My Top 5 NFL Offenses for 2020
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
The reigning Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs have the most explosive offense in the league and it only got better in the offseason. The Chiefs offense is truly unstoppable and can score with anybody as proven over the last two regular seasons and play-offs. The combination of head Coach Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes has proven to be game changing and has led to teams within their division look to bolster their offenses instead of defense as they have accepted, they cannot stop them on defense. Although Coach Reid’s offensive scheme and system plays a huge part in their success, the Chiefs have a plethora of weapons surrounding the best quarterback in the NFL as well as elite speed and elusiveness. Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman’s ability to stretch the field deep opens up the underneath and middle of the field for Kelce, Watkins and their running backs to feast. Sure, you can double Hill or Kelce but someone else will then be open and Mahomes will find them. Their ability to score efficiently and fast is what separates them from the rest of the league in my opinion.
The only knock on the Chiefs offense is clock management. Whilst usually they are so far ahead it’s not an issue, in tight games their inability to run the ball between the tackles late in games has proven to be a problem, but the addition of tough nose running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the draft could solve this problem.
The Baltimore Ravens have a perfectly built offense for their young superstar and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. Starting upfront they have an elite offensive line in both run and pass blocking scenarios allowing Jacksons incredible dual skill set to be perfectly utilised. Adding J.K. Dobbins to their backfield was a great pick up in the draft giving them added depth. Assuming ‘Hollywood’ Brown can stay healthy in 2020 the 2nd year receiver gives Baltimore’s offense a completely new dimension, his blazing speed forces defences to account for him over the top making the field less condensed leaving space to either run the ball between the tackles with Ingram and co or for Jackson to take off or find receivers such as Andrews, Boykin and Snead underneath. Overall, they have an incredibly efficient offense which has had no trouble steam rolling through the regular season.
However, the Ravens have failed to perform in the play-offs with this offense twice now which falls on the shoulders of Lamar Jackson. Because the team is built entirely round Jackson and his skill set, they are incredibly reliant on him performing as they don’t possess an elite receiver or running back. Therefore, if Jackson can overcome his play-off struggles, I could see the Ravens potentially de-throwning the chiefs.
In 2019, the Saints offense struggled with injuries and depth but still managed to finish with the 9th most yards per game in the NFL. So, heading into 2020 with a healthy Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Tre’Quan Smith along with the addition of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency the Saints offense looks formidable on paper. The Saints offense is elite at all position groups, up-front they have two of the NFL’s best tackles as well as a young star at centre, on the outside they finally have a legitimate number two receiver to play opposite Michael Thomas who broke the single season receiving record in 2019, under centre they have a future hall of famer as well as the most accurate quarterback in NFL history and in the backfield they have the best dual threat running back in the NFL behind Christian McCaffrey in Alvin Kamara as well as Latavius Murray who creates a top running back duo. Not only are they elite at every point on offense but they have a great offensive mind at head coach, all of which put them in very good stead to be an elite offense again in 2020.
Whilst on paper the Saints offense looks to be elite, they do have issues. Although Drew Brees is in my opinion the 4th best quarterback in the NFL he does have limitations, he is both immobile and aging which has shown in his arm strength later in the season and play-offs. Partnered with Brees’ historical accuracy and limitations the Saints offense lived and died in the short and mid-range in 2019, while hopefully the addition of Emmanuel Sanders makes the deep ball an unlocked element in the Saints offense if Brees’ arm strength can’t make the deep throws late in the year it’ll have no effect.
The Dallas Cowboys led the entire NFL in total yards per game in 2019, and in the offseason they only got better after stealing wide receiver Ceedee Lamb in the draft. The addition of Lamb gives Dallas three legitimate wide receivers which should complement their running philosophy perfectly as teams will not be able to stack the box against Zeke as it would leave receivers with huge amounts of space to run into. Although the Cowboys Pro Bowl centre Travis Frederick retired in the offseason leaving a hole in the offensive line, the Cowboys still have an elite O-line when healthy. The partnership of the O-line and running back Ezekiel Elliot has been a huge part of the Cowboys offensive success over the last 4 seasons and has shown no reason for us to believe they will slow down in 2020. In addition to the run game quarterback Dak Prescott unlocked a whole new aspect of the Cowboys’ offense in 2019 leading to a career year for him in which he threw for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns, further, given the signing of Ceedee Lamb you can only assume the passing offense will at the very least remain the same if not improve. Given these factors there is no reason in my opinion why the Cowboys cannot repeat their statistical offense success in 2019 in 2020.
