The choice to go with the youngest duo in the countdown is not regret-free. To get Luck-Hilton, there had to be some cuts: Colin Kaepernick-Anquan Boldin (San Francisco), Andy Dalton-A.J. Green (Bengals), Robert Griffin III and Pierre Garcon or DeSean Jackson (Washington) and Russell Wilson-Percy Harvin (Seattle) come to mind. For one, while not quite there yet, Luck has looked like a future superstar at quarterback. That helps. Hilton is perhaps a surprise pick over Reggie Wayne, but he and Luck locked up for nearly 2,000 yards and 12 TDs in his first two seasons, plus 393 yards in three postseason games. With Wayne and Hakeem Nicks drawing attention, Hilton may see fewer targets but better overall results in 2014. If not, don't be surprised if one of the aforementioned tandems perform better.
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Philip Rivers-Keenan Allen, Chargers
The least-experienced duo on this list. Rivers quickly acclimated to his '13 rookie target out of Cal. In Allen's first professional season, they connected for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. Those may be modest numbers compared to some of the other wideouts on this list, but Allen also put up a 142-yard and two-score gem against the Broncos in the playoffs, and Rivers proved once again last season that he's one of the most prolific QBs working. They should be on the same page from Day 1 this time around, so the numbers could jump significantly.
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Matt Ryan-Julio Jones, Falcons
Falcons wide receiver Roddy White may be the star of HBO's Hard Knocks, for good reason, but his younger and more physically gifted teammate has emerged as productive starter Matt Ryan's top target. Atlanta was all but robbed of Jones's third professional season -- he did rank second in the league with 580 receiving yards through five games before breaking his foot -- and with Jones and White back in the fold, the Falcons' passing game should not be in too much trouble. In 2012, Jones logged 1,200 yards and 10 scores, not including his 241 yards and two scores in two playoff games. If Ryan is going to lead Atlanta away from another 4-12 record, he'll find his 6-foot-3 star quite often.
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Tony Romo-Dez Bryant, Cowboys
The Cowboys duo gets the edge over Ryan and Jones based on career production, as they've hooked up for at least 900 yards and nine touchdowns in each of the past three seasons. Romo remains a solid NFL QB -- and, unfortunately, a commonly utilized punchline -- and he's relying on Bryant, who is entering his fifth NFL season, more and more. Bryant's targets have increased from 72 to 103 to 138 to 160 in successive years. It's not difficult to see why.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
Ben Roethlisberger-Antonio Brown, Steelers
When Mike Wallace inked a lucrative free agent contract with the Miami Dolphins last offseason, it opened the door for Antonio Brown to step in as the Steelers' No. 1 receiving option. No problem. The speedy wideout delivered with career highs in receptions (110), yards (1,499) and touchdowns (8) without a high-quality receiver drawing away coverages. Roethlisberger may not be the player he once was, but his numbers were strong in 2013 (4,261 yards, 28 TDs) and with Brown back he should know where he's going most of the time.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY SportsGreg M. Cooper
Drew Brees-Marques Colston, Saints
If Jimmy Graham were WR-eligible for this countdown's purposes, he and Brees would top the list. But although Graham technically lines up as a wide receiver more times than not -- and deserves to be paid like one -- he's still considered the best tight end on the planet. So we turn to Brees's top wideout. Colston has emerged as more of a possession receiver over time, but his long-running production with Brees under center is tough to question. He's put up six 1,000-yard seasons and 63 touchdowns (third-most since 2006) as Brees's sidekick. Colston was targeted 110 times last season, so the connection doesn't appear to be fading.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportDerick E. Hingle
Aaron Rodgers-Jordy Nelson, Packers
There's still an argument to be made, in a league boasting Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, for Aaron Rodgers as the best quarterback on the planet. Despite missing seven games with a broken collarbone last year, he amassed 2,536 yards passing and 17 touchdowns with only six interceptions. He hasn't matched his unreal 2011 season yet, but if he's going to give it a shot this season, Nelson is going to play a big role. Rodgers tends to spread the wealth, but with two 1,250-plus-yard seasons and 30 receiving touchdowns over the past three seasons, it's tough to ignore his top target. The two are typically on the same page.
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Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall, Bears
This was a difficult call -- not the "including a Bears duo" part, but the "Brandon Marshall vs. Alshon Jeffrey" part. Marshall and Jeffrey emerged as the NFL's top 1-2 punch at receiver last year while juggling quarterbacks, both eclipsing 1,250 yards and seven scores. Marshall is still The Guy, though, especially in the red zone. Only four other NFL players were targeted more in 2013. This is the flip side of the Rodgers-Nelson dynamic. While Cutler has established himself as a solid NFL starter, he would not find himself here without Marshall, who's hauled in 2,803 yards and 23 scores since moving to Chicago. Cutler hasn't accounted for all of that, but with these two and Jeffrey, the Bears' passing offense looks to be in good shape.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY SportsEd Szczepanski
Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson, Lions
In fairness, it would take a particularly poor quarterback to miss this list when throwing to Calvin Johnson, the league's most dangerous and productive receiver since entering the league in 2008. While Stafford has certainly suffered from decision-making issues in his career (73 INTs in 61 games), he and Megatron have clicked, connecting for the most yards (7,241) and touchdowns (50) since the quarterback's rookie season. The only other receivers to hit 6,000-plus yards over that span? Andre Johnson and Brandon Marshall. If Stafford can put everything together, this duo could make an argument for the No. 1 spot.
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Peyton Manning-Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
Three months after his 25th birthday, Demaryius Thomas, then entering his third NFL season, received a gift. It was presented to him by general manager John Elway: Peyton Manning, one of the most prolific quarterbacks in league history, was coming to Denver. In the two years since, Manning and Thomas have combined for 186 completions, 2,864 yards and 24 touchdowns, the third-best yardage and TD marks in the league over that span ... all while sharing Manning's attention with the likes of Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. Manning is an elite QB that makes receivers better anyways, but Thomas is a physical specimen producing at Marvin Harrison-type levels. Hard to beat those two.