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Here are NFL teams who were expected to do well, and are well in contention – some much better than that – who share a weakness. That weakness is in the Offensive Lines. How long can these teams keep it up?
New England Patriots
Can it matter that the Patriots’ O-line ranks only 23rd as a run-blocking unit? Maybe not. They’re 4-1 and Brady is back. LeGarrette Blount is 7th in the NFL in rushing, but he got there by being 2nd in attempts; his 3.7 yards per carry ties him for the lowest among running backs in the top 10.
The Bills are in the hunt in the AFC East, Chasing a Patriots team it shut out (while Brady-less). Ironically, it has problems similar to the Pats: a weak offensive line against the run, ranking only 2nd. Unlike the Patriots, the Bills O-line is also weak against the pass rush, ranking 24th. Show some love for LeSean McCoy – 4th in rushing, and with 5.3 yards per carry – seriously outperforming his blocking.
Andrew’s Luck surely ran out when he signed with this franchise. As usual, he leads in the NFL in Being Sacked at 20. Though the same line ranks 5th in run blocking, the Colts are 19th in run yardage, suggesting they find a good back.
Kansas City Chiefs
We’re used to Kansas City making more noise in the AFC West, and they still might. As long as Alex Smith has the 28th best pass protection, and the Chiefs’ running game the 24th best run blocking, it’s just not going to happen.
Texans’ QB Brock Osweiler has been bemoaning the offense, confessing that he needs to find a way to get the ball to WR DeAndre Hopkins. It would help if his offensive line could just get to mediocre instead of floundering at 17th in pass protection and 20th in run blocking.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have young talent, starting with Todd Gurley. What they don’t have so far is much of an O-line, ranking 28th in run blocking and only 21st in pass protection.
Seattle is malingering in 27th in its rushing game and 23rd in passing due to a line that’s neither run blocking nor pass blocking.
If you feel like you haven’t heard much from Andy Dalton this year, he’s spending a lot of time face-down. This is thanks to a Bengals O-liine that ranks 30th in the league and given up 17 sacks.
The Vikings are off to a surprising good start given key injuries. It’s hard to be better than 5-0 and No. 1 in the power rankings. But their O-Line, ranked 5th in pass protection, is a shaky 31st in run blocking, 30th in run yards without Adrian Peterson. Maybe newly-signed OT Jake Long will help.
The World Champs are actually pretty shaky on offense, with a 31st ranking pass blocking crew that has given up 15 sacks of mobile young QB Trevor Siemian. The run blocking, meanwhile, is hanging back at 15th, suggesting that RBs CJ Anderson et al are over-performing – for now.