With training camps set to kick off in a little over a month, it’s time to start looking ahead to power rank teams in the NFC ahead of the 2020 season.
The San Francisco 49ers are the defending NFC champions, but they’ll face plenty of competition in their efforts to make a return trip to the big game. It’s time to start thinking about how teams stack up against their competition for Super Bowl LV.
How do our power rankings sort out the teams in the NFC right now?
16. Detroit Lions
When a team that finishes the previous season 3-12-1, loses its best player and decides its only means of replacement will be a rookie, it typically spells disaster for the season ahead.
The Lions lost Darius Slay this offseason and replaced him with No. 3 overall draft pick Jeff Okudah. The former Ohio State Buckeye has superstar potential, but it is exceedingly rare when a rookie corner plays at an All-Pro level, which is where he’d need to be to replace Slay.
Instead, this will be a multi-year rebuild effort in Detroit because while they have some pieces in place, they’re not set up to compete with the best of the best in the NFC and have a quarterback who may be quickly aging out of the league, who also missed eight games due to injury in 2019.
The offense will be better – a healthy Matthew Stafford and rookie running back De’Andre Swift should ensure that. But, the Lions are still a couple of years from contention in a tough NFC North.
15. New York Giants
In 2019, the Giants officially hit the reset button, turning the franchise over to rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. While only 3-9 in his starts, Jones showed some positive signs that he has the stuff to be the next franchise quarterback of the team.
So, with the team now having their presumptive quarterback in place, along with one of the league’s top running backs in Saquon Barkley, it’s time for them to start building up the offensive and defensive lines to reach competitiveness. That will take some time: they took the top tackle prospect in the draft but it nearly always takes rookie left tackles some time to settle in.
The Giants also worked towards improving the secondary with the selections of safety Xavier McKinney (a steal in the second round) and cornerback Darnay Holmes in the fourth.
The team will need time to gel, and 2020 is unlikely to be their year. However, being ranked this low does not mean we do not believe they’re heading in the right direction. Giants fans should target 2021 as the time to rejoin contention in the NFC East.