With the NFL Championship games approaching on Sunday, let’s focus on the non-quarterback weapons on offense that will be on display.
The final four teams are loaded with great offensive talent, and while it’s impossible to name them all, here’s our list of the top 10 non-quarterback offensive weapons on the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions.
1. Christian McCaffrey:
49ers Christian McCaffery is arguably the most dynamic player in the NFL and was a legitimate MVP candidate. McCaffrey is the biggest headache in the playoffs for defensive coordinators as he affects the game so much. The man who scored the game-winning touchdown against the Green Bay Packers last week will be a major problem for the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
2. Amon-Ra St. Brown:
The playoffs have given the casual fan who may not have watched the Lions much a chance to see brilliant young receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. The 24-year-old was tied for the second-most receptions during the regular season as he had 119 catches for 1,515 and 10 touchdowns. The third-year player has continued to produce big in the playoffs as he has 15 catches for 187 yards and one touchdown in two games. Expect more production against the 49ers this week.
3. Travis Kelce:
Travis Kelce’s production has lessened some, but he is still a major force and a huge threat to the Baltimore Ravens’ defense. Kelce ended a seven-game touchdown drought on Sunday by scoring twice in Kansas City’s upset win at Buffalo in the Divisional round. Him and Patrick Mahomes have a special connection in the playoffs as they own the quarterback-receiver postseason touchdown combination record with 16 in just six seasons. Also, Kelce is six catches away from tying Jerry Rice’s all-time postseason reception record. Kelce will be Mahomes’ top option Sunday, whether girlfriend Taylor Swift is in attendance or not.
4. Sam LaPorta
This Detroit Lions rookie has been incredible. It usually takes tight ends time to make an impact, but the No. 34 overall pick from Iowa made an instant impact. Coming off a Week 18 injury, Sam LaPorta had nine catches for 65 yards against Tampa Bay in the Divisional round. LaPorta had 86 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns in the 2023 regular season. A supreme route runner, LaPorta is going to be a problem for a long time.
5. Brandon Aiyuk:
Brandon Aiyuk is underrated and is a playmaker. He has had a great season but he might still get lost in the 49ers’ riches of talent on offense, despite having had 75 catches for 1,342 yards (a whopping 17.9 per catch average) and seven scores this season. With fellow weapon Deebo Samuel dealing with a shoulder injury, Aiyuk may get even more chances to break off big plays Sunday.
6. Jahmyr Gibbs:
Lions’ Jahmyr Gibbs may be considered the best running back in the league in the next couple of years. The No. 12 overall draft pick has come on strong in the second half of the 2023 season and had 74 yards on nine carries against Tampa Bay in the Divisional round. The Lions still use Gibbs in a committee with David Montgomery, but Gibbs is a game breaker.
7. Zay Flowers:
Hey, another rookie! The first-round pick from Boston College had 77 catches for 858 yards in the regular season. He has been the Ravens’ top weapon in 2023, especially with tight end Mark Andrews hurt. Expect Lamar Jackson to go to Flowers often against the Chiefs’ tough secondary.
8. George Kittle:
George Kittle is a big-game performer. The 49ers’ star tight end lives for the spotlight. He had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional round so expect him to be primed to try to outperform LaPorta in the championship game.
9. Rashee Rice:
Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice is our fourth rookie on this list as the second-round draft pick from SMU has become Mahomes’ most reliable wide receiver. He had 79 catches for 938 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023, and had 12 catches for 177 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ two playoff games. If he has a big game on Sunday, the Chiefs may get their second straight road upset win.
10. Isiah Pacheco:
We finish with the Chiefs’ running back. It’s no coincidence that the Kansas City’s offensive woes have cleared up as Isiah Pacheco has regained his health as his presence takes pressure off of Mahomes. That was evident in Buffalo against the Bills in the Divisional round as Pacheco rambled for 97 yards on 15 carries with a score. Watch for the Chiefs to work on getting Pacheco rolling in Baltimore vs. the Ravens on Sunday.