In a year of underwhelming offenses helmed by veteran quarterbacks (Packers, Buccaneers, Rams), the list of top offenses has had its share of surprising names towards the top. The Raiders were somehow managing a top-five offense and a 1-4 record through five games. Their 38-point outburst against the Texans this past week represents both their biggest output of the season and an encouraging sign for a team off to a rough start.
The running game has been a massive part of Las Vegas’ success during the last three games. Josh Jacobs has led the NFL in rushing since Week 4, with nearly 40% of his rushes going for first downs. The only players doing better in that span are quarterbacks (and whatever Taysom Hill is). He’s also been hit at or behind the line of scrimmage less than 25% of the time, which indicates how much the offensive line has supported this outburst. This newfound balance puts them in the same spot as the Eagles regarding average offensive output.
The list below is based on Expected Points Added (EPA) per play. EPA is a way to quantify points added on a play, factoring in yards gained, field position, down, and distance. For example, a 5-yard gain on 3rd & 3 results in a higher EPA than a 5-yard gain on third and 8, factoring in that the first down was achieved by the former.
Let’s see where things stand through Week 7.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (EPA/Play = 0.14) | Last Week = T-1
The Chiefs leaped out in front of the Bills thanks to 500-plus yards of offense against one of the best defenses in the league (and EPA isn’t accounting for degree-of-difficulty). This was Patrick Mahomes’ fifth career game with at least 12.0 Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt, and his third with at least 40% of pass plays gaining at least 1 EPA (what SIS calls “boom” plays). In a 30-point second half, that number was 50%, tied for the best second half of his career.
2. Buffalo Bills (EPA/Play = 0.10) | Last Week = T-1
T-3. Las Vegas Raiders (EPA/Play = 0.06) | Last Week = T-5
T-3. Philadelphia Eagles (EPA/Play = 0.06) | Last Week = #3
5. Seattle Seahawks (EPA/Play = 0.03) | Last Week = #4
We’re now nearly halfway into a season in which Geno Smith is leading the league in completion percentage, and he’s throwing the ball deeper on average than everyone else in the top five. Over the last two weeks, just Kenneth Walker III’s yards after contact (134) would place him barely outside the top 10 in total rushing yards. Their yards per play right now outstrips any Russell Wilson team, which is just amazing.
6. Baltimore Ravens (EPA/Play = 0.01) | Last Week = T-5
T-7. Cleveland Browns (EPA/Play = 0.00) | Last Week = 7
The Browns probably won’t be in a position to capitalize on Deshaun Watson’s potential return in a handful of weeks. Still, Jacoby Brissett has been serviceable enough at the helm for a team that’s had some recent success with merely adequate quarterback play. Aside from its 11-5 season in 2020, the current offense is doing better than any recent Cleveland outfit. An injury to a resurgent David Njoku will put more pressure on Amari Cooper, who is among the leaders in the NFL in Team Air Yards % (which you can find on The Edge).
T-7. New York Giants (EPA/Play = 0.00) | Last Week = T-9
T-9. Cincinnati Bengals (EPA/Play = -0.01) | Last Week = 18
T-9. Jacksonville Jaguars (EPA/Play = -0.01) | Last Week = T-13
T-11. Atlanta Falcons (EPA/Play = -0.02) | Last Week = T-9
T-11. Miami Dolphins (EPA/Play = -0.02) | Last Week = T-9
What started optimistically turned into a bit of a concerning return for Tua Tagovailoa, who brought home a win but threw multiple passes that should’ve been a turnover. The good news is that with the Hill/Waddle tandem, Tagovailoa doesn’t need to be elite for the offense to pose a threat. The two speedsters stand atop the yards per route run leaderboard.
T-13. Minnesota Vikings (EPA/Play = -0.03) | Last Week = T-13
T-13. Arizona Cardinals (EPA/Play = -0.03) | Last Week = T-16
T-13. New England Patriots (EPA/Play = -0.03) | Last Week = T-13
T-16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (EPA/Play = -0.05) | Last Week = T-16
T-16. Los Angeles Chargers (EPA/Play = -0.05) | Last Week = 8
The Chargers are trodding through another injury-riddled season, this time with Mike Williams going on the shelf with an ankle injury. He was responsible for more than one-third of the team’s air yards up to this point and was garnering nearly 40 percent of targets against man coverage. They are heading into a bye week, so hopefully, a Keenan Allen return will be in the offense when they’re at it next.
T-18. Detroit Lions (EPA/Play = -0.06) | Last Week = T-9
T-18. New Orleans Saints (EPA/Play = -0.06 | Last Week = 19
T-18. San Francisco 49ers (EPA/Play = -0.06) | Last Week = T-20
The Chiefs claimed the top spot on this list with a big second half against San Francisco, but there’s still some reason for optimism for the 49ers (if a bit deferred). Deebo Samuel came out of the game with a hamstring injury, but the Christian McCaffrey acquisition now gives them two of the top-10 pass-catchers in broken+missed tackle rate this season (Samuel second, McCaffrey ninth). In the run game, McCaffrey was as successful as ever before the trade, averaging 4.6 yards per carry despite being contacted at or behind the line 44% of the time.
T-21. Green Bay Packers (EPA/Play = -0.09) | Last Week = T-20
T-21. Dallas Cowboys (EPA/Play = -0.09) | Last Week = 24
T-21. Tennessee Titans (EPA/Play = -0.09) | Last Week = T-20
24. New York Jets (EPA/Play = -0.10) | Last Week = 23
25. Houston Texans (EPA/Play = -0.11) | Last Week = T-30
Davis Mills posted his highest yardage total of the season in a loss against the Raiders on Sunday as they played it close through three quarters. The Texans have actually outscored their opponents through three quarters this year, but they have been outscored in the fourth by nearly a touchdown per game. Mills has an Independent Quarterback Rating of 92.3 (6 TD, 2 INT) through three quarters and 60.6 (1 TD, 3 INT) afterward.
T-26. Los Angeles Rams (EPA/Play = -0.12) | Last Week = T-25
T-26. Washington Commanders (EPA/Play = -0.12) | Last Week = T-25
T-28. Chicago Bears (EPA/Play = -0.13) | Last Week = T-28
T-28. Pittsburgh Steelers (EPA/Play = -0.13) | Last Week = T-28
30. Indianapolis Colts (EPA/Play = -0.14) | Last Week = T-25
Second-year sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger comes in to try to salvage things, with Matt Ryan experiencing both insult and injury. Ryan provided excitement, if nothing else, being in the top five in passing yards but also second in sacks and leading in interceptions. Jonathan Taylor has missed a couple of games and is producing big-EPA runs at half the rate he was last season. His runs have been worth 25 fewer expected points than they were through seven weeks of last year, and he’s likely to see a lot of heavy boxes with the change at quarterback.
T-31. Denver Broncos (EPA/Play = -0.16) | Last Week = T-30
T-31. Carolina Panthers (EPA/Play = -0.16) | Last Week = #32
Prepared by Alex Vigderman
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