New England Patriots (Previous Rank: 1) – The Patriots continue to win, and their offensive line continues to roll. They continue to move up the pass pro ranks as they are now sixth with a PA% of 19.9% thanks to another quality outing in which they only allowed five pressures. Earlier in the year, it looked like the Patriots wouldn’t have any pro-bowlers. Now they are likely to have two in Wynn and Mason, and if Onwenu was still starting, he’d probably make it as well. Also, don’t count out David Andrews. Creed Humphreys and JC Tretter are more deserving, but there’s enough time for Andrews to catch up with Tretter. This unit run-blocks well, and they’ve been the best pass-blocking unit in the NFL for almost two months. Their play is the reason an offense with one of the weakest all-around talent pools at the skill/QB positions in the NFL is now one of the hottest teams in the NFL and starting to draw Super Bowl expectations.
Dallas Cowboys (Previous Rank: 3) – The Cowboys o-line bounced back against the Raiders after a disappointing performance vs. the Chiefs. Tyron Smith was back in the lineup after missing three games, and his presence just seems to impact the entire unit. Steele struggled some in pass pro, but this unit held up well overall in pass pro, only allowing pressure at a rate of 17% and not allowing any sacks. The biggest surprise with this unit has been the quick improvement by Tyler Biadasz. He allowed 11 pressures in his first three starts, but in his last eight starts, he’s only allowed three pressures and has been one of the better pass-blocking centers in the league over the last month as he hasn’t allowed a pressure in his last four starts. Connor McGovern started his second straight game. He’s been solid, and while I’m sure the Cowboys coaching staff love the fact he hasn’t committed a penalty in those two starts, Williams is clearly the better player and should be allowed to re-enter the lineup with the hope that the benching helps him stop committing penalties. This offensive line has established they have seven legitimate starting-caliber offensive linemen, and that’s a good problem to have moving forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Previous Rank: 2) – The Bucs had a tough game vs. the Colts, but they pulled it out. The entire team has been dealing with injuries, but last week the injury bug hit the o-line for the first time when Ali Marpet was lost in the Giants game and ruled out for the Colts game. Then after only 10 snaps, backup guard Aaron Stinnie got injured, and Nick Leverett took over and struggled. He allowed four pressures and a sack. Despite being hampered by a third-stringer, this o-line still played well only allowing seven pressures at a rate of only 18%. They are still the best pass-blocking line, and they had one of their best run0blocking performances of the year as the team rushed for over 140 yards on 5.3 YPC.
Philadelphia Eagles (Previous Rank: 8) – The Eagles blew a chance to be in the 7th seed spot in the NFC by losing the Giants. Don’t blame the o-line though, because they had another excellent outing. Their great run-blocking paved the way for another 200-yard rushing performance, their third straight, and while they weren’t as good in pass pro. The decision-making of Jalen Hurts plagued the Eagles passing attack a lot more than pass protection issues. Kelce left the game with an injury but it isn’t considered to be severe and keep him out extended time.
Cleveland Browns (Previous Rank: 4) – Jack Conklin made his return to the lineup this week, but it only lasted 10 snaps before he left the game with a torn patellar tendon and is out for the season. Now that we know the Browns will be without Conklin the rest of the way, we’ll be judging this unit accordingly, and they haven’t been a consistent top-5 unit with Blake Hance at RT. Hance struggled in the loss vs. Baltimore and has the fourth-highest PA% of any tackle with 500 or more snaps. Wills also struggled, and he’s been up and down all year. The interior group of Bitonio, Tretter, and Teller is still the best in the league and will help sustain this unit as one of the best o-lines in the league, but with Conklin gone for the year, and Wills regressing, this isn’t the same o-line that everyone heralded as the best in the NFL last season.
Los Angeles Rams (Previous Rank: 5) – The Rams o-line played their worst game of the year coming off a bye week in a game in which they needed to win. They have now lost three straight games. The Rams gave up pressure at a rate of 33% and allowed two sacks. That makes two bad games in the last three for this unit. Even Whitworth, who was on an all-time great pace, struggled some as he allowed three pressures and a sack. Their overall body of work on the season calls for patience on overacting to downgrade this unit too much, but a bad game this Sunday vs. the Jags would cause real concern.
