Defenses win NFL championships. That has been the prevailing thought among coaches and football administrators for several years. NFL coaches always seem obsessed with running the ball and having a game manager under center. When matched with an elite defense, you have the blueprint for a Super Bowl champion.
The reality is that this has not been the case for the past several years. With a focus on protecting the quarterback, both from the league and team level, the NFL has turned into an offensive sport. Think about the impact Joe Burrow and J'Marr Chase had on turning the Cincinnati Bengals around. Or the development of Josh Allen into the premier dual-threat quarterback in the NFL. Of course, the NFL's move to become more offensive-minded goes hand-in-hand with the partnership between Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
Heading into the 2022 season, the race to become the best offensive team in the league is wide open. For the past several years, the Kansas City Chiefs were, by far, the most explosive offense in the NFL, but with Tyreek Hill now on the Miami Dolphins, there are some questions as to whether Mahomes and company can continue that trend.
Here are the top 10 NFL offenses heading into the 2022 NFL season.
1) Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are number one because there does not seem to be a way to stop them. The MVP-like leap that Josh Allen took last season launched him into another stratosphere of quarterbacks. His showdown with Patrick Mahomes in last year's playoffs proved that, when the Bills were down, he would be able to lead them as close to victory as anyone could come. Allen is not alone, though. The Bills replaced Cole Beasley with Jamison Crowder and underrated rookie Khalil Shakir, while Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis remain one of the best one-two punches in the NFL. If all else fails, tight end Dawson Knox is an excellent security blanket. Perhaps, the most significant addition to the team is rookie running back James Cook, an excellent pass catcher who will push Devin Singletary for the starting job by midseason.
2) Cincinnati Bengals
From college national champions to Super Bowl runner-ups, the Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase combination took the NFL by storm in 2021. There is no reason to think this feared combination won't continue to get better as the years come. The Bengals reinforced their offensive line this offseason by adding veterans La'el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras. It's not only the Burrow/Chase show in Cincinnati, as running back Joe Mixon is one of the most underrated in the NFL, while Tee Higgens, Tyler Boyd, and Hayden Hurst are all valuable assets to the Bengals.
3) Los Angeles Chargers
If everyone on the Chargers remains healthy through the 2022 NFL season, they could easily finish number one on this list. Justin Herbert is one of the best players in the NFL, and his star continues to rise. Last season, Herbert threw for over 5,000 yards and almost 40 touchdowns. There's no reason to believe those stats won't be repeated in 2022. Wide receivers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Josh Palmer are an excellent unit, but none of them stand out as true difference makers. A real magnet for the Chargers offense is running back Austin Ekeler, who can do anything for Los Angeles. The Chargers significantly improved their line last year and continued with rookie Zion Johnson, who should be a starter at guard on day one.
4) Kansas City Chiefs
Something tells me that, when the season is over, this unit will be higher. It seems insulting to put a team with Patrick Mahomes as the starting quarterback, not in the top three, but there are too many questions after the Tyreek Hill trade. The Patrick Mahomes/Travis Kelce duo is still one of the biggest threats in the NFL, and the Chiefs added JuJu Smith Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and rookie Skyy Moore to the receiving corps to try to replace Hill. I don't think Mecole Hardman will ever live up to what the Chiefs expect, but he remains a speed threat. One of the more exciting offseason acquisitions was the signing of Ronald Jones. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has failed to live up to his first-round draft position, and Jones never got a clear shot to be the number one running back in Tampa Bay.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady is back, and that is all you need to know about the potential of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense heading into 2022. The greatest to ever play his position in the NFL is not just a quarterback but a coach on the field. His relationship with wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is flawless, but heading into 2022, free agent signing Russell Gage might be the Buccaneers' X-factor. The 26-year-old could be set for a breakout season after racking up over 700 pass catching yards last season with a terrible Atlanta Falcons team. The most underrated part of the Buccaneers offense is the impact Leonard Fournette brings to the running and passing game. But as always, keeping Brady happy and healthy is key, and bringing in guard Shaq Mason from the New England Patriots is a step in the right direction.
6) Los Angeles Rams
As long as head coach Sean McVay is in Los Angeles, the Rams will always have a top offense. The defending champions bring back many of the key elements of their offense, including quarterback Matthew Stafford and Super Bowl MVP Copper Kupp. Odell Beckham Jr's future in the NFL is still unknown, but the Rams didn't wait for his next step, by signing former Chicago Bear Allen Robinson. Coming off a down year, Robinson should be able to recapture his former glory now that he's away from the Bears offense. Cam Akers is healthy and will be a focal point of the offense. The biggest question heading into the 2022 season will be the offensive line. Future Hall of Famer Andrew Whitworth has retired, and if Joe Noteboom can't fill in permantely, the Rams might be in trouble.
7) Las Vegas Raiders
This might be a little high for the Raiders, but when you add the best wide receiver in the NFL to an offense, the potential for big points is there. Davante Adams' shocking acquisition gives Derek Carr the best target of his career. Adding Adams to a receiving corps that already features the steady Hunter Renfrow and All-Pro tight end Darren Waller will give defenses plenty to worry about. Running back Josh Jacobs has always been a solid player but has never lived up to his billing. The Raiders added Kenyan Drake and rookie Zamir White to add much-needed competition. Perhaps the Raiders' best move was bringing in Josh McDaniels as head coach. McDaniels seems to have learned from his past and has always been able to maximize his offense.
8) Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are still the favorites in the NFC North, but there is no doubt that they are not the same team without Davante Adams. When plays broke down, it was the Aaron Rodgers/Davante Adams connection that would come through in the clutch. Rookie Christian Watson and veteran Sammy Watkins will do their best to replace Adams, though that is asking a lot. The Packers are hoping that Allen Lazard can step up and take his game to another level, while they will still rely heavily on Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to provide both a running game and catch the ball. As always, it will come down to Rodgers and his ability to lead the offense.
9) Miami Dolphins
Have you seen the Dolphins offensive roster? There's an argument to be made that his unit should be higher on the list, and if quarterback Tua Tagovailoa can find any of his college form, look out for Miami. With Tyreek Hill now aboard, him teaming with Jaylen Waddle will give defensive coordinators nightmares. The team is relatively thin at wideout, but tight end Mike Gesicki proved he can be counted on. With new head coach Mike McDaniel running the show, you can expect the running game to get a boost. The Dolphins brought in Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, which is a definite upgrade from last year. Paving the way for them is an offensive line that has added one of the most elite linemen in the NFL, Terron Armstead. If he's healthy, he will give Tua and company the extra boost they'll need to compete in the AFC.
10) Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys should be contenders in the NFC East, and if they plan on representing the conference in the Superbowl, Dak Prescott will have to lead them there. Prescott is caught somewhere between elite and above average, but for the Cowboys offense to reach its full potential, he's going to have to be much more consistent. Ezekiel Elliot is on the downswing of his career but still showed he can be a top running back when needed. It will be interesting to see if back-up running back Tony Pollard gets more carries in 2022. While Amari Cooper is no longer on the team, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is poised to take the next step in his career. 2022 should be a big year for Dalton Schultz, who, at 25, could take the leap into the premier tier of pass-catching tight ends.