The Dallas Cowboys remain in the top spot in PFF's 2021 NFL offense rankings despite an ugly no-show against Denver in Week 9. Having started the season No. 1 overall and dropped down only to second after seven weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs have finally slipped away from the very best offenses in the league despite busting their slump this week against the Raiders. While they are still incredibly prolific, they are evidently more fragile than in recent seasons, and Patrick Mahomes is not playing to his usual standard.
Elsewhere, the middle of the pack has some interesting teams on the move in different directions. Mac Jones has the New England Patriots' offense on the rise, while a Seattle Seahawks team minus a healthy Russell Wilson isn’t the same force.
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|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0.072||1||-0.063||7||0.135||6|
|Los Angeles Rams||0.070||3||-0.190||28||0.221||1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||0.065||4||-0.177||27||0.169||4|
|Los Angeles Chargers||0.050||6||-0.087||10||0.116||8|
|Green Bay Packers||0.046||8||-0.079||9||0.127||7|
|San Francisco 49ers||0.004||12||-0.137||18||0.108||9|
|New England Patriots||-0.001||16||-0.098||12||0.070||16|
|Las Vegas Raiders||-0.020||17||-0.256||30||0.099||11|
|New Orleans Saints||-0.021||18||-0.155||19||0.080||14|
|Washington Football Team||-0.061||22||-0.131||17||-0.022||23|
|New York Giants||-0.063||23||-0.168||23||-0.009||20|
|New York Jets||-0.130||30||-0.167||22||-0.113||27|
If we pretend the Denver game didn’t happen, this wouldn’t even be a question. Somehow, the Dallas offense didn’t show up in that contest, and a lack of a coherent replacement plan at left tackle for Tyron Smith was likely a big reason. Smith should be returning to the lineup, putting the second-best left tackle in the game back in the Cowboys' lineup.
Dak Prescott is ranked No. 4 in PFF passing grade, and every single wideout he has thrown to this season boasts a PFF grade of at least 70.0. The Cowboys lead the league in average yards per play and can win in all areas of the game on offense.
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers haven't been as good in the past few weeks, but injuries are a big part of that. Plus, the issues probably aren’t quite as bad as some numbers suggest. He's made four turnover-worthy plays in his past two games, but they represent four of his five for the entire season, and his 90.0 overall PFF grade still ranks first in the NFL. Tampa Bay’s offensive line is also still a top unit — one that is protected well by Brady’s average time to throw of 2.36 seconds, the second-fastest mark in the league.
Josh Allen made a whopping eight big-time throws against the Jets in Week 10. That’s two more than any other quarterback has had in a single game this season. He averaged over 13 yards per attempt despite an average depth of target almost 13.5 yards downfield. This was Allen at his very best, and his overall PFF grade has now crept back toward where it was a season ago. While Allen has endured some ugly games (somehow being the second-best Josh Allen on the field against Jacksonville), he always looks capable of putting up points and causing problems for any defense in the NFL.
A seemingly minor injury to Kyler Murray has all of a sudden lingered into a multi-week absence, and while the team was able to ride Colt McCoy for one week, that wagon fell to pieces in Week 10 against Carolina. The Cardinals' offense looks like a dominant force when its stars are healthy, and Murray has the league’s best big-time throw rate (9.0%), as well as the second-best turnover-worthy play rate (1.3%). When he and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins are both back in the lineup, this is one of the best offenses in the game.
For the first several weeks of the season, the Rams fielded one of the best offenses in the NFL. They never made it to No. 1 in these rankings, in part because quarterback Matthew Stafford was never grading quite as well as his production would suggest.
All of a sudden, Stafford and the Rams' offense have had back-to-back ugly games, and nobody knows whether this is just part of the randomness of 2021 or if it's the beginning of serious regression. Stafford has 13 turnover-worthy plays on the season, and seven of them have come in his past two games. Now Robert Woods is lost for the season, and the Rams need to see if Odell Beckham Jr. can replicate what Woods brought to the offense.
