It is no secret the Falcons offense will carry the defense this year, despite the miracles Dean Pees may be able to conjure with such limiting personnel. Arthur Smith is an offensive guru who led the Titans to the playoffs while being hampered by Tennessee’s defense. The Falcons’ offensive line will likely be an average unit as the younger players are still developing, but the skill position group in Atlanta might be the best in the league.
The combination of Matt Ryan, Mike Davis, Kyle Pitts, Hayden Hurst, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley will give defensive coordinators nightmares. In 11 personnel, Smith could deploy this group and back defensive coordinators into a corner by forcing them to decide which player they want to double then attacking the one-on-one matchups. More than likely, the safety help will come against Julio, leaving the defense to cover Davis, Pitts, Hurst, and Ridley one-on-one in a single-high scheme. A team could decide to double-team two of the aforementioned players, but that would leave no safety help over the top. Pitts, Ridley, and Jones might all need double teams by the end of the year, but which NFL team’s skill group rivals the Falcons?
*This includes the quarterbacks of each team or teams like the Giants would’ve been listed.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is one of the three best quarterbacks in the league, but his supporting cast might be the most difficult to defend on this list. Travis Kelce is the best receiving tight end in football; Tyreek Hill isn’t just a gadget player, but a top ten wideout; Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson are both home-run threats every time they get the ball in their hands; and Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a reliable back that fits the offense perfectly.
Tampa Bay Buccanneers
Tom Brady is still an elite quarterback, and Falcons fans know all too well the weapons at his disposal. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are a formidable tandem on the outside, but don’t forget about Antonio Brwon — once the best wideout in the game. Rob Gronkowski might be aging, but he’s still a threat in the red zone, and Cameron Brate is a respectable TE2. Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones are an effective running back duo, and Tampa Bay can ride either for an entire game. Giovanni Bernard is an underrated addition, solving the only hole on the offense — pass-catching running back.
This last one might ruffle some feathers as I left teams like the Browns, Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks, and Packers off the list. But I believe the skill around Big Ben is enough to overcome the difference in quarterback play between the Steelers and any of the aforementioned teams. Don’t kid yourself; JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, and Najee Harris complete one of the most dangerous skill groups in football. The Steelers will be able to attack defenses in so many different ways with this diverse collection of players.
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