Offense and scoring is a big reason why fans show up for NFL games on Sunday. Which units could reign supreme in 2014?
#5 – Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford is out of excuses to help the Detroit Lions win. He has a superstar for go-to receiver in Calvin Johnson, a proven running back in Reggie Bush, a solid offensive line to protect him and now two new weapons in free agent receiver Golden Tate and rookie tight end Eric Ebron. If Stafford doesn’t succeed with that cast put around him, it will be more an indictment on him than anything else.
#4 – New Orleans Saints
It all about trusting the machine that Sean Payton has kept well-oiled for years. Drew Brees is still the king for the New Orleans Saints and he has a fresh cast of young stars emerging around him. He of course has Jimmy Graham at tight end, but now there is speedy Kenny Stills on the outside and the dynamic Brandin Cooks whom they took in the 1st round of the NFL draft. Throw in the reliable Marques Colston and promising running back Khyri Robinson and the Saints should keep marching.
#3 – Chicago Bears
One thing will become clear for defenders when they play the Chicago Bears. They will have to crank their necks to look up a lot. Chicago has diligently constructed the biggest receiving corps in the NFL. Brandon Marshall stands 6’4″ while fellow Pro Bowler Alshon Jeffery is 6’3″. Able tight end Martellus Bennett is 6’6″ and newcomer to the group, Marquess Wilson is 6’3″ as well. Throw in star running back Matt Forte who is 6’2″, that is a lot of height to deal with. As this group, led by the experienced and talented Jay Cutler enters its 2nd year in the same offensive system for the first time since 2011, expectations should be and are high.
#2 – Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning is still under center, so that alone is reason enough to favor the Denver Broncos considering the offensive masterpiece they put together in 2013. They have key bodies returning up front such as Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady. However, it will be interesting to see how they adjust to the loss of receiver Eric Decker. The signing of Emmanuel Sanders and drafting of Cody Latimer bears watching in that scenario. Also it is important to note Manning is turning 38-years old and his team is coming off a bad thumping in the Super Bowl. Those are some difficult things to get over.
#1 – Philadelphia Eagles
Chip Kelly was as advertised last season. He proved to be every bit the offensive wizard he was in college and there is little reason to doubt the Philadelphia Eagles again this NFL season. They have a stout offensive line that paves the way for reigning rushing champion LeSean McCoy. In his first season as primary starter, quarterback Nick Foles exploded for 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions. The team has an emerging talent at tight end in Zach Ertz, a returning veteran in Jeremy Maclin and an under-the-radar rookie receiver in Jordan Matthews. If Year 1 under Kelly was that good, what will happen when players have a better grasp of scheme in Year 2?