While questions still surround the NFL season for 2020, it’s never too early nor any less fun to make an early power ranking ahead of the season. I find the power rankings that conclude the draft are often more difficult. I gave myself adequate time to digest each team’s draft class. Even with time, it is still hard to not feel some sense of excitement and positive vibes surrounding many teams.
Throughout the NFL season, I posted weekly power rankings for the Huddle. The last one I posted was week 12, where I compared every NFL team to a rule from Wedding Crashers.
In the rankings below, I will share where that team left off as of week 12 in 2019. It is pretty remarkable to see how much teams fall in the last four weeks and how you feel about them post free agency and draft.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Previous Rank: 20
Jacksonville is in such a weird spot at the moment. Head Coach Doug Marrone feels like he is in a win now situation, however, this roster doesn’t seem likely to win now. I fully believe between their own pick and the 1st they received from the Rams for Jalen Ramsey, they should be in the sweepstakes for Trevor Lawrence. Unless of course they decide to go all in on Gardner Minshew. Either way, I still see them holding one if not two top 10 picks next year.
31. Washington Redskins
Previous Rank: 30
After drafting Chase Young (despite my bust radar going off about him), they bolster one of the NFL’s best defensive lines by a mile. They used most of their draft capital to bolster the offense in order to help second year QB Dwayne Haskins. Newly hired Head Coach Ron Rivera has his work cut out as the Redskins are in total rebuild mode.
30. Detroit Lions
Previous Rank: 19
The Lions had a quality draft grabbing CB Jeffrey Okudah and Running Back D’Andre Swift as well as bolstering the offensive line. Will it be enough to cover their deficiencies? Probably not.
29. Miami Dolphins
Previous Rank: 31
This team remarkably won five games last season. Head Coach Brian Flores is the driving force behind that. I love where Miami is headed. They got their QB in Tua Tagovailoa, without needing to move up. They used most of their draft capital as insurance grabbing a handful of offensive lineman. They are on the right path.
28. Carolina Panthers
Previous Rank: 16
Under new coach Matt Rhule, we know where Carolina is headed. They re-signed their stud running back Christian McCaffrey. They signed former Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater. They used every draft pick on defense. I feel Carolina will be competitive, but they have a tall order in the NFC South.
27. New York Giants
Previous Rank: 29
The Giants should be better than last year, but I wonder if GM Dave Gettleman is on a collision course with getting the axe should they not perform well enough.
26. Cincinnati Bengals
Previous Rank: 32
It remains to be seen if the Bengals will break the playoff drought. But maybe they found their answer with Joe Burrow. The roster has plenty of talent, but can they actually put it together?
25. New York Jets
Previous Rank: 28
Joe Douglas put the pieces in place for Sam Darnold to take a major step forward. Will he? The other question is Head Coach Adam Gase.
24. Chicago Bears
Previous Rank: 24
The Bears looked like they were on to some promising years after making the playoffs two seasons ago. However, the division got healthier (Aaron Rodgers) and the Bears fell under the fold. Now they have a QB battle brewing between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles.
23. Los Angeles Rams
Previous Rank: 11
In terms of salary cap, this is the worst imaginable situation the Rams could be in. Their offensive line was miserable last season and they didn’t do it much help using their picks on RB Cam Akers and WR Van Jefferson. I love both of them, but their QB is overpaid and he doesn’t have protection. Seems like wasted picks.
22. Arizona Cardinals
Previous Rank: 21
This feels way too low to rank the Cardinals based on their off-season. Wow. They made Bill O’Brien a laughing stock when they stole receiver DeAndre Hopkins for pennies on the dollar. They got better on the offensive line after Kyler Murray was sack lunched 48 times last season. They landed do it all defensive stud, Isaiah Simmons. I could see them making a massive leap in these power rankings by week 4.
21. Los Angeles Chargers
Previous Rank: 25
The defense is completely set top to bottom. Whether Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert starts at QB, they won’t need to score in bunches to win. All they need to do is protect the ball and control the clock.
20. Atlanta Falcons
Previous Rank: 23
Head Coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff both should be on the chopping block in 2020. They didn’t get off to a great start in the draft reaching on cornerback AJ Terrell and still lack a pass rush. I don’t see them improving much.
19. Oakland Raiders
Previous Rank: 15
They certainly went all in on making their offense more explosive going receiver heavy early in the draft.
