The new wave of the NFL is to throw the ball all over the field and hope to hold teams down to a small enough number of points to win games. Some of the best teams in the league have had some tremendous offenses over the course of the last few years, and it’s not a shock that every team that averaged at least 27 points per game last season had a winning ATS record. Join us here at Bang the Book as we look at the Top 10 offenses coming into the 2013 season that could prove to be winning teams this year.
1: Denver Broncos – Simply put, this offense is going to be flat out awesome. Yes, the squad’s leading rusher from last season, RB Willis McGahee was released, but odds have it, he wasn’t going to be the featured back in the offense anyway. RB Montee Ball, RB Ronnie Hillman, and RB Knowshon Moreno will likely be asked to carry the load this season. What really makes this offense go though, is the passing game. In a season in which he was coming off of a neck injury that cost him a season, QB Peyton Manning threw for 4,659 yards and 37 TDs, and he led his team to just short of 400 yards per game. Now, Manning is back, and he has WR Eric Decker and WR Demaryius Thomas back as well. Now throw into the mix WR Wes Welker, and the team might be unstoppable. Look for all three to end up with at least 1,000 receiving yards this year if they all stay healthy. We’d be shocked if the Broncos didn’t lead the league in scoring in 2013.
2: New Orleans Saints – The Saints averaged 410.9 yards and 28.8 points per game last year, and you probably wouldn’t think about it, but they ended up going 8-8 ATS. Last season, New Orleans failed to cover its first three games, and from that point on, it was a great club from a betting standpoint. QB Drew Brees still doesn’t have much of a running game, but he has WR Marques Colston, WR Lance Moore, TE Jimmy Graham, and RB Darren Sproles to work with. Brees will throw for 5,000+ yards and 40+ TDs once again this year, and he should have a great offense at his disposal. This is the best unit in the NFC this season.
3: Green Bay Packers – QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 39 TDs against just eight picks last season, and considering the fact that he didn’t have a single rusher account for more than 464 yards, things went pretty well. Green Bay averaged 27.1 points per game in 2012. RB Johnathan Franklin and RB Eddie Lacy, two of the top collegiate rushers from last year are on the team now, and we expect good things out of WR Randall Cobb now that he has cemented himself as a tremendous slot option. WR Greg Jennings is gone, but this is still a team that is spoiled with riches. WR James Jones, WR Jordy Nelson, and TE Jermichael Finley are all solid receiving options as well. The Green Bay offensive line is also vastly underrated and underappreciated.
4: Atlanta Falcons – It’s a contract year for QB Matt Ryan, and there is a good chance that he could have a similar year to what QB Joe Flacco had last season for the Ravens. The difference is that Matty Ice is going to be asked to throw the ball all over the place. TE Tony Gonzalez decided to come back for one more season, and the combination of him, WR Roddy White, and WR Julio Jones still might be the most lethal in all of football. RB Steven Jackson and RB Jacquizz Rodgers will lead the backfield. Jackson is at the end of his career, but he has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in eight straight seasons. Atlanta averaged 26.2 points per game last season, and it is probably going to do better than that this coming season.
5: Houston Texans – The Texans had a great offense over the course of the last several weeks of the season, but when they were hot, they were as good as any team in the league. RB Arian Foster is one of the most talented backs in the league, and WR Andre Johnson finally has a great complement on the opposite side of the field in WR DeAndre Hopkins. WR Keshawn Martin, WR DeVier Posey, and WR Lestar Jean could all be in for decent years as well. The team is missing a second tight end, but TE Owen Daniels could be one of the best receiving tight end options in football. The key is whether QB Matt Schaub, who threw for 4,008 yards and 22 TDs last season, can put together an elite year or not.
6: New England Patriots – Think that the Patriots are a little low at No. 6? There’s a good chance that we’re going to be wrong about this. New England averaged 34.8 points per game last season, but the chinks in the armor are starting to show. QB Tom Brady is theoretically going to be great regardless of who he is throwing the ball to, but with TE Rob Gronkowski coming off of three offseason surgeries, WR Wes Welker now being in Denver, and TE Aaron Hernandez likely starring for the Massachusetts State Penitentiary team for quite some time, there is a real question as to how effective the Brady Bunch will be. We do believe that New England will be good regardless and will figure out how to piece an offense together, but 24.8 points per game is a lot more likely than 34.8 points per game.
7: San Francisco 49ers – The Niners aren’t going to score the same amount of points as some of these teams that we listed above, but they are going to be incredibly effective. QB Colin Kaepernick will have the entire offseason to prepare as the top quarterback for the team, and he has a new weapon in WR Anquan Boldin to throw the ball to. WR Michael Crabtree is out for at least the first several weeks of the season, but by the time he gets back, this offense should be in full throttle. The 49ers averaged 24.8 points per game last season, but most importantly, they averaged 5.97 yards per play. Only the Patriots and the Redskins averaged more in the NFL.
8: New York Giants – The Giants don’t have all that much in the way of a running game this year on paper, knowing that RB David Wilson and RB Andre Brown are going to be asked to carry the load. What will really make this offense go though, is the fact that QB Eli Manning, WR Victor Cruz, and WR Hakeem Nicks are all back together once again. Manning had a bit of a down year by his own rights, accounting for just 3,948 yards and 26 scores. However, with Nicks hopefully healthy for a full 16 games and the emergence of WR Domenik Hixon, there is a real chance that Manning could really do a ton of damage this season.
9: Detroit Lions – QB Matthew Stafford has played like a No. 1 pick over the course of the last few seasons, and he is going to be under the gun once again this year. Adding RB Reggie Bush to the team is going to help out dramatically for a rushing attack that averaged just 100.8 yards per game on the ground last season. Bush will also help out in the passing game as well as a receiver out of the backfield, and that’s going to help loosen things up on the outside for WR Calvin Johnson as well. Megatron might end up putting together a remarkable season once again this year. Getting to 2,000 yards is a very distinct possibility.
10: Indianapolis Colts – Last season, the Colts were a young outfit that featured just a slew of rookies. The end result was a healthy 362.4 yards per game. Indy probably got a bit unlucky by only averaging 22.3 points per game, and that is inevitably going to improve quite a bit this year. QB Andrew Luck was picked off 18 times last year, and he only completed 54.1 percent of his passes. This year, he’ll probably do a heck of a lot better on both accounts. Throwing for 4,374 yards and 23 TDs as a rookie is remarkable, but doing so with a ragtag group of running backs and receivers is even more impressive. RB Vick Ballard could be in for a 1,000-yard season now that he is appearing to take over the starting role for the team in the backfield, and we expect big things out of second year men WR TY Hilton, TE Dwayne Allen, and TE Coby Fleener as well.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.