Guys, we made it. It is officially GAME WEEK. After all the uncertainty involving COVID-19 and the immediate future of sports/life in general, we have weathered the storm, and we can officially say NFL football will be played this week. So, it is only appropriate to start Week One with a power ranking so at the end of the season, we can all look back and have a good laugh at all the bad takes.
My top 14 will be a ranking of each team that I consider a playoff team, and then the remaining 18 rankings are my non-playoff teams. Before we jump into it though, make sure to give yourselves a pat on the back because, and I can’t state this enough, we all did it! It is finally football season!
- Kansas City Chiefs
Next Game: 9/10 vs. HOU
No, it’s not the Tom Brady experiment in Tampa Bay. I don’t think there’s anywhere for the defending Super Bowl champs to be other than number one. They still have the best QB in the league in Patrick Mahomes, and they return all of their freaky fast receiving core. Oh, and they added the perfect running back for this system in rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
- Baltimore Ravens
Next Game: 9/13 vs. CLE
Baltimore had a very subpar playoff performance in the divisional round against the surprise Tennessee Titans. They also released S Earl Thomas after an incident in training camp. That said, this was a top five defense in 2019, so the loss of Thomas is not as big a deal. They also have the most unguardable QB in the league in Lamar Jackson. Combined with a three headed backfield in Ingram/Dobbins/Edwards and a great offensive line, this team should be another playoff lock and title contender. I think this team plays with a chip on their shoulder and wins the 2020 Super Bowl.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Next Game: 9/13 vs AZ
San Francisco was the best defensive unit during the second half of 2019. While they lost their leader, DeForest Buckner, they are basically adding Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander, who both had 2019 cut short due to injury. They also added LT Trent Williams to a great offensive line, and George Kittle is an explosive target at tight end that Jimmy Garoppolo gets to throw to every week. And I haven’t even mentioned they return Mostert and Coleman who helped this team lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns.
4. New Orleans Saints
Next Game: 9/13 vs. TB
The Saints return nearly every core player from a team that was a favorite to make the Super Bowl last year before faltering against the Vikings in the playoffs for the second time in three years. They solidified the offensive line with draft pick Erik McCoy, found some good defensive help with the return of Malcolm Jenkins, and they put a receiver to draw attention opposite Michael Thomas in Emmanuel Sanders. The only question mark (a big one) is Alvin Kamara’s health. Fourth time’s a charm, and this team finally makes it out of the NFC.
5. Buffalo Bills
Next Game: 9/13 vs NYJ
This is my Super Bowl dark horse out of the AFC. The Bills have been a theme throughout many of my fantasy pieces. The defense was incredible in 2019, and may have gotten better in 2020. Josh Allen has a receiver in Stefon Diggs. They retained their offensive line. Devin Singeltary may be ready for a breakout season. As long as Allen can limit his turnovers, this team will win the AFC East.
6. Seattle Seahawks
Next Game: 9/13 @ ATL
The offensive line is still a big question mark, but Russell Wilson will keep Seattle competitive and should win the MVP award this season. They also completely revamped their secondary with acquisitions of Jamal Adams and Quinton Dunbar. DK Metcalf is a great target to have and filling out the receiving core with Phillip Dorsett and Tyler Lockett gives Wilson lots of targets. Look for TE acquisition Greg Olsen to be a low key contributor to this team as well.
7. Dallas Cowboys
Next Game: 9/13 @ LAR
Dallas somehow ended up with one of the best receivers in the draft in CeeDee Lamb, and they retained 2019’s top five offensive line to provide protection for Dak Prescott and allow running space for Ezekiel Elliott. With Prescott entering his contract year without an extension and all these targets, he should play with a chip on his shoulder. This team is definitely the most talented roster in the NFC East, now will their play live up to that hype?
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
Next Game: 9/14 @ NYG
This is the first offseason in recent memory where the Steelers haven’t been involved in some offseason drama involving a star player. Ben Roethlisberger is back under center, and he has lots of weapons in James Conner, Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and rookie Chris Claypool. They also kept a very good defense intact that gets to benefit from a second place schedule. The big question mark is whether Roethlisberger stays healthy, or if come November, Mason Rudolph is back under center.
