Raheel Ramzanali: How good does your offensive line have to be to win the Super Bowl?

The Texans offensive line was bad last year. This year one website says it is the worst. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Working in sports radio in the month of July is a blast because we get to repeat storylines and talk NFL without seeing any of our questions answered for another two months. One storyline that is hot right now is the Texans O-line. Pro Football Focus was not high on them and had them ranked 32nd as a unit. On paper, this O-line is not good, but man, when Deshaun and the offense were rolling, we weren’t questioning the line as much as we are now. So, is it possible to win with a below average line in the NFL?

Using the adjusted run and pass rankings from Football Outsiders, I looked at where the final four teams ranked in both run and pass. You can see the breakdown of what Football Outsiders uses to measure O-line play here. Note: after talking to several NFL writers and “gurus,” these rankings were the best to use since they only accounted for the regular season and looked at key indicators and not human grades.

2013 (Run/Pass)

  • San Francisco 29/22

  • Seattle 9/32

  • New England 1/9

  • Denver 8/1


  • Indianapolis 16/7

  • New England 5/2

  • Green Bay 8/13

  • Seattle 4/24


  • Arizona 3/5

  • Carolina 12/21

  • New England 2/18

  • Denver 17/13


  • Pittsburgh 3/4

  • New England 9/6

  • Green Bay 19/11

  • Atlanta 10/23


  • Minnesota 19/6

  • Philadelphia 22/12

  • Jacksonville 13/5

  • New England 1/13

Here are some key takeaways for me:

  • The average run ranking for the eventual champion was 12.4 and the average pass ranking was 13. Basically, you have to be slightly better than average in both the run and pass to win it all.

  • The best pass protection line out of the four only won it all once, New England in 2014.

  • The best run line out of the four never won it all in the last five years.

  • Seattle was the only team with a pass protection score less than 13 to win it all and that team did it with defense.

  • The only constant in the last five years is that New England will be in the final four and the will more than likely have a top 10 unit both run and pass.

This column is by no means an attack on offensive linemen and their importance, but rather a look at how having a just above average O-line doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Texans fans, don’t let the constant badgering of your unit by sports radio hosts change your prediction of the Texans winning it all.


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