Lance Zierlein's Z-Report

Are the Rams, Chiefs, or Saints the best offense ever? Let's take a look

Drew Brees has a great shot at MVP this year. Michael C Hebert/Saints team site

All we’ve heard about over the last two years is sniping and arguing about the NFL’s television ratings and whether any decline was due to Colin Kaepernick and players kneeling for the national anthem. Granted, it’s calmed down some this season, but you couldn’t go a day without hearing, reading or watching stories and arguments about it.

Through all of that noise, football was busy having three teams quietly building offensive juggernauts the likes we’ve rarely seen in NFL history. The addition of Alvin Kamara to the Saints has given them a next level offense and new age weapon to deploy. The Chiefs combination of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce was already lethal, but it took an “Air Raid” quarterback from Texas Tech to unleash total hell on the rest of the league. The Rams? They are just hoarding offensive talent, and they use the first pick of the 2016 draft to the tune of 35.3 points per game.

College offense comes to the pros

On November 4th, the Saints and Rams combined for 80 points and 970 total yards. To put that in perspective, the Texans and Redskins combined for 44 points and 598 yards this weekend. Of course the Rams and Chiefs weren’t going to be outdone, so they combined for 105 points and 1001 yards in their historic Monday Night Football game. College offenses have infiltrated the NFL and the results are actually very entertaining.

The Saints and Patriots have been running spread offenses for years, but the Rams and Chiefs added legitimate, every-down running backs to the mix to keep their train moving in case the passing game ever goes sideways (which it rarely does). Stringent officiating against defenses along with the addition of RPOs (run-pass-option) and jet sweeps almost makes these three offenses unfair. However, it may surprise you to find out that all three of these explosive offenses are unlikely to end up as the top dog all-time.

Untouchable numbers?

Ask anyone who the greatest NFL offense was and one of the first answers will be “The Greatest Show on Turf” Rams team from 1999-2000, but they averaged 32.8 ppg. The 2007 Patriots were unstoppable until they got to the Super Bowl, and they averaged 36.8 ppg and 295 ypg passing. The winner? Peyton Manning’s 2013 Denver Broncos offense averaged 37.9 ppg, 340 ypg passing and finished with 55 passing touchdowns and 71 total touchdowns.

Now keep in mind that Peyton Manning didn’t have RPOs and jet-sweeps and was a statue in the pocket. He was also coming off a season where he didn’t even play football because of an arm injury, and had a weak arm even before his injury. For as great as these offensive explosions are in 2018, what Peyton Manning and the Broncos did in 2013 will likely never be touched. Oh yeah, they also lost in the Super Bowl just like the 2007 Patriots did. Stats are great, but rings are better. One of the “big three” is going to get the ring this season. There simply isn’t any other team who can keep up with them on the scoreboard.

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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