9. Indianapolis Colts
Next Game: 9/13 @ JAX
Indianapolis made a splash with the signing of Phillip Rivers, and they now have a two-headed monster in the backfield with Marlon Mack and rookie Jonathan Taylor behind what is arguably the best offensive line in the league. They should have plenty of running room, and it will nullify a lot of questions about Rivers’ ability to carry an offense. The defense is also great against the run and should be better against the pass this season. They will win the AFC South.
10. Minnesota Vikings
Next Game: 9/13 vs GB
It seems crazy to say, but week one may be a must win for both of these teams as they seem pretty dead even going into the season. Minnesota loses Diggs, but they drafted some young talent. They also may have lost a lot of players on defense, but they have a good secondary with Cameron Dantzler, Anthony Harris, and Harrison Smith. The pass rush is also elite with the acquisition of Yannick Ngakoue.
11. Green Bay Packers
Next Game: 9/13 @ MIN
Green Bay brought drama into the locker room with the surprise first round pick of QB Jordan Love. They did very little to improve Aaron Rodgers’ weapons or the defense, and Green Bay got tons of breaks in 2019 on the path to 13-3, winning seven games by one possession. I don’t think that will be able to happen again. Aaron Jones will not be as dominant in 2020 either, but I still think they win 9 games and are a wild card team.
12. Tennessee Titans
Next Game: 9/14 @ DEN
Tennessee caught fire late last season on their way to the AFC Championship Game behind their powerhouse, Derrick Henry. I think they will still be very run heavy, but I am skeptical in Ryan Tannehill being able to put together back to back productive seasons, just as I am skeptical of Phillip Rivers putting up back to back bad seasons. The defense is still elite, especially after recently adding Jadeveon Clowney, and they should be a wild card team.
13. New England Patriots
Next Game: 9/13 vs MIA
The last time we saw Cam Newton play with an above average defense was 2017 when he led the Panthers to 11-5 and a playoff berth. This New England defense is absolutely above average and may be a top five defense in the league. I also trust Bill Belichick will provide a great game plan each week to play to Cam’s strengths. We just haven’t seen it yet, so I had to put them lower in the rankings. I expect this team to be trending upwards after the first few weeks.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Next Game: 9/13 @ NO
This team isn’t the Super Bowl contender that so many people are making it out to be. Tom Brady is an average starting quarterback at this point in his career, but he may not even be top two in his own division. He was fourth-worst in the league during 2019 in terms of bad throw percentage at 20.6%. Gronkowski is not going to be the same freight train that we saw back in 2018.
The recent Fournette acquisition isn’t even impressive to me. Sure, he ran for 1000 yards last year, but he was one of the worst red zone running backs with just three scores and 1.3 yards per carry. The only reason I am picking this team to make the playoffs is because of a much improved defense. Then again, Brady could prove me wrong (again) on Sunday if he beats the Saints.
15. Arizona Cardinals
Next Game: 9/13 @ SF
My first non-playoff team is one that I wish I had the guts to pick. I think Kyler Murray is going to be great this season, and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins is absolutely huge for this team’s offense that ranked 21st in yards during 2019. I think the division is just too good this year for them to get enough wins.
16. Houston Texans
Next Game: 9/10 @ KC
I have been a fan of Deshaun Watson since he came into the NFL in 2017. I still think the Browns are in a much better spot today if they draft him first overall that year. That said, this does not seem like a good year for Houston. David Johnson peaked four years ago, and I am still trying to figure out who the hell Watson is going to throw the ball to this year after the Texans inexplicably traded away Hopkins for pennies on the dollar.
17. Philadelphia Eagles
Next Game: 9/13 @ WSH
I don’t believe in Philly right now. The Jalen Hurts pick still makes no sense to me four months later. The last time a team got cute and tried to use two quarterbacks, the lasting memory was Mark Sanchez’s butt fumble. Doug Peterson is going to have to show me the team’s strategy for me to believe it.
18. Cleveland Browns
Next Game: 9/13 @ BAL
Myles Garrett got paid this offseason, and the question I have is will that reflect in his play? Garrett has racked up 23.5 sacks in the last two years, and Cleveland will have to hope he remains dominant for them to make the playoffs. Mayfield at 25 years old may just be what he is: an average quarterback, and OBJ and Landry at wide receiver hasn’t panned out as well as hoped. I see this team as a competitive 7-9 in a deep AFC North.