Los Angeles Chargers (Previous Rank: 6) – After three great games in a row from this group, they were due a bad game, and they had it vs. Denver. They allowed pressure at a rate of 31% plus two sacks and four penalties. Matt Feiler was a last-minute scratch, so he didn’t play, and that played a large role in this unit’s performance. Senio Kelemete started at LG in his place, and he allowed a team-high six pressures, one sack, and was penalized twice. This o-line should be fine moving forward with a healthy Feiler, but Schofield and Norton had been playing at a level that wasn’t sustainable for their talent level, so games like they played this week are to be expected.
New Orleans Saints (Previous Rank: 7) – The Saints o-line had been on a hot streak since coming off the bye going back to week 7 that ended last week in their loss to the Eagles. This group played even worse this week in another defeat to the Bills. They allowed pressure at a rate of 36% and allowed two sacks. The absence of Ramczyk has greatly impacted this line. Hurst has struggled in back-to-back games at RT and appears to be more comfortable on the left side. Ramczyk returned to practice this week and looks like he'll be back for the Cowboys game which should send Hurst back to LG and return this group to the level it was playing at from week seven through week 10.
Kansas City Chiefs (Previous Rank: 9) – Bye Week
Washington Football Team (Previous Rank: 11) – Despite what some might call a disappointing season, Washington finds themselves in a position in which if the playoffs started today, they’d be in. They’ve had a lot of issues, but their o-line has been one of the best position groups on the team so far, and they came through for them in their MFN win over Seattle. Washington utilized a run-heavy attack to dominate the time of possession, and while the run-blocking wasn’t outstanding, it was good enough to help keep the chains moving and keep Seattle off the field. They also held up well in pass pro only allowing eight pressures. The bad news is Wes Schweitzer left the game with an injury. There is currently no update on his status for the next game but Keith Ismael wasn’t that good in relief, so they need him back.
San Francisco 49ers (Previous Rank: 10) – The 49ers o-line has overcome the loss of McGlinchey in the run game. They had 208 yards rushing on 5.3 YPC and three TDs in their win over the Vikings. This unit hasn’t done as well in pass pro, however. They allowed pressure at a rate of nearly 47% vs. Min. and have allowed pressure at a rate of 31% in their last three games without McGlinchey. The 49er offense could struggle when they play teams that can stop their ground attack if this o-line isn’t better in pass pro.
Arizona Cardinals (Previous Rank: 12) – Bye Week
Indianapolis Colts (Previous Rank: 13) – It was the classic unstoppable force vs. the immovable object matchup for the Colts as they were one of the hottest run teams in the NFL going against the league’s best rush defense. The Colts o-line certainly didn’t dominate the Bucs upfront like they’ve done other teams, but they blocked well enough to rush for 107 yards on 5.4 YPC. This group’s problem is pass pro. After showing signs of improvement in that area in weeks five through nine, this group has regressed back to their poor pass blocking ways in their last three games. They allowed 14 pressures and three sacks vs. the Bucs. The good news is Quenton Nelson played his best game since returning from injury.
Baltimore Ravens (Previous Rank: 14) – The Ravens got an ugly win on SNF over the Browns. While their offense did struggle, it had a lot more to do with poor QB play than poor o-line play. The o-line had one of their best pass pro outings of the season only allowing pressure on 17.5% of their pass snaps. This group could’ve run-block better, but the lack of talent at the RB position is hurting this run game more than the run-blocking.
Cincinnati Bengals (Previous Rank: 15) – The Bengals o-line played well vs. Pit after back-to-back poor showings in weeks nine and 11. Cincy’s o-line only allowed five pressures, but it was even better in the run-game leading the way for nearly 200 rush yards on 5.2 YPC and three TDs. The Bengals have been one of the weaker run-blocking teams all season, so their performance vs. the Steelers was a welcomed sight. Spain remains the best of this group, but the play of Trey Hopkins lately has been impressive. He hasn’t allowed a pressure in his last three starts and is looking better in the run game as well.