18. Houston Texans
Previous Rank: 14
The biggest question mark in the NFL is Bill O’Brien and his Texans team. Considering he has five winning records in six seasons with Houston, this seems like a benefit of the doubt situation. The reality is he traded his best player for essentially nothing in return. Now everyone is questioning him, as they should.
17. Cleveland Browns
Previous Rank: 22
I am still in the camp of Baker Mayfield believers. The offense was miserably bad in the redzone last season. They signed one of the NFL’s top tackles in Jack Conklin and drafted tackle Jedrick Wills in the 1st round. They also signed a great redzone threat in tight end Austin Hooper. The writing is on the wall for this offense to become more explosive, especially with a healthy Odell Beckham.
16. Denver Broncos
Previous Rank: 27
The Broncos took a major leap in my personal rankings for a few reasons. Drew Lock surprised many with how poised and well he did in his rookie campaign. They went all in this off-season in free agency and the draft to surround Lock with talent. Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy fell into their lap after being rumored they would trade up for him. This offense could potentially be one of the most fun to watch in the NFL next season.
15. New England Patriots
Previous Rank: 1
No Tom Brady with a terrible offensive supporting cast, smells like trouble for New England.
14. Seattle Seahawks
Previous Rank: 4
It feels dirty having a Russell Wilson led Seahawks squad in the middle of the road, the NFC is better as a whole so it could be the reality. There is much to be desired on the defensive side of the ball. He has only missed the playoffs once. I won’t bet on them missing the playoffs, but they should based on the roster. Perks of great quarterbacking though.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
Previous Rank: 13
Although they slightly reached on Jalen Raegor in the first round, they filled a need at receiver. While it was questioned, I love their decision to draft Jalen Hurts as insurance for Carson Wentz, who has dealt with plenty of injuries.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Previous Rank: 7
The Vikings shouldn’t miss a beat after addressing most of their major needs with the 15 draft picks they had in 2020.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
Previous Rank: 18
If Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy, the Steelers should be a team to look out for. The identity of the Steelers could bring us back to the mid to late 2000’s when the defense was the focal point of their success followed by adequate offense.
10. Green Bay Packers
Previous Rank: 6
They get a top 10 nod because of one man only, Aaron Rodgers. They fumbled the draft miserably though.
9. Indianapolis Colts
Previous Rank: 9
The Colts were average last season since they had to call an audible after Andrew Luck retired. Jacoby Brissett looked like he could maybe help them reach the postseason early on, but dwindled as the season progressed. Now, they have a great veteran in Philip Rivers. They traded their first round pick for stud lineman DeForest Buckner and drafted the likes of WR Michael Pittman Jr. and RB Jonathan Taylor. This team could potentially be great this season. I hope so for Rivers’ sake.
8. Buffalo Bills
Previous Rank: 12
The biggest win for them in the off-season was acquiring Stefon Diggs. That finally gives them a solid number one at receiver versus a roster full of number threes. Barring a major setback, they should be a dead runaway with the AFC East.
7. Tennessee Titans
Previous Rank: 17
They lost offensive tackle Jack Conklin and drafted Isaiah Wilson to replace him. As long as they can keep the train that is Derrick Henry running full steam, this team is hard to beat. In the playoffs, we saw how bad they can impose their will on teams who have no answer for the 6-8 yard gains every play.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Previous Rank: 26
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski reunited. They sure up the exterior of their offensive line drafting tackle Tristan Wirfs. The NFC South became a whole lot more fun.
5. Dallas Cowboys
Previous Rank: 8
The Cowboys became your classic case of letting the draft fall to them. CeeDee Lamb at 17 to play alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup is filthy. They spent their next four picks on defensive players to sure up an above average defense.
4. Baltimore Ravens
Previous Rank: 2
Can Lamar Jackson re-live his MVP season in 2020? We will find out soon enough. The Ravens certainly did their part in patching up holes on their roster, namely linebacker and receiver.
3. New Orleans Saints
Previous Rank: 5
New Orleans just cut Larry Warford, who dwindled by season’s end. They landed Cesar Ruiz in the draft who will start right away. Luckily, they have Erik McCoy, Andrus Peat and Ruiz who can play multiple spots on the line. They traded up in round two to draft arguably the best linebacker in the draft not named Isaiah Simmons in Zack Baun.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Previous Rank: 10
Patrick Mahomes. I don’t need another reason.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Previous Rank: 3
They traded for Trent Williams giving them a great offensive tackle. They landed Javon Kinlaw to replace DeForest Buckner. They grabbed a receiver early. The team addressed every hole on their roster in a big way.