19. Atlanta Falcons
Next Game: 9/13 vs SEA
I think the Falcons are another team that is just…average. Matt Ryan/Julio Jones is always going to be a surefire connection, but I have questions about Gurley’s long term health and the defense. They might have been a playoff team if the NFC wasn’t so deep.
20. Detroit Lions
Next Game: 9/13 vs CHI
Very similar feelings about the Lions as the Falcons. Matt Stafford is good, and the addition of veteran Adrian Peterson could help the backfield, but big questions remain defensively. In a division of good defenses, this one definitely has the worst.
21. Denver Broncos
Next Game: 9/14 vs TEN
This team feels a year away. I need a bigger Drew Lock sample size, and they have a lot of mouths to feed in the backfield with the acquisition of Melvin Gordon. That said, they have lots of young talent at wide receiver and defensively. They may be one of my first 2021 playoff picks.
22. Miami Dolphins
Next Game: 9/13 @ NE
I expect Tua to take over under center at some point this season, and the team made some splashes in free agency with exciting acquisitions including Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Jordan Howard. However, as long as Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center, I don’t see this team as a contender.
23. LA Chargers
Next Game: 9/13 @ CIN
If only the Chargers could have run it back one more season with Phillip Rivers and Melvin Gordon. I have never seen a team with as bad of luck as these Chargers had last year. They went 5-11, but they lost an insane NINE games by seven points or fewer. I still think this team has the potential to make some noise, but they are much weaker at the quarterback position this year with the options of Tyrod Taylor or rookie Justin Herbert.
24. LA Rams
Next Game: 9/13 vs DAL
I think the Rams are going to struggle this year without a true star running back. Even with Gurley last year, this team managed just a 9-7 record. The defense is weaker this year, and Jared Goff is not the quarterback that you want to rely on to win games in a competitive NFC West.
25. Chicago Bears
Next Game: 9/13 @ DET
The Bears once top defense has regressed back to the middle of the pack, and neither Nick Foles nor Mitch Trubisky has really proved that they want the starting quarterback job. With questions surrounding David Montgomery’s health, this team will more than likely be an early exit from playoff contention.
26. New York Giants
Next Game: 9/14 vs PIT
The Giants are up and coming this year with young guys they trust both at quarterback and running back in Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. It’s just a matter of if the defense can provide enough support throughout the season for them to compete. I’m leaning towards no right now.
27. Cincinnati Bengals
Next Game: 9/13 vs LAC
Cincinnati hit a home run in the draft by picking Joe Burrow first overall, and then they immediately gave him another weapon to throw to by picking Tee Higgins in the second round. Joe Mixon’s contract has been extended, and Cincy’s offense looks very promising heading into 2020. The defense may be the worst in the league though.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
Next Game: 9/13 vs IND
I believe in Gardner Minshew. I think he will improve upon his rookie season now that he is QB1 out of the gates in 2020. However, the fact that Jacksonville seems to want to get rid of every piece around him, both offensively and defensively, leaves me worries about Jacksonville as a whole.
29. Las Vegas Raiders
Next Game: 9/13 @ CAR
Again, another team trying to make it work with two quarterbacks. The only thing that the newly Las Vegas Raiders are doing by acquiring Marcus Mariota is gambling that this team can win with no identity at the quarterback position. Again, remember the Mark Sanchez butt fumble. From what I am seeing now, this is a 5-11 team.
30. Carolina Panthers
Next Game: 9/13 vs LV
Carolina is the top of my bottom feeders for now solely because they have the most successful quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. This is certainly not the Saints team that Bridgewater went 6-0 with last year, though. This is a rebuilding year for the Panthers, and they hopefully will surround Bridgewater with assets in the coming years.
31. New York Jets
Next Game: 9/13 @ BUF
The Jets traded away Jamal Adams and have little left of what was a great defense last year. Darnold also has nobody to throw to, and I don’t think LeVeon Bell is the answer for this team.
32. Washington Football Team
Next Game: 9/13 vs PHI
Washington is definitely a team to root for with the feel-good story of Alex Smith. However, this team is bad defensively, has little running game after the departure of Adrian Peterson, and we don’t really know who is the starting quarterback between Smith and Dwayne Haskins. Hopefully they don’t end up with the first overall pick just to draft Trevor Lawrence.
See y’all next week for Week Two rankings! Do you have any disagreements/thoughts on my rankings that you want to share? Feel free to leave a comment below!