Detroit Lions (Previous Rank: 18) – There’s usually not a lot of things going right for teams that don’t have a single win going into December, but the Lions offensive line has played well enough of late for them to move the ball on offense. They were solid in the run game on Thanksgiving vs. the Bears, and they provided serviceable pass protection on a small number of pass plays. Sewell continues to play well, Decker had a solid game, and Evan Brown is in the running for most improved offensive linemen with the year he’s having. He’s been starting at center since Ragnow went down in week four, and he’s done a good job. He’s only allowed four pressures all season and is second only to Rodney Hudson in PA% among centers.
Buffalo Bills (Previous Rank: 16) – The Bills dominated the Saints in the Thanksgiving primetime game, but the o-line wasn’t overly impressive. The Bills RBs were only able to rush for 2.9 YPC, and they allowed pressure at a rate of nearly 24% which is about league average. Dion Dawkins, who has been their best lineman throughout the year, really struggled allowing two sacks, five pressures, one TFL, and was penalized once. Outside of Dawkins, the protection mostly held up for Buffalo, and since Dawkins doesn’t play that poorly often, I think the Bills will continue to win game as long as they can protect Allen. This isn’t a great run blocking o-line, and that won’t change down the stretch of the season, so they’ll need to continue their trend of pass-blocking over their last three games.
Chicago Bears (Previous Rank: 17) – Given they were playing the Lions, it was quite a pedestrian performance by the Bears o-line. They were solid overall in pass pro only allowing pressure 20% of the time, but most of it came from the edges as Peters and Borom allowed a combined seven pressures. The interior only allowed two. The bigger issue was the inability of the Bears to establish the run. They only rushed for 68 yards on 2.3 YPC. On the season, this o-line has been slightly above average in pass pro allowing pressure 23.7% of the time.
Atlanta Falcons (Previous Rank: 22) – The Falcons o-line might have played their best all-around game of the year in their win over the Jags. They were dominant in both phases paving the way for nearly 150 yards and two TDs on five YPC on the ground. They were even better in pass pro as they only allowed four pressures. Atlanta is still alive for the playoffs in the NFC, and if their o-line can have more games like this one, they’ve got a chance.
Tennessee Titans (Previous Rank: 20) – I’ve got good news and bad news about this line. The good news is they’re on a hot streak in the run game as they’ve played well in that aspect in back-to-back weeks. Despite losing by 23, the Titans rushed for 270 yards. The bad news is they can’t protect Tannehill, and that’s a big problem because he’s the type of QB that needs ideal situations to thrive. They allowed pressure 38% of the time vs. NE and have fallen to 29th in pass pro with a PA% of 30.26% on the season.
New York Jets (Previous Rank: 23) – The Jets haven’t been consistently good in pass pro all year, but they had a solid outing in their win over the Texans. They only allowed seven pressures, and best of all, Duvernay-Tardif was much better in his second game with the Jets as he allowed no pressures after allowing seven the week before. Fant has been good at LT all year, Vera-Tucker is having a good rookie campaign, McGovern has improved since last season, and if Tardiff can play closer to how he did in week 12 vs. week 11 the rest of the way, the Jets o-line could finish as a top 20 line at the end of the year.
Denver Broncos (Previous Rank: 19) – The Broncos o-line has been awful in pass pro for the past two games now. They allowed pressure nearly 35% of the time vs. the Chargers. The biggest problem has been that Denver has been without both of their starting tackles in Bolles and Massie. It’s been reported that HC Vic Fangio is optimistic that both will be back next week. With both on the way back, it’s hard to put much stock in how this line has looked the past two weeks.
