The QB is the highest paid position on many NFL teams, but just second to him is the left tackle. A QB or an RB are only as good as their o-line, as often demonstrated in this 2016 season. Teams that usually aren’t very good are doing much better this year from stellar performances from their offensive lines.
When betting on NFL games, there are too many statistics to use. Coming up with a pick can be difficult when you have to sift through the sea of meaningless statistics. Well, in one of the most underappreciated positions in football, how well the offensive line performs determines the result of many games. Start winning more bets in the NFL by studying the only stat that matters: the o-line.
We often bash the o-line for holding penalties and never praise them for opening running lanes and forming a solid pocket. In fact, the only time the offensive line is mentioned is when they get a penalty. However, without their offensive lines, many NFL teams would flat line.
There are plenty of examples in the league this year of teams that are performing better than expected thanks to their o-lines. And it’s no secret, these two teams also have the best offensive lines in football; the Raiders and Cowboys. Without their o-line, the Raiders and Cowboys wouldn’t even make the playoffs. But right now, the Raiders are 5-2 and first in a division they share with the Broncos. The Cowboys are 5-1 and also atop their division, despite losing starting QB Tony Romo and superstar Dez Bryant for much of the season. So how do they do it?
The Oakland Raiders have a deep bench when it comes to the o-line. Even with Menelik Watson, Austin Howard, and Matt McCants out (all starting linemen by the way,) they still boast a 5-2 record with no help from their porous defense. However, the Raiders are putting up insane points with QB Derek Carr because he has plenty of time to throw. The Raiders are first in both sacks allowed and hits to the QB. If his o-line keeps the QB standing, the offense has the chance to make plays, which is all that head coach “Black” Jack Del Rio needs.
On the other hand, even with Tony Romo out, the Dallas Cowboys’ rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot are leading the team to a 5-1 record. A scrambling QB like Dak can create nightmares for linemen because they can’t keep track of where he is, often resulting in a holding penalty. Even though Dak is a mobile QB, the offensive line is 2nd in the league in sacks allowed. Zeke is already finding his groove in the NFL, as he took little to no time to acclimate to this higher competition. Who can he thank? His offensive line.
The worst teams in the NFL try to take the quick route by trading for a QB or receiver, in hopes that a superstar will turn their franchise around. They don’t realize a team with a bad o-line cannot win consistently because they are fundamentally flawed. Other teams like the Broncos and Patriots thank their winning cultures to their o-line. So take note, Cleveland Browns.