 1-2 punch at receiver. Travis Benjamin rounds out the group as a solid third option, and the ageless Antonio Gates is still holding down the tight end position. With Philip Rivers throwing the ball, they'll be one of the best passing offenses in the league.
Melvin Gordon got back on track after a dismal rookie season in 2015, and he'll be the bell-cow runner out of the backfield for the Chargers. New head coach Anthony Lynn is adept at forming a running offense, so he's the perfect fit for this roster which needs a well-balanced attack.
If the line can hold up enough to establish a viable running attack, this is going to be a scary group for opposing defenses.
10 Green Bay Packers
It's a different season, but it will be the same old Aaron Rodgers. His presence alone makes every Packers' offense in the upper-tier of the league, and he can get it done with just about any group of personnel. Thankfully, he'll have some talent to worm with. Jordy Nelson returns as the team's best receiver. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb round out a solid corps. New tight end Martellus Bennett should prove to be a major factor as well, coming off a Super Bowl-winning season with the Patriots.
The running game is a bit more questionable, as Green Bay was using receiver Ty Montgomery as their staple running back last year. Rookie Jamaal Williams is a bruser who should find himself getting he bulk of he carries by mid-season. This group is helped by the fact that they have an elite quarterback in Rodgers throwing the ball.
The Packers' offense will be very good, as per usual.
9 Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton should be able to bounce back after a down year last season. That alone will get the Panthers back into good offensive standing, and that's to say nothing of their skill players. Greg Olsen is still one of the best tight ends in the league, and Kelvin Benjamin may finally have the breakout season at receiver that everyone is expecting.
Newcomers in the backfield Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel are shifty and great pass-catchers. They can be lined up anywhere on the field, and really create havoc for opposing defenses. Jonathan Stewart will return as the bruising running back when needed for a heavy workload.
All in all, Carolina is going to prove that 2015 wasn't an anomaly, at least on offense. They have a ton of talent, and will make noise early and often.
8 Indianapolis Colts
The entire operation hinges on Andrew Luck, but the Colts have done well to provide him with some solid weapons. T.Y. Hilton is one of the league's better receivers, and Donte Moncrief is sure-handed as well. The offensive line is questionable, but it's better than it was a few years ago.
Frank Gore is going to get a lot of carries this year, but rookie Marlon Mack will be in the mix as well, along with Robert Turbin. The running game has the potential to be good, or it could be really bad depending on the level of run-blocking that is exhibited the shaky line.
But Luck is really the main factor here. With a full, healthy season to his name, he should have successful re-estbalished himself as one of the league's top quarterbacks. He has a huge arm, and is able to put points on the board quickly.
7 New Orleans Saints
A lot of work was done to bolster the New Orleans backfield this offseason. The acquisitions of Adrian Peterson and rookie Alvin Kamara alongside Mark Ingram make this one of the best units in the league. The Saints will have no problem establishing a ground-game which only make Drew Brees' job easier under center.
The receiving corps is also stacked, even with the loss of Brandin Cooks. Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, Brandon Coleman and speedster Ted Ginn will be an elite group with Brees throwing to them. A good running game will enable Brees to air it out, and rack up some big gains.
The Saints will be a top-10 offensive unit, like they usually are.
6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No team in the league has improved their offense as quickly as the Bucs did over the past few years. Jameis Winston is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game, and now he has a plethora of weapons at his disposal. DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, Mike Evans and O.J. Howard round out a corps of receivers (the rookie Howard being a tight end), that have the ability to beat most defenses.
Though injury-prone last year, Doug Martin still has plenty of ability. If he goes down yet again, it will be up to Jacquizz Rogers and Charles Sims to pick up the slack. The passing offense should be good enough that the running back corps can take a hit, and still be effective.
Truly, the Bucs are looking at a breakout season this year, if all goes according to plan. They should be able to throw the ball with any team in the league.
5 Dallas Cowboys
Both Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott were revelations as rookies last year, and they helped Dallas launch itself to a 13-win season. Everything has remained intact for this season. The offensive line is still a juggernaut, Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley return as dangerous receivers and Jason Witten is back yet again at tight end.
There's very little weakness to this roster, and if Prescott and Elliott can prove that their rookie seasons weren't flukes, then the Cowboys are going to have a dominant offense yet again. They'll face a tougher schedule this season, but will likely be able to overcome it. One of the safest bets in the league.
Only injuries, or an unexpected Elliott/Prescott regression is going to prevent Dallas from having one of the league's best.
4 Pittsburgh Steelers
It's probably going to be the last hurrah for Ben Roethlisberger, but what a hurrah it's going to be. The receiving corps alone is going to give defensive coordinators nightmares. You've got perhaps the best receiver in the game, Antonio Brown, on top of Eli Rogers, the returning Martavis Bryant, burner Sammie Coates and rookie Ju Ju-Smith Schuster, and they will run roughshod over most secondaries in the league.
Then there's Le'Veon Bell, who is undeniable one of the best runners in the game. The Steelers line got the job done all of last season, and Bell could end up having his best season yet on the ground. The combination of his ability in the backfield, along with the passing game, makes this Steelers offense almost unbeatable against most of the teams in the league.
Roethlisberger is going to get another shot at a title, and he may have an offense capable of getting him there.
3 New England Patriots
Tom Brady is on autopilot as an elite quarterback. He's going to put up massive numbers as always, and the Patriots will yet again go on a deep playoff run because of his efforts. His targets for this season haven't changed, and they've actually added Brandin Cooks, who is one of the best young receivers in the game.
If Rob Gronkowski can stay healthy, this could be the best offense the Pats have had since the days of Randy Moss. There's just weapons all over the field, and Brady, despite his age, has shown no signs of regression yet.
Though many are going to hate it, it's best to prepare yourselves for another dominant Patriots season in 2017.
2 Atlanta Falcons
What a year it was for Atlanta last season. They found their offense finally come to fruition in it's best form, and they rode it all the way to a Super Bowl appearance. There's little that has changed with this group, so they're likely in line to have another monster year.
Matt Ryan is the franchise quarterback, coming off his best season. He still has the elite Julio Jones, and budding speedster Taylor Gabriel to throw to, on top of possession man Mohammed Sanu. Jones might be the best receiver in football, and his all-encompassing skill set opens the door for everyone else.
The Falcons have a pair of great running backs in Devonta Freemen and Tevin Coleman, and they're running behind one of the best lines in the league. They mix and match perfectly, and both can catch passes out of the backfield.
Simply, this is still one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Their offense should be amazing this year, but they fall just short of the top spot.
1 Oakland Raiders
This is going to be the absolute best offense in the league. The Raiders came into their own last year, and dominated just about every defense they played against. The offense runs through Derek Carr, but he has a lot of help, in what is one of the best personnel groups out there.
The offensive line is a real candidate to be the best in the league this year. It runs five players deep, and there is no weakness to be seen. Whether it's providing elite pass protection for Carr to make astonishing throws, or road-grading for the returning Marshawn Lynch, every defensive line in the league it at a mismatch here.
Amari Cooper is one of the best young receivers in the sport, coming off of a pair of 1,000 yard seasons to start his career. Michael Crabtree as a result, is one of the best WR2s in the game. Seth Roberts is a good depth option, and DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard can catch passes out of the backfield.
With Carr likely to take the next step even further, and become one of the game's truly elite quarterbacks, there's no stopping the Raiders in 2017. They only have a few more years left in Oakland, but have a chance to give their fans one last Super Bowl before it's all over.
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