As we approach the NFL Championship games on Sunday, the focus obviously starts with the quarterback play — and there’s no doubting the power of the dynamic and youthful quarterbacks headlining these games.
Yet, the offensive talent shining during the AFC and NFC Championships won’t stop behind center. The final four teams are bursting with great offensive talent. So, let’s rank the top 10 non-quarterback offensive weapons on the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles.
- Travis Kelce:
The Kansas City Chiefs’ future Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end tops list. A TE has to be pretty special to head up list like this and Kelce qualifies. He’s still dominant at the age of 33, had 14 receptions and two touchdowns in the Chiefs’ win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional round, and will be the focal point of the Chiefs’ passing attack on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. A lot of people worried about Patrick Mahomes when wide receiver Tyreek Hill was traded to Miami last offseason. Yet, Mahomes is likely be soon named the MVP and his special chemistry with is a big reason why.
2. Ja’Marr Chase:
Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow has an array of weapons and it begins with this wide receiver who was his teammate at LSU. In two NFL seasons, Chase has emerged as atop receiving weapon in the NFL. He is a complete player who can take games over, and he is the first concern of opposing defensive coordinators when they try to stop Burrow’s passing game.
3. DeVonta Smith:
Like Chase, Smith is a 2021 first-round pick who is flourishing in the NFL. He is a great duo with A.J Brown and makes Jalen Hurts’ job much easier for the Philadelphia Eagles. The speedster had 95 catches for 1,196 yards this season and added six catches and a touchdowns in the Eagles’ blow out win over the New York Giants last week. He will be a headache for San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Demeco Ryans.
4. Christian McCaffrey:
An argument can be made for McCaffrey being at the top of this list. The San Francisco 49ers’ offense has taken off since they acquired him in a trade with the Carolina Panthers in October. The 49ers are 12-1 (including the playoffs) since the trade and have won 12 straight games. McCaffrey can affect the game both as a rusher and as a receiver.
5. A.J. Brown:
Brown is another player who can be listed higher on this list. Like McCaffrey, he completed changed the Eagles’ offense when after being traded. He was acquired in a draft day trade from the Tennessee Titans. He and Smith are a special tandem and he is a top-tier player. Brown, who was slowed by an apparent lower-body injury last week and who is hopeful to play against the 49ers, is explosive as he averaged 17 yards a catch and had 11 touchdown in the regular season.
6. Deebo Samuel:
This has to be a pretty special list to have a talent like Samuel all the way down at No. 6. He was slowed by a late-season injury and the 49ers have so many stars on offense. His stats don’t always show what he can do. But it wouldn’t be a shock if Samuel takes over the rest of the playoffs. Like McCaffrey, he can affect the game in so many ways.
7. George Kittle:
The 49ers probably wouldn’t have beaten the Cowboys last week if it weren’t for Kittle. He took over down the stretch. The do-everything tight end is a special aspect of this offense. He’s one of the most fun players in the league to watch.
8. Tee Higgins:
He’s a pretty nice No. 2 option behind Chase for the Bengals. Higgins had 74 catches for 1,029 yards this season. The Chiefs will have to account for him.
9. Joe Mixon:
Of course, the Bengals’ offense starts with Burrow and the passing game but Mixon’s influence on this offense can not be denied. He is a tough runner and he moves the chains and keeps defenses honest. He had 105 yards rushing last week in Buffalo. If Mixon can rush for another 100 yards at Kansas City, the Bengals will likely head back to the Super Bowl.
10. Brandon Aiyuk:
We considered many options here, but we giving to give the underrated Aiyuk his flowers on this one. He may get lost a bit in the 49ers’ litany of offensive stars. But he has improved greatly and he is a playmaker. The Eagles can sleep on him at their own peril.