Star groups of players often steal the spotlight in the NFL. Think of Seattle’s ‘Legion of Boom’ secondary or the Denver Broncos receiving corps in recent years. This season, the league has been dominated by high powered offenses in Arizona, Cincinnati and New England and stout defenses from the New York Jets and Denver. But which position groups are flying under the radar?
New York Jets offensive line
While not underrated in the talent sense (they have three former first round picks on the line), the Jets’ offensive line is playing better than ever, yet isn’t one of the team’s major talking points. The Jets have allowed just two sacks, the least in the NFL. In comparison Cincinnati, the second-least sacked team, has allowed six. The offensive line is also a major reason why Chris Ivory and New York’s running game has been so successful. The Jets have the best rushing offense in the league, averaging 146 yards per game.
Jacksonville Jaguars receivers
With Julius Thomas back from injury, Jacksonville’s offense has gained yet another dimension. The Jaguars are ranked 12th in passing offense, after finishing 31st last season. While Blake Bortles has had his struggles in Year 2, his receiving corps are making the most of their opportunities. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson have combined for 57 catches for 948 yards and nine touchdowns. Their combined yardage ranks them as the fourth most productive receiver tandem in the league. As long as the Jaguars receivers keep producing, Bortles has chances to win them games.
Green Bay Packers secondary
The defense hasn’t been the strength of the Packers in recent seasons. But so far this year, the defense has improved and is playing well. Behind the dominant front seven, Green Bay’s secondary is also making big plays. Yes, they gave up 503 yards to Phillip Rivers last week, but the Chargers scored just two touchdowns. Opposing quarterbacks have completed just 56.8% of their passes against the Packers, the second-least in the league after the Jets. The Packers have allowed seven touchdown passes but have made eight interceptions. The bend-don’t-break secondary gives the Packers another dimension for a potential title run.
Pittsburgh Steelers front seven
The defense looked like Pittsburgh’s main weakness during the offseason after years of being the teams’ strength. But they have improved with every game, especially up front against the run. The Steelers have allowed just 93.3 yards per game and just a single rushing touchdown. That bodes well in the run-heavy AFC North. The Steelers have also forced ten fumbles and have 17 sacks. With those numbers, Pittsburgh’s front seven could keep them in the AFC North race.
What do you think is the most underrated positional unit in the NFL?