Ranking playoff offenses from Atlanta Falcons to Houston Texans
Now that we have almost moved on from the quarterback-deficiency portion of the NFL playoffs, most of the remaining teams in the playoffs are strong on offense (or at the least capable).
Most of the eight teams remaining can win the Super Bowl based on their offensive firepower. It’s a deep group. Here’s a look at them in order, starting with the best:
- Atlanta: There is a reason why Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is so sought after as a head coach candidate. His unit is top notch. This is a powerful group. The Falcons scored at least 30 points in 11 of their 16 games. They scored at least 33 points in their last 4 games and in 5 of their last 6 games. Their lowest point total in that stretch is 28 points. Their 33.8 points-per -game average is the highest in the NFL. It all starts with quarterback Matt Ryan, who is a leading candidate to be the NFL MVP. Receiver Julio Jones had 1,409 yards receiving and running back Devonta Freeman added 1,079 yards on the ground. The Falcons are a handful offensively.
- Pittsburgh: The Steelers showed they are the most varied offense remaining the AFC playoffs. Assuming quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s ankle injury is not serious (which he says is the case), the Steelers can kill a defense in the air or on the ground. They proved that against Miami in the wild-card round. Roethlisberger hit receiver Antonio Brown for two long touchdown passes (50 and 62) and running back Le’Veon Bell took an all-run drive to the house. The three-headed monster of Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell is frightening, and it’s enough to give the Steelers their seventh Super Bowl ring.
- Dallas: The Dak and Zeke show has been special. The two rookies are the reason why the Cowboys went 13-3 and are the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Ezekiel Elliott ran for an NFL-high 1,631 yards. Dak Prescott was one of the more efficient passers in the NFL. Prescott completed 67.8 percent of his passes. He threw 23 touchdown passes and was intercepted just four times. Prescott ha a solid group of receivers, led by Dez Bryant, and tight end Jason Witten still knows how to get open. The Cowboys have all the answers on offense.
- New England: This is the Tom Brady show and that means greatness. New England is the favorite to win the Super Bowl and the offense is a big reason why. This could easily become the best offense in the postseason. Brady is still a brilliant quarterback at 39. And don’t expect him to decline in the postseason. He has a load of weapons. None may not stand out, but players such as Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennett and LeGarrette Blount could all be postseason heroes, along with the baddest man in the whole dang tournament, Mr. Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.
- Green Bay: The fact that the Packers are No. 5 on this list shows is how good this group of offenses is in the playoffs. Green Bay could easily be the No. 2 group, and yes, it can win the Super Bowl based on its offensive play in the next few weeks. We saw how powerful this offense was when it pinned 38 points on a terrific New York Giants defense. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as anyone. He has thrown 22 touchdowns since the game in which he last threw an interception. Yes, receiver Jordy Nelson is very questionable to play again this season with a rib injury. But Randall Cobb had 3 touchdown receptions against the Giants and tight end Jared Cook is playing well. This is offense is not as varied as some, but it is powerful and mighty dangerous.
- Seattle: There is a step down after the top 5. I don’t think the Seahawks can win the Super Bowl without their offense being the driving force. But I do think the Seahawks have enough to win on offense, and the Seattle offense is far from a determent. Seattle looked very good on offense against Detroit last week. Quarterback Russell Wilson looked sharp, running back Thomas Rawls ran for 161 yards and receiver Doug Baldwin had a big-time game. If Rawls can establish the same dominance against the Falcons, the Seahawks have a chance to win the game by controlling the clock and keeping the best offense in the playoffs off the field.
- Kansas City: The Chiefs don’t have a sexy offense. But this is a unit that has an underrated personality. Yes, quarterback Alex Smith is a game manager, but he is super-efficient and he isn’t going to make mistakes. So call him what you want. Travis Kelce is the best tight end left playing and Tyreek Hill is a matchup nightmare. Receiver Jeremy Maclin is getting healthy, too. If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, and they can, it won’t be because of the offense. But this offense won’t get in the way as much as you may think.
- Houston: The fun is over, folks. This is, by far, the worst offense left in the playoffs. Quarterback Brock Osweiler did OK in the playoff win over the Oakland Raiders. But he wasn’t asked to do much. Running back Lamar Miller is solid. But this is just a below-average offense that likely won’t be able to help its elite defense enough in New England on Saturday night.