With the 2020 season kicking off this week, it’s time for the first NFL power rankings of the year.
Jacksonville is in the midst of a full-scale rebuild, and unless Gardner Minshew is fantastic, the Jaguars are the favorites to land the No. 1 pick.
Washington Football Team
It’s Terry McLaurin, maybe Dwayne Haskins and nobody else for Washington. It’s going to be a long year offensively.
New York Jets
Adam Gase is involved. Not good.
New York Giants
Can Joe Judge turn the tide? It starts with Daniel Jones cutting down on fumbles and the defense getting off the field on third down.
The Bengals might lose a bunch of games, but the offense is going to score. Joe Burrow will be fun to watch.
The weapons are real in Carolina, but so is a very young defense in the league’s best division. A tough combination to survive.
Miami could climb quickly from here. The Dolphins finished 5-4 in their last nine games of 2019 and looked to be building something intriguing.
If Matthew Stafford is healthy, the Lions are a darkhorse to compete for a wild card spot. If not, it’s house-cleaning time.
Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr is facing a critical year. He has ample weapons, but does he finally throw the ball downfield or continue to play it safe?
If Drew Lock is for real, the Broncos are a playoff team. If he’s not, and Garret Bolles remains at his prior talent level, Denver could be profoundly disappointing.
Nick Foles needs to be an upgrade over Mitchell Trubisky. If he’s not, the Bears could finish in last place.
Deshaun Watson is great, but J.J. Watt is aging and the rest of the roster is below-average across the board.
Outside of Kansas City, Cleveland might have the best skill-position players in football. The question is whether new head coach Kevin Stefanski can fix Baker Mayfield.
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles went 9-7 last year, but the Rams felt like a group on the wrong side of contention. Jared Goff needs to step up, and the offense needs young playmakers to make an impact.
Los Angeles Chargers
If the Chargers are going to win with Tyrod Taylor, it’ll be behind a knockout defense and Austin Ekeler having a Pro Bowl campaign.
New England Patriots
Can the Patriots keep the streak of AFC East crowns alive with Cam Newton? The talent around him is suspect, but Newton and Bill Belichick are a formidable duo.
Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury are a dangerous pairing in the desert. Factor in the heist of DeAndre Hopkins and a solid draft, and the Cardinals could be a playoff team in 2020.
Atlanta has talent. Last year, the Falcons finished 6-2 over their final eight games once now-defensive coordinator Raheem Morris took over the defense. Keep an eye on this team.
Indianapolis is intriguing. The Colts are banking on an improved Philip Rivers, a solid front seven and a young secondary. Also, can Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor produce right away?
Can Ryan Tannehill be a Pro Bowl quarterback again? Will the defense absorb the losses of Logan Ryan and Jurrell Casey? Huge questions in Nashville for a talented squad.
It’s all about Josh Allen. If Allen plays well, the Bills are Super Bowl contenders. If he doesn’t, the heat under his seat will be searing.
The offense is going to be terrific with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper leading the way. However, the defense is a major concern, specifically the secondary.
Philadelphia has all the components of a title contender. The Eagles’ biggest problem is staying healthy, something which is already a concern.
If Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, the Steelers have a case as the biggest threat to Kansas City in the AFC. Pittsburgh’s defense is nasty and could be the top unit in football.
The Vikings have two All-Pro level defenders on each level, and an offense featuring Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, rookie receiver Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins. Minnesota is going to be there in January.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The biggest problem for Tampa Bay is simply gelling early on. Tom Brady is motivated, Rob Gronkowski is healthy and the combination of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is filthy.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers may not have enough weapons, but he’s got fuel for days after the team traded up for Jordan Love. Additionally, Green Bay has an underrated defense.
Russell Wilson is phenomenal, the weapons around him are fantastic and the defense, while undermanned, at least landed Jamal Adams to anchor the unit.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco looks to repeat as NFC champions with a great defensive line and an offense built to pound the ball. The main concern: Jimmy Garoppolo in obvious passing downs.
Baltimore is loaded. Lamar Jackson is due to regress but he’s still a top MVP candidate. All that said, the Ravens must throw the ball better to win in January.
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans is stacked across the roster. The Saints have Drew Brees in what’s likely his final year, Alvin Kamara in the backfield and Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas on the outside. If the defense is solid, New Orleans has the best team in the NFC.
Kansas City Chiefs
No team has repeated since 2004, but the Chiefs are well-positioned to buck that trend. Kansas City has Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, the best weapons in football and an underrated defense. They also locked up the entire core this offseason, and didn’t lose an assistant coach.
In short, the Chiefs are the clear favorite to win it all again.