Did the Raiders just fix the Kansas City Chiefs' offense? If all the Chiefs needed was one opponent not running the same game plan as everybody else to get their swagger back, the rest of the NFL may be in trouble. Despite all of their offensive woes this season, the Chiefs lead the league in successful play rate, and only the Buccaneers have ended offensive drives with a touchdown more often. On the other hand, Patrick Mahomes is still not quite himself and ranks just 21st in overall PFF grade. Yet, Kansas City’s rebuilt offensive line has been fantastic, climbing as high as No. 2 in the latest PFF rankings.
The Ravens' offense has been largely cooking this season, but an upset loss to Miami in Week 11 will be hard to forget. It wasn’t that the team lost — or that the offense struggled — but, rather, it was how completely neutralized the unit was by a very specific game plan that the team failed to adjust for. Miami blitzed defensive backs all game (52% of defensive snaps), and the Ravens couldn’t make the plays in behind or get Lamar Jackson out of the pocket to work his magic. If that was just an anomaly, Baltimore is still cruising. But if that was a template other teams can replicate, it might be the start of a tough run.
The Chargers' season and their offense appear to have stalled in recent weeks. They aren't all of a sudden bad, but they certainly aren’t as potent as they seemed earlier in the season. It has been over four weeks since Justin Herbert made multiple big-time throws in a game, and they rank just 10th in the NFL in explosive pass rate on the year. The pieces are there for this offense to dominate, not least a quarterback with rare skills, but the team needs to locate a fix for a unit venturing off the tracks.
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The Browns' season keeps moving forward, but the team is no closer to an answer when it comes to just what kind of player Baker Mayfield is. The situation with Odell Beckham Jr. came to a head, and the team elected to move on without him. Since that point, Mayfield put together the best game of his season, immediately followed by the worst.
Cleveland’s offensive line remains a top-five unit, and the team can seemingly plug any running back into the offense and watch them have success. Still, this unit will only go as far as Mayfield can take it, and how far that is remains a complete unknown three and a half years into his career.
Kirk Cousins probably doesn’t get near the credit he deserves for his play. He is now ranked second in overall PFF grade among quarterbacks and boasts the highest PFF passing grade at the position. When he targets any of his top three wideouts, his passer rating is at least 114.0, and while the Vikings don’t have a great offensive line, there is a chance it improves down the stretch if rookie Christian Darrisaw settles in and they make a switch at center. Running back Dalvin Cook hasn’t been at his best this season but is still averaging 2.7 yards after contact and has 11 carries of at least 15 yards.
A brief glimpse of Jordan Love as a starter didn’t make anybody feel great about the prospect of life after Aaron Rodgers, but as long as Rodgers is playing, good things tend to happen. The Packers have been in a solid position and are one of a few teams that can expect real reinforcements as the season goes on.
David Bakhtiari — arguably the best left tackle in the NFL — is close to a return, and even if he takes a few games to shake off the rust, he could be a real boost for this offense as it heads into the postseason. Green Bay still has the best receiver in the game in Davante Adams, who is generating 2.8 yards per route run this season.
It was almost like playing the Detroit Lions caused Philadelphia to stumble accidentally into the realization that its offense is built for pounding the football and building everything else on top of that foundation. Since that game, the Eagles rank fifth in the league in rushing yards per attempt (5.0) and explosive run rate (19.3%) while generating the highest offensive EPA per play in the league. Jalen Hurts isn’t being asked to do everything himself and has been the No. 4 ranked quarterback in the league over the past three weeks.
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Mac Jones hasn’t just been the best rookie quarterback this season, but he is putting distance between himself and any challengers. Jones now owns two of the three highest single-game grades PFF has given to rookie quarterbacks, including his most recent performance against the Browns. He's made just one turnover-worthy play in the past five weeks and is climbing the overall PFF quarterback rankings on a weekly basis.
New England’s offensive line is getting healthier, and even with inconsistent playmakers, Jones is driving this offense higher up the rankings as he continues to show he can do more.
Just as it was time to write off Jimmy Garoppolo and usher in the Trey Lance era, Garoppolo starts to string together the best run of play he has had since he took the team to the Super Bowl. He's enjoyed three consecutive games with an overall PFF grade of at least 79.6 marking arguably his best three-game stretch since a 2017 season that earned him his big-money contract.
