NFL Handicapper's Power Rankings for Top Offenses in AFC

Jason Lake

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 12:28 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2015 12:28 PM UTC

If offense is the No. 1 priority with your NFL picks, then the AFC has some catching up to do. But at least the Pittsburgh Steelers know how to move the football.

Ah, power rankings. We're not quants by any means here at the home office, but we regularly look at other people's power rankings to help inform our NFL picks. Anytime there happens to be a significant gap between the efficiency-based rankings at Football Outsiders (or the Elo Ratings at FiveThirtyEight, or Jeff Sagarin's ratings at USA Today) and the conventional ratings at sites like ESPN, that's a pretty good indicator of potential market value.

But what do we do when the 2015 season hasn't even started yet? Who's rankings are we going to look at? We're just going to have to cobble together our own. Here's our offensive rankings for the AFC; these aren't purely objective, but they do take into account a range of opinions going into the new season, combined with the more quanty figures from the end of the 2014 campaign.


AFC's Top Offenses
1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Denver Broncos

3. Indianapolis Colts

4. New England Patriots

5. Baltimore Ravens

6. San Diego Chargers

7. Miami Dolphins

8. Cincinnati Bengals

9. Kansas City Chiefs

10. Houston Texans

11. Cleveland Browns

12. Tennessee Titans

13. New York Jets

14. Oakland Raiders

15. Buffalo Bills

16. Jacksonville Jaguars


In a Steeltown
The Steelers make it to the top of our list after finishing first in the AFC in efficiency last year, and fourth on the Simple Rating System at Pro Football Reference. Offensive co-ordinator Todd Haley has rebuilt his reputation with a rapid-fire passing game that has maximized the talents of their top player, QB Ben Roethlisberger. Also, this year's team got a reprieve when RB Le'Veon Bell (4.7 yards per carry, 83 catches) had his suspension reduced from three games to two.

Must Read: Early NFL ATS Pick for Steelers vs. Patriots Week 1 Game

I'm Not Looking for New England
No such luck for the Patriots and QB Tom Brady. The league decided on Tuesday to uphold Brady's four-game suspension, although a court injunction could still see Brady in uniform against the Bills in Week 2. The Pats were third in the AFC in offensive efficiency last year and got better as the season wore on; with Jimmy Garoppolo expected to start the first four games, we have to downgrade New England just a shade.


The Brown Album
There isn't really much separating the bottom six teams on our list. The Cleveland Browns had the best offense of the bunch last year according to efficiency; the SRS numbers preferred the Jets, who should improve this year under new head coach Todd Bowles and offensive co-ordinator Chan Gailey. We'll put the Browns above them for now, especially with center Alex Mack ready to go for 2015 after missing 11 games last year with a broken ankle. Mack and LT Joe Thomas can make any quarterback look good – even Johnny Manziel, although it looks like Josh McCown will hold down the No. 1 job for now.

Must Read: Handicapping the AFC's Top Defenses for 2015-16 NFL Season

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