Aerial Assault: Dissecting “Expert’s” Top QB-WR Duos of 2023

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By Ron Johnson

The ‘experts’ weighed in on who they felt were the top QB-WR duos heading into the season. We see some issues with these right out the gate. If you had saw a post on X from Dunkin Dad, he has good reason to call BS on this list…as do I. And there are a lot of list to choose from.

So let’s begin.

Fox Sports

5) Buffalo’s Josh Allen & Stefon Diggs, 4) Philly’s Jalen Hurts & A.J. Brown, 3) Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa & Tyreek Hill, 2) Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins & Justin Jefferson, 1) Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow & Ja’Marr Chase

In some fairness, we partially agree with Fox Sports. Yes, they had some hits, but they also had some misses. The relationship between Allen and Diggs is a little sore from the last time we saw this pair on the field, which was in January.

After Diggs showed his frustration in their loss to Cincinnati, it was apparent that the bond between the two had some cracks in it. Hurts and Brown have managed to gel well in their brief time together, but the Super Bowl left a bad taste in their mouths.

While we didn’t get to see the Tua-Cheetah Show in full force last season, there is much more promise this season with a healthy Tua under center. Cousins and Jefferson have shown what happens when you trust your quarterback…no matter how bad Kirk Ice executes game plans in the playoffs.

As for Burrow and Chase, there is no question that they are the best duo heading into the season, but they also have had years prior to this to get their relationship right since they were a part of that LSU National Championship Team. 

But as much as despise the Cowboys, how did Dak and CeeDee not make this top five list? What about Stafford and Kupp? Jimmy and Davante? Brock and Aiyuk or Brock and Kittle? Mahomes & Kelce? Watson and Cooper? There were so many names missing from this list, and yet Emmanuel Acho was more than confident to unveil this list. As I said before, Fox Sports hit and missed with this list.

Who are the best QB-WR duos ahead of the 2023 NFL season? | FOX Sports

Bleacher Report

8) LA Chargers’ Justin Herbert & Mike Williams, 7) Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa & Tyreek Hill, 6) Dallas’s Dak Prescott & CeeDee Lamb, 5) Philly’s Jalen Hurts & A.J. Brown, 4) LA Rams Matthew Stafford & Cooper Kupp, 3) Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow & Ja’Marr Chase, 2) Buffalo’s Josh Allen & Stefon Diggs, 1) Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins & Justin Jefferson

B/R goes top eight on their list, and a few of the names forgotten by Fox Sports appear on this list. But this is the second list that does not include a Niner or a Chief on it, which is insane. If the Chargers had a different coach, I would be able to forget the non-existence of Herbert and Williams were in their first playoff appearance against Jacksonville last year.

Prescott did not trust Lamb enough to get it done in the playoffs, which is why that last play for the Cowboys will always be the most bonehead play in NFL history.

Stafford and Kupp proved fruitful for the Rams on their way to a Super Bowl, but with both practically broken last season, they were unable to perform up to their standards. While we agree with some of the rankings on this list, it is the appearances of some and absences of other top tier duos that makes us wonder how complete this list really is.

Ranking NFL’s Top QB-WR Duos Ahead of 2023 Draft | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

TWSN

7) Dallas’s Dak Prescott & CeeDee Lamb, 6) Philly’s Jalen Hurts & A.J. Brown, 5) LA Rams Matthew Stafford & Cooper Kupp, 4) Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa & Tyreek Hill, 3) Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins & Justin Jefferson, 2) Buffalo’s Josh Allen & Stefon Diggs, 1) Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow & Ja’Marr Chase

TWSN chose to drop a top seven rather than a five, eight or ten. While we are all about our list, and the madness that comes with it, should any of us be surprised by the fact that Burrow and Chase are in the top three of almost everyone’s list? As stated previously, they have been a threat tandem since their LSU days, however, no Niners or Chiefs make this list either. When you look at it, the Chargers didn’t make this list after making their debut on the previous one.

Now a part of me can understand why the Chiefs would not make this list because it did appear that Travis Kelce, who is a tight end on the team, would not qualify for this one, but keep in mind: The Chiefs just won the Super Bowl without Tyreek Hill and utilizing players that were considered scrubs and wash-outs by those very same “experts” prior to the last season.

But I would have at least expected Brock Purdy and Brandon Aiyuk to make this list at some point considering the chemistry it would take for a rookie quarterback to gain the trust of a top-notch wideout. 

Ranking the Top NFL Quarterback-Wide Receiver Duos Entering 2023 | The Wright Way Network (twsn.net)

Sportskeeda

7) Carolina’s Bryce Young & Adam Thielen, 6) Chicago’s Justin Fields & D.J. Moore, 5) LA Rams Matthew Stafford & Cooper Kupp, 4) Philly’s Jalen Hurts & AJ Brown, 3) Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson & Odell Beckham, Jr., 2) Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow & Ja’Marr Chase, 1) NY Jets Aaron Rodgers & Garrett Wilson

Now Sportskeeda went a different avenue for its list as it predicted the duos that will light up the NFL this upcoming season. We already know Thielen is a playmaker, and Young should flourish in that Carolina offense. Chicago needs something to smile about, and getting arguably one of the most underrated wideouts in the game today would be a way to get at least a grin out of Chicagoans for the moment. But it has to result in wins in order to win the crowd. A healthy Stafford plus a healthy Kupp should equal a more dangerous Rams squad heading into the new season.