Minnesota Vikings (Previous Rank: 26) – It’s hard to know what to make of the Vikings. They’ve been competitive against so many good teams this year and have even beaten a few, yet when it looked like they were ready to reach out and grab the seven seed, they lost to the 49ers. The offensive line has been just as up and down as the team. What’s even weirder is the fact that this team can win when the line plays terribly as they did a week ago vs. the Packers, and lose when it plays great like it did on Sunday vs. the 49ers. The Vikings o-line played their best game of the year only allowing three pressures for the entire game.
Jacksonville Jaguars (Previous Rank: 28) – The Jags lost to Atlanta but at least their o-line played well. They had their best pass pro performance of the season only allowing five pressures at a rate of 11%. Now it helps any o-line to play the Falcons, so fans shouldn’t read too much into the performance. The biggest takeaway from this game for the Jags o-line is that Brandon Linder was back in the lineup for the first time since week five, and he looked good.
Green Bay Packers (Previous Rank: 21) – The Packers easily beat the Rams but it had more to do with their excellent defense and the brilliance of Rodgers than it did the o-line. Some in the media praised this o-line for not allowing a sack despite the injuries but that’s a low bar. They allowed 19 pressures at a rate of nearly 39%, three TFL, and were penalized three times. They also struggled run-blocking. We know Jenkins isn’t coming back, and at this point, I’ll believe Bakhtiari will play this year when I see him on the field for the first time. It’s not a knock on the packers that they struggled against a very good front with three starters out. Given their new reality, the expectations for this line moving forward needs to be drastically adjusted from what they were back in August.
Pittsburgh Steelers (Previous Rank: 25) – The Steelers got dismantled by the Bengals, and the o-line was part of the problem. They allowed pressure 27% of the time which was their second-highest mark of the season. It’s also coming off a performance the previous week in which they allowed pressure at a rate of 25% which was their second high mark of the season at that point. Dan Moore has been their worst pass-blocker all season and he struggled most on Sunday allowing five pressures. It’s becoming clearer each week, that this o-line can be exposed in pass pro when the quick passing game is taken out of the equation.
Seattle Seahawks (Previous Rank: 27) – The Seahawks have fallen apart, and so has their o-line. It’s hard to allow 13 pressures just from the interior, but this group accomplished just that in their MNF loss to Washington. Even more astonishing is the fact their starting center allowed six pressures alone. He and Kyle Fuller both were a disaster all night. I guess the good news is Brandon Shell has been respectable all year and Duane Brown seems to be playing a lot better. He’s only allowed two pressures in his last two starts.
New York Giants (Previous Rank: 29) – After back-to-back weeks of allowing pressure at a rate higher than 30%, the Giants had a good outing. They only allowed pressure 22% of the time in their win over the Eagles. Even Nate Solder played well. However, we’ll really see if this o-line is really improving or just had a lucky game next week vs. the blitz-happy Dolphins.
Las Vegas Raiders (Previous Rank: 30) – The Raiders pulled off an impressive upset win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and their o-line contributed. The overall pressure numbers weren’t great, but that was more about Brandon Parker, who allowed seven pressures and a sack, struggling more than a reflection of the entire line. The other four starters all played well, including Alex Leatherwood, who played the best game of his young career.
Carolina Panthers (Previous Rank: 24) – Cam Newton took a lot of heat for his performance vs. the Dolphins, but the Panthers o-line was just as bad. They allowed pressure 46% of the time, three sacks, and were penalized four times. They didn’t do much in the run game either. It was just a poor performance all-around, and the results were one of the worst offensive performances by any team this season.
Houston Texans (Previous Rank: 31) – The Texans o-line struggled in their loss to the Jets. They allowed five sacks and 12 pressures. Most surprising was Tytus Howard, their starting LG, playing well in his first career start at LT, so at least that’s a positive.
Miami Dolphins (Previous Rank: 32) – For the first time all season, the Dolphins allowed pressure at a rate less than 20%, and they did it vs. a defense that entered the week number one in pressure generated. Considering the fact the Dolphins had allowed pressure at a rate of over 40% in the previous three games leading into this one, I’d say the Dolphins o-line performance was the most surprising of the week and one of the most surprising of the year.