When it comes to the NFL, having a well-rounded team is critical to going the distance and playing in February. That being said, it never does hurt when you have star players at the main offensive positions that can carry your team to victory. Eight of the twelve teams listed below made the playoffs last season, and those that didn’t are on track to make a playoff push this season. Here are my top-12 QB-RB-WR trios in the league.
12. Philadelphia Eagles—QB Carson Wentz, RB Jay Ajayi, WR Alshon Jeffery
For the sake of the future of the league, I hope Wentz comes back strong from his ACL tear. He had such a brilliant season last year and should be ready to lead the Eagles back to the Super Bowl. With Blount gone, Ajayi should become the feature back, and Alshon Jeffery will continue to see increased production after hauling in nine touchdowns last season. The defending champs are in good shape on offense.
11. New England Patriots—QB Tom Brady, RB James White, WR Julian Edelman/Chris Hogan
Tom Brady alone is enough to get the Patriots on this list, but White has shown that he works well in this offense and is capable of making big plays—and now that Dion Lewis is out of the picture, the backfield opens up even more. Edelman is suspended for the first four games of this season, hence the Hogan addition, but when Edelman is out there, his connection with Brady is special.
10. Kansas City Chiefs—QB Patrick Mahomes, RB Kareem Hunt, WR Tyreek Hill
Should an inexperienced quarterback really be above the greatest quarterback to ever take the field and a guy who was on his way to an MVP season? Maybe not, but he’s supported by the leading rusher from last season in Kareem Hunt and a guy who can absolutely fly downfield in Tyreek Hill. But, if the Chiefs are going to challenge the Chargers and return to the playoffs, Mahomes has to be sharp in his first year as a starter.
9. Minnesota Vikings—QB Kirk Cousins, RB Dalvin Cook, WR Adam Thielen
I almost put this group ahead of the Packers, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it—Adams is better than Thielen, Cook is better than Williams, and if the tiebreaker is Rodgers, I’ll take Aaron. That being said, this is an extremely talented group ready for a big year—Cousins will surely see more success on a better team, Cook is recovering from injury after a hot start, and Thielen is as reliable as they come after totaling 1,276 yards last season. Don’t be shocked if Minnesota reaches the Super Bowl this season.
8. Green Bay Packers—QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Jamaal Williams, WR Davante Adams
If the Packers had a higher-profile running back, they’d likely top this list. But because we’re not even 100% sure if Williams will be the starter, I had to bring them down the list a little. Adams is the clear-cut number-one on this team and should be well on his way to his first 1,000-yard season, and Rodgers should get back to doing what he always does—leading the Packers to the playoffs.
7. New York Giants—QB Eli Manning, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Odell Beckham Jr.
This is absolutely a premature ranking, but that’s how good I think Barkley can be. The last two running backs to be taken in the top-five were Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliot—not bad company, and Barkley has even more hype coming out of college. Beckham, one of the top receivers, is striving for Comeback Player of the Year, and Eli Manning is looking to lead the Giants to the playoffs once again after an abysmal, injury-ridden season in 2017.
6. Houston Texans—QB Deshaun Watson, RB Lamar Miller, WR DeAndre Hopkins
It’s a small sample size, but what Watson did through seven games is nothing short of spectacular for a rookie. He threw 19 touchdowns, setting him on pace for over 40, and he’s found a favorite target in Hopkins, who remains one of the top receivers in the game. Miller has the least amount of star power to his name, but still rushed for almost 1,000 yards last season.
5. Los Angeles Chargers—QB Philip Rivers, RB Melvin Gordon, WR Keenan Allen
Los Angeles is favored to win the AFC West this season, and it comes as no surprise with this group. Rivers is playing at a high level, even at age 36, Gordon has cemented himself as a top-10 running back in the league, and Keenan Allen bounced back nicely last year after a torn ACL in 2015. The Chargers are a sleeper team this year.
4. Los Angeles Rams—QB Jared Goff, RB Todd Gurley, WR Brandin Cooks
A newly-formed trio, the Rams are slowly stacking their offense as much as their defense. Cooks is a very talented number one receiver, and Gurley is coming off his best season to date, totaling 2,093 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Rams severely underperformed in their Wildcard matchup, but they should be favored in the NFC to reach at least the Divisional round.
3. Atlanta Falcons—QB Matt Ryan, RB Devonta Freeman, WR Julio Jones
Like the Steelers, the Falcons have had one of the best trios for a few years now. Matt Ryan is looking to bounce back after a sub-par season for a former MVP, and Freeman will look to get back to 1,000 yards rushing after only managing 865. Julio Jones should be in for a big year, especially given that the Falcons drafted Calvin Ridley, a quick receiver that can take attention off Jones.
2. New Orleans Saints—QB Drew Brees, RB Alvin Kamara, WR Michael Thomas
Alvin Kamara has vaulted the Saints up these rankings—the Offensive Rookie of the Year was a key contributor to the Saints reaching the playoffs. Brees is 39, but he’s still playing at an elite level, and was a missed tackle away from reaching the NFC Championship game. He’s making his money throwing to Thomas, a top-10 receiver in the league.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers—QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown
This group has been at the top since they banded together. Bell and Brown are top three, if not the best, at their position, and Big Ben is still playing at a high level. Bell touched the ball 406 times last season and totaled 1,946 yards from scrimmage, and for the 5th time in their careers, Brown tallied a 100-reception season and Ben reached 4,000 yards.
Tennessee Titans—QB Marcus Mariota, RB Derrick Henry, WR Rishard Matthews
Detroit Lions—QB Matthew Stafford, RB Kerryon Johnson, WR Golden Tate
Oakland Raiders—QB Derek Carr, RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Amari Cooper