NFL.com recently put an article stating that the Kansas City Chiefs have surpassed the New Orleans Saints in the No. 1 ranking for the best offensive triplet in the league. “Triplet” means the combination of quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. These three positions make up for the majority of an NFL team’s offensive production.
The Saints offense had the third-highest scoring offense in 2019, at 28.6 PPG (Points Per Game). The Chiefs weren’t far behind, with 28.2 PPG, fourth in the league.
Kansas City didn’t have Patrick Mahomes for essentially two-and-a-half games, so it’s worth mentioning that their points per game would have likely been higher with a healthy Mahomes.
The more impressive aspect for the Saints offense last year is that the Saints edged out the Chiefs in PPG and their potent quarterback, Drew Brees, missed five games.
On top of the future Hall of Famer’s injury, running back Alvin Kamara played through an knee injury through the majority of 2019. Before the injury, Kamara was still his old, explosive self, totaling 161 total yards and two touchdowns in week 3 alone.
Three-time Pro Bowler Alvin Kamara will be returning healthy for 2020, and he’s changed to a plant-based diet this offseason, which should help him feel healthier all around.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas has vastly improved every year in the league, so there’s no reason, after winning Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, Thomas won’t have his eyes set on MVP in 2020. Thomas had 149 receptions last year, and he did that in five game without Brees.
How does the Chiefs offensive trio square up, and what could put them ahead of the Saints?
Well for starters, their quarterback has won two straight MVP titles: Super Bowl MVP in 2020 and MVP of the league in the 2018-2019 season.
The team also has one of the most explosive playmakers in the league in Tyreek Hill. Hill is blistering fast with 4.2 speed, which is practically un-coverable. That was on display when the Chiefs were down to the 49ers by 10 points with 7 minutes left in the game. It was 3rd-and-15 and the Chiefs needed to convert. If the Chiefs didn’t convert, the 49ers would have taken over with the ball and chewed out a few minutes at least. Mahomes took the snap and delivered a 44-yard bomb to one of the league’s elite deep threats, Tyreek Hill, and converted the biggest down of the game to that point.
To this Any Reid-orchestrated offense, the Chiefs added a running in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft to round out their offensive unit. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was brought over to make an instant impact in Year One. The former LSU star was the first running back off the board with the last pick in round one.
Mahomes reportedly had a strong say in the team’s decision to bring the particular RB on board, and that played a major factor in their draft choice over the other running backs like D’Andre Swift and Jonathan Taylor.
Do the Chiefs really have a stronger offensive trio than the Saints? I don’t believe so. Mahomes is great, and he may be the future face of this league, but the tale of last season shows a different story.
2019 statistics (Pro Football Reference):
- Drew Brees: 27 touchdowns, 116.3 passer rating (11 games)
- Patrick Mahomes: 26 touchdowns, 105.3 passer rating (13.5 games)
Mahomes was fantastic in the playoffs and showed grit by leading multiple comebacks to win the Super Bowl trophy. There were repeated struggles in those games that could have easily turned in a different outcome.
To be honest, Mahomes was down by over 20 points in the divisional round against a J.J. Watt-less Texans defense, and if he was in that situation against an elite defense that the Saints faced like the Vikings, Mahomes may have had a short 2020 campaign and different off-season story.
Outside of the quarterback situation featuring two quarterbacks that battled it out for MVP in 2018, there’s two other crucial positions to match up. Wide receiver Michael Thomas just became the second wide receiver to ever win Offensive Player of The Year, and the first since Jerry Rice.
Tyreek Hill is arguably a top-five WR, but his pedigree can’t be mentioned above the Offensive Player of The Year in 2019, Michael Thomas.
Last but not least, the running back situation is intriguing. Rookie running backs usually come in fresh to the league and make many plays from defenses not knowing how to adjust. Edwards-Helaire will be able to contribute on the ground and through the air. Their previous starter, Damien Williams, opted of the 2020 season, so there should be plenty of touches for Clyde.
Edwards could put up 1,200+ all purpose yards and 10+ touchdowns, but he can’t be near the ranking that Kamara has earned before taking his first NFL snap. Edwards could only hope to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, an award Kamara has already grabbed himself in the 2017 season.
The Chiefs are exciting to watch, and Mahomes may be the face of the NFL for the next 15 years. Yes, Brees is 41-years-old and doesn’t fit in the mold of an “exciting” quarterback who has a rocket arm and dual-threat ability, but he’s still an elite QB for Sean Payton’s offense. Michael Thomas was the best offensive player in the league last year, and did so without Brees for five games, so he should be ranked ahead of speed demon, Hill. Kamara is a top-5 all-around running back right now, and Edwards-Helaire is an unproven player, who was a late first-round pick. At this moment, the Saints offensive trio has to start the 2020 season as the number offensive triplet in the NFL, despite NFL.com’s ranking.
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