I am intrigued by the two new duo setups that should light up the scoreboard, in theory. Seeing how the chemistry of Jackson and Beckham will work out is sure to keep Ravens fans glued to their set, if not for the spectacular plethora of one-handed grabs I see in the future. Rodgers and Wilson will be interesting mainly because Rodgers not only has Lazard back with him but also has Dalvin Cook in the backfield.

Wilson was a beast last season, and that was with a mediocre quarterback in Zack Wilson. But the Shoresy-like mentality of Zack Wilson still is not enough for fans to be deterred about the potential of Rodgers leading the Jets to a Super Bowl.

7 QB-WR duos that will light up NFL in 2023 feat. Lamar Jackson & Odell Beckham Jr. (sportskeeda.com)

Dead Seriousness

12) New England’s Mac Jones & JuJu Smith-Schuster, 11) Vegas’s Jimmy G & Davante Adams, 10) Green Bay’s Jordan Love & Christian Watson, 9) Indy’s Anthony Richardson & Michael Pittman, 8) New Orleans’ Derek Carr & Michael Thomas, 7) Tampa Bay’s Baker Mayfield & Mike Evans, 6) Carolina’s Bryce Young & Adam Thielen, 5) Dallas’s Dak Prescott & Brandin Cooks, 4) Chicago’s Justin Fields and DJ Moore, 3) NY Jets’ Aaron Rodgers & Garrett Wilson, 2) Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence & Calvin Ridley, 1) Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson & OBJ

Like Sportskeeda, Dead Seriousness chose to look at the best new hotness duos heading into the new season, and for the first time, Cincinnati did not make this list. But the teams that did even shock me. While I did mention a few of these names earlier, I did not expect some of them. Will the addition of JuJu return New England to its once dominant era in the AFC East? Will the tandem of Richardson and Pittman have Colts fans having visions of postseason dancing in their heads again?

How will the duo of Mayfield and Evans keep Tampa fans from missing the GOAT? Will Ridley’s Return mean a more positive season for the defending AFC South Champ Jaguars? Will Carr take advantage of his $100 million receiver in the Big Easy? And of course, how did some names NOT make this list that should be on it?

Ranking Every New QB-WR Duo Heading Into The 2023 NFL Season – Deadseriousness

Colin Cowherd

10) Detroit’s Jared Goff & Amon-Ra St. Brown, 9) Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa & Tyreek Hill, 8) Dallas’s Dak Prescott & CeeDee Lamb, 7) Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins & Justin Jefferson, 6) Buffalo’s Josh Allen & Stefon Diggs, 5) New Orleans’ Derek Carr and Chris Olave, 4) NY Jets’ Aaron Rodgers & Garrett Wilson, 3) Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes & Travis Kelce, 2) Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence & Calvin Ridley, 1) Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow & Ja’Marr Chase

This brings us to the most controversially ridiculous top ten so far. According to Colin Cowherd, Detroit, New Orleans, the Jets and even the Chiefs make his list. Yes, Kelce is a tight end, but no one can argue that he does not belong on this list. But again, Philly, San Fran and the Rams have a legitimate gripe with Colin.

This is the guy that caused the stink amongst the Bleacher Brothers Family with this list, mainly because he couldn’t help but throw Rodgers into the conversation. So let’s see this list.

Jared Goff was so ratchet in LA, he got sent to Detroit to resurrect his career. The following season, Stafford won a ring, and two years later, Goff almost got Detroit in the postseason. Instead of Michael Thomas as Carr’s No. 1, he chooses Olave. While admirable, we all know who the primetime target should and will be in New Orleans.

If both Chase and Burrow stay healthy all season, this should be the year Cincy wins the Super Bowl finally, however, they are playing in a division that generated the tagline, “Defense Wins Championships,” so that might not be as easy.

We eagerly await to see Ridley show up and show out in the AFC South, and if he and Lawrence get on the same page, expect a 10-win season for the Jags. Mahomes has proven time and again that as long as Kelce finds a way to get open, it will still be too easy for the Chiefs to find the endzone because…

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Now Colin has been in the game for a long period of time, so it makes sense that he would try to do his homework before making any major list. But this is also the guy that said a few years ago that no team would stop the Packers from winning another Super Bowl, even after the great Tom Brady was eliminated from the postseason by eventual champion LA. So to put this as simple as possible, I can say take Colin’s list with a grain of salt, but don’t put too much value into his picks. While some should be phenomenal this season, I got a feeling that with the way teams are beefing up their defenses, it won’t be that easy to release the Kraken so to speak.

Colin Cowherd Reveals His Top-10 NFL QB-WR Duos (thecoldwire.com)

QB / WR RANKINGS

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