If Garoppolo continues to play at this level, the 49ers' offense is better than this ranking. The group features the best left tackle in football in Trent Williams, playmakers in George Kittle and Deebo Samuel and a system that is as unique as any in the game. But banking on Garoppolo to maintain this level feels optimistic at best.
The Bengals may be on a two-game skid, but the offense was really an issue in only one of those games — the most recent loss to Cleveland. The team had been riding high on the Burrow-to-Chase connection, but that combination hit the ugly end of variance with a vengeance against the Browns. Everything that could go wrong on a pass play did go wrong, but that is unlikely to be a long-term problem. Passes thrown in Ja'Marr Chase’s direction this season have generated a 107.7 passer rating. Both he and Burrow are too talented not to bounce back.
The Raiders have dealt with some serious issues this season. The team fired head coach Jon Gruden after a trove of offensive emails were leaked to the media and then cut loose Henry Ruggs III following DUI-related charges.
It’s understandable that things have come unstuck, but the Raiders now need to find a way to stop the freefall. Carr still leads the league in big-time throws (28), but his past two games have featured the lowest PFF grades of his 2021 season.
17. Tennessee Titans
The last time these rankings were written, the Titans were regarded as being reliant on offensive star power. Well, they have lost a significant amount of that power. Derrick Henry is likely lost for the year, and Julio Jones is on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. That leaves Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown trying to keep this unit on the tracks almost by themselves. Without Henry, the dominant run-blocking offensive line hasn’t been the same, and the Titans are averaging just 2.5 yards per carry over the past two weeks — 31st in the league.
With Jameis Winston lost for the season, the Saints are rolling with Trevor Siemian as their starter. He has put together two solid starts since being handed the job but can’t overcome the fact that the Saints have very little in the way of receivers who can win on the outside and make plays downfield. A once great offensive line has all of a sudden developed some gaping holes inside, and all of these issues have head coach Sean Payton trying to work miracles to keep the unit afloat.
19. Denver Broncos
The Broncos' offense has settled into a unit that is average almost across the board. They have an elite group of playmakers, but with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm, they aren’t likely to ever have the quality opportunities to prove it. Bridgewater has been solid overall but ranks 32nd in big-time throw rate (3.0%), which just isn’t giving the likes of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick enough chances to make game-changing plays.
The Colts are a different group when all starting five offensive linemen are healthy, and that’s only happened for the first time over the past couple of weeks. The unit was ranked second in the NFL heading into the season and has been a dominant force for Jonathan Taylor since it got healthy.
Quarterback Carson Wentz has 10 turnover-worthy plays this season, but seven of them came in a two-week stretch against San Francisco (in a rainstorm) and Tennessee. Wentz behind a dominant line with some receivers who are starting to make plays is dangerous.
21. Seattle Seahawks
It’s no surprise to see the Seattle offense slip in the rankings without Russell Wilson, but even with his return, he still seems less than 100% healthy. Wilson was the lowest-graded offensive player in Week 10, and Seattle scored no points. The Seahawks' offense goes as Wilson goes, and if he isn’t going to quickly bounce back to his best, then this will be a grind down the stretch.
The Football Team fields a top offensive line, so you would have expected that to yield significantly better results than it has. They rank 22nd in EPA per play and just haven’t had the upside that was expected, even without Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. Taylor Heinicke was supposed to have the same high-variance style of play, but we just haven’t seen the high-end this season. His Week 2 performance against the Giants remains the only performance of his season to earn a PFF grade north of 70.0, and that’s a level that places a firm cap on the offense.
23. Atlanta Falcons
When Matt Ryan is dealing to Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson, this offense can look pretty formidable. But that’s just too concentrated to be successful every week. Calvin Ridley has stepped away from the team to deal with his mental health, and the offensive line has its issues. Patterson is the league’s best-graded running back so far this season, and Pitts ranks third among tight ends in receiving yards and yards per route run. The Falcons just haven't been able to put it all together from week to week.
Cam Newton arriving is a real wild card in projecting this offense forward. Sam Darnold’s play was nosediving even before his shoulder injury, and his 62.3 overall PFF grade is lower than two of his three years with the Jets. The Panthers' line outside of Taylor Moton is extremely weak, which limits how effective an extremely talented group of playmakers can be.