However, whilst the stats imply the Cowboys had an elite year in 2019, they are full of empty calorie stats. Too often were the Cowboys playing from behind or beating up bad teams leading to distorted numbers for the offense. Further, health has proven to be an issue too many times on the offensive line so to assume the O-line will remain intact for the entire season is unwise, and while in previous years Zeke has made up for the short falls in the O-line, in 2019 he looked like he had lost a step in his quickness and home run speed, hopefully for Cowboys fans that was due to the previous offseason in which he held out and lost his game shape. Yet, despite all this probably the Cowboys biggest issue is that they don’t have level of quarterback the other 4 teams on this list do. Regardless the Cowboys offensive ceiling for 2020 is incredibly high.
In 2019, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 3rd in total yards and 1st in passing yards even with Jameis Winston under centre who had a total of 42 turnovers, 30 of which were interceptions. However, after winning the Tom Brady sweep stakes in free agency the Buccaneers offense will transform into a far more efficient and structured system as throughout his 18 years as a starter then most interceptions, he has thrown in a season is 14. So, at a worst Brady will less than halve the interceptions Winston threw in 2019. Although the centre piece of this new offense is Tom Brady, he is surrounded by great receivers. Both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are coming off Pro Bowl seasons and trading for Rob Gronkowski gives Tampa Bay a 3rd legitimate tight end alongside O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, which sits perfectly for Brady as he has thrown to tight-ends over and over throughout his time in New England. Not only is Brady surrounded by weapons, but Tampa’s offensive line is built from the inside out which favours Brady as usually when he moves in the pocket it is stepping up and climbing the pocket.
Despite having an elite passing game there is a glaringly obvious weakness at running back. In my opinion signing free agent running back Devonte Freeman to a one year prove it deal would be a great move as whilst Ronald Jones is talented, he has not shown the ability to be a number one running back in the NFL. The Buccaneers only other potentially weakness on offense is at right tackle with the Buccaneers addressed with the 13th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft selecting Tristan Wirfs. While Wirfs is a steal at 13th as he is potentially the best tackle in the draft, he is still only 21 and has zero NFL experience, so Brady could see some pressure from his right side. However, the most likely aspect that could hold Tampa Bay back is the shortened offseason due to the current circumstances in the world as Brady us unable to get in the reps with his receivers and create a rapport, which means early on in the 2020 season we may see Tampa’s offense get off to a slow start before reaching full steam. Additionally, as we have not actually seen Tampa in action I think it would be wrong to have them any higher than 5th.
Honourable mentions with a summary of why they didn’t make my Top 5
Despite proving to be an elite offense in 2019 the loss of Emmanuel Sanders to free agency and Deebo Samuel to injury means the 49ers lack experienced and reliable receiving threats. This is no indictment on the 49ers offense I just can’t see them repeating the same success in 2020 as they did in 2019 with a worse receiving core.
The Seahawks offensive philosophy is the driving factor that holds them back. They have at worst the 2nd best quarterback in the NFL who has a good case and is viewed by some as the best quarterback in NFL. Yet they still choose to run the ball and only revert back to Wilson when they are desperate, effectively acting as if he is a limited game manager. Additionally, their offensive line remains weak which could see their production limited
Atlanta has a plethora of weapons available to them including the best wide receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones as well as a top 10 quarterback throwing to them. However, their running game relies on Todd Gurley becoming the running back he once was, while personally I expect Gurley to have a big year it is by no means definite. But most importantly their offensive line needs to step up and their two 1st-round picks in 2019 need to develop into playable starters so that the Falcons can actually protect Matt Ryan.
The Vikings have considerable questions at receiver and offensive line. Trading Diggs for the pick that became Jefferson was a good cap move and potentially roster move in future years, but Jefferson cannot reproduce Diggs’ productivity in 2020. Additionally, while their offensive line has some nice developing pieces, overall it does not match up with the likes of the top five.
Tennessee has a great offensive line, young star receivers on the outside in A.J. Brown and Corey Davis as well as at tight end with Jonnu Smith. They also have an elite run game led by Derrick Henry, but their equalising factor is at quarterback in my opinion. Whilst Tannehill led them to an AFC Championship appearance in 2019 that was his first good season in 7 years as a starting quarterback which most his production was in my view piggybacked off Derrick Henry.