The Brandt Report

Five NFL offenses that can never be counted out in 2020

It's a cliché to say no lead is safe -- but on Sunday, the Cowboys and Chiefs demonstrated in definitive fashion why that cliché holds true.

It's still a bit early in the 2020 season to make declarations about too many teams. But Kansas City and Dallas look like they have offenses that opponents should never feel safe against, no matter how comfy a lead might appear.

Which other offenses would join the Chiefs and Cowboys in that category? Below, I've arranged the top five offenses that should not be counted out in a game in 2020. First, a quick note: This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of every NFL offense capable of mounting comebacks. Rather, these are the five that appear, based on personnel and their capacity for scoring points in bunches, to be the most adept at obliterating deficits in a hurry at this juncture in the season. Again, it's early, and things could change as 2020 wears on.

Even when a defense does a good job against the Chiefs, their offense is almost impossible to contain for an entire game, as they showed repeatedly throughout their Super Bowl championship run. The Chargers became the latest group to gain bitter firsthand experience of this on Sunday, when Kansas City's quick-strike attack vaporized an L.A. lead that had lasted three-plus quarters. Go ahead, go up on this team -- and live in constant fear that Mahomes will simply unleash a 54-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill seemingly at will, or convert on third-and-20 with less than a minute to go by scrambling for the first down by himself. When you take into account Mahomes' playmaking ability through the air and on the ground, along with the explosive potential of his supporting cast, it's clear this offense can only be counted out after the clock ticks all the way down to zero.

Wilson has never received a single MVP vote -- but he's starting to get his due as an early front-runner for the 2020 award after throwing nine touchdown passes and leading the Seahawks to 73 total points, which is the most through two games in franchise history since 1985. It's not a coincidence that Wilson ranks second in fourth-quarter comebacks since being drafted in 2012. Arguably the best deep passer in the league, Wilson can move the Seahawks downfield in a hurry if need be, as evidenced by his teardrop touchdown throws of 54 and 38 yards to DK Metcalf and David Moore, respectively, in Sunday's 35-30 win over New England. 

Say what you will about the Falcons finding a way to lose a game they should have won. No matter how you slice it, the Cowboys' offense looked impressive putting up three scoring drives spanning 75, 76 and 26 yards within the game's final 8 minutes to fuel their epic comeback. The especially encouraging thing about Sunday's display was seeing new faces, like tight end Dalton Schultz (nine catches, 88 yards, one TD) and rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb (six catches, 106 yards), make a splash on a unit already loaded with quality skill-position talent. Dak Prescott gave up one fumble, but otherwise, his final stat line (450 yards, one passing TD, three rushing scores) was a thing of beauty.

So maybe the Packers didn't actually need to make any major upgrades on offense this offseason; maybe they already had all the firepower they'll require to be a force in 2020. It sure looks that way so far, with Green Bay becoming the second team in NFL history (joining the 1991 Bills) to open with 85-plus points and 1,000-plus yards in their first two games. Receiver Davante Adams (two receiving TDs) and running back Aaron Jones (four total TDs) have been pivotal, as expected, but one key difference has been the improvement of Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the receiving corps. Both youngsters have made gains since 2019 in catch rate (46.4% to 53.8% for Valdes-Scantling; 67.3% to 77.8% for Lazard) and receiving yards per game (28.3 to 80 for Valdes-Scantling; 29.8 to 54 for Lazard). The offense has also benefited from rock-solid line play. These factors all make it feel like the Packers' 13-3 record in 2019 was less of a fluke than it might have seemed. It's clear that drafting Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round has lit a fire under Aaron Rodgers, who is flourishing in his second season operating Matt LaFleur's attack.

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo's appearance on this list might be a bit of a surprise, but comeback wins are becoming something of a Josh Allen specialty in the QB's young career. In 2019, only Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo posted as many fourth-quarter comebacks as Allen (four), who added another to his ledger in Week 2, pushing the Bills to victory after falling behind the Dolphins by three points in the fourth quarter and inspiring coach Sean McDermott to praise him for having "ice water in his veins." One thing that obviously buoys an offense's comeback capabilities is a knack for picking up chunk yards, and this is where new receiver Stefon Diggs comes into play; witness the 47-yard bomb from Allen to Diggs that helped facilitate Sunday's comeback. Diggs (eight catches for 153 yards and a TD) made exactly the kind of impact Buffalo hoped he would when trading for him this offseason. Ultimately, though, what Allen showed by passing for a career-high 417 yards and four touchdowns (without throwing a single pick) should give the Bills hope that they won't need to rally from behind as much going forward.

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