But Newton has unique physical tools and all of a sudden the best group of receivers he has ever thrown to. The issues with this offense may not go away, but they could easily be masked to a degree by Newton, leading to a rise in these rankings.
25. Chicago Bears
It’s been a rollercoaster for Justin Fields and the Chicago offense, but we are starting to see real growth. Against the Steelers, Fields made five big-time throws — tied for the third-most of any quarterback in a single game this season. He has had just one turnover-worthy play in the past two games, and the Bears' offensive line looks significantly better now that he has developed a degree of comfort in the pocket and the offense isn’t actively undermining him.
It would be easy to look at some numbers and come to the conclusion that the Steelers have a reasonable offensive line, but they are protected by Ben Roethlisberger getting the ball out of his hands faster than any other quarterback on average. He has the league’s fastest average time to throw (2.31 seconds), and he's even faster on plays where he isn’t under pressure.
But the line is still weak, and it shows up clearly in the run game, where the Steelers are averaging just 3.7 yards per attempt despite rookie Najee Harris looking like an excellent running back. Roethlisberger may be the best option the Steelers have, but his overall PFF grade ranks 34th at the position.
27. New York Giants
Things were starting to inch in the right direction for the Giants, and then everybody got hurt. After an underwhelming rookie year, Andrew Thomas was looking good at left tackle before getting hurt — leaving a massive hole along the offensive line. Daniel Jones has rarely had a full complement of receivers to target — again — and so after a hot start, he has had one good PFF game grade in his past four outings.
Jones now has a 73.3 overall PFF grade — lower than his mark from last season. New York's offense is capable of being much better, but it needs to get healthy if we’re ever going to see it.
28. Miami Dolphins
Any analysis of the Dolphins' offense needs to begin with the fact that they field the league’s worst offensive line by some margin. The unit has surrendered 172 total pressures so far this season — the most in the league by 50 and more than all but seven teams over the entire 2020 season. They have allowed that volume of pressure despite being protected by RPOs and a quick release time (at least by Tua Tagovailoa).
Miami simply doesn't have a viable foundation for offensive success, which makes any evaluation of Tagovailoa difficult. His overall PFF grade this season (71.6) ranks 24th, and he has been uninspiring. But behind that offensive line, it’s fair to ask how much more you could reasonably expect.
Trevor Lawrence is struggling, and there is little in the way of help around him to take the pressure off his shoulders. Lawrence ranks 36th out of 37 quarterbacks in overall PFF grade so far this season, and none of his top receiving targets has a grade above 65.8. The best component of the Jaguars' offense is a below-average offensive line, which doesn’t seem like the kind of thing to be taking victory laps over.
30. Detroit Lions
Jared Goff’s overall poor performance with the Rams ultimately led to a massive trade, sending Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles. And unfortunately for Goff and the Lions, his 59.5 overall grade in 2021 is more than 10 grading points lower than any season since his rookie year in Los Angeles. Detroit has little in the way of playmakers or ingenuity schematically, but Goff is continuing his downward spiral.
31. New York Jets
The Jets roster the two quarterbacks with the highest turnover-worthy play rate in the NFL this season. Mike White (6.1%) and Zach Wilson (5.0%) are both well clear of any other passer, and Wilson’s injury has left him on the sideline and the team unclear about how to move forward.
Corey Davis seems to be at the heart of most of the mistakes the offense is making, while rookie Elijah Moore’s usage pattern isn’t scaling in the direction it should be based on his flashes of talent. Even rookie offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker has regressed after a solid start to the year. The only good news for the Jets' offense is that it's the team's better unit.
32. Houston Texans
The only optimism for Houston was that either Davis Mills might show some development or they could turn to Tyrod Taylor, who had looked excellent for six quarters before straining his hamstring to begin the season. But Mills wasn’t showing signs, and Taylor posted a 41.1 PFF game grade in his return, giving him an identical 59.3 PFF grade for the season to Mills. Houston’s offensive line is in rough shape, their quarterback situation is no reason for optimism and Brandin Cooks is the one receiver trying to keep the unit afloat.