The 2020 NFL Draft is wrapped up and now players will begin preparing for the 2020 season. Now that offseason is coming to an end with a majority of moves already made, let’s dive into the 2020 season by projecting the records for all 32 NFL teams.
The Jaguars will roll into the upcoming season with Gardner Minshew as the face of their franchise. It’s a nice face to promote and he certainly impressed as a rookie, but this team carries a lot of holes. There are some fun pieces on this offense to get excited about. Given the issues throughout the defense and the team’s poor coaching staff, though, it will be another rough year for the Jaguars. If they land the top pick, a loaded 2021 draft class will change the franchise.
The best thing that happened to the Bills this offseason was Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots. He humiliated them for two decades. And now it’s time for a new king in the AFC East. Buffalo boasts all of the talent it needs to take the division, especially with the addition of Stefon Diggs. A lighter schedule of opponents sets this team up to claim the divisional crown. Ultimately, this team’s fate will be decided by Josh Allen’s arm and his ability to make accurate throws.
Los Angeles Rams
After putting all of their chips on the table and coming up short, the Rams are finally making changes. Moving on from Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks puts this team on a downward trajectory, but there is some reason for hope. The offensive line will be improved next season and that is critical for Jared Goff to be a competent quarterback. The All-Pro talent on defense, paired with Sean McVay finding new ways to ignite his offense, will make this a competitive team in 2020. Fans won’t love it, but the Rams’ future is at least brighter than it was just a few months ago.
No one could have imagined the Titans’ incredible run in 2019. Ryan Tannehill emerged as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year with MVP-caliber play and Derrick Henry often put the team on his back. After riding their backfield to the AFC Championship Game, the Titans brought the duo back for 2020. Everyone will see this team coming and with a spotty defense and regression from Tannehill, the ride won’t be as nice in 2020. The upcoming season will likely be a lesson in why falling just short of the Super Bowl can be even more painful years later for an organization.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After watching Jameis Winston throw away countless opportunities this past season, the Buccaneers knew they need to make a change. In comes Tom Brady, ready to prove that he can thrive without Bill Belichick for a team that is loaded with talent. Tampa Bay’s offense will be one of the NFL’s best and its defense can create turnovers. The Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs since 2007 and they last celebrated a playoff win in 2002. We expect both of those cold streaks to end this year with Brady and Co.
Finally, the Bengals have a quarterback everyone can be excited about. While Andy Dalton played well for a decade, he was never the kind of player that could lift a franchise. Joe Burrow is that caliber of a quarterback and Cincinnati is putting an exciting cast of weapons around him. The Bengals are going to be a fun team in the coming season and will show glimpses of their bright future. However, issues on defense and the offensive line put them at least a year away from playoff contention.
Could this finally be the year it all comes together and the Browns snap their playoff drought? It’s very possible. This is a team that gets hyped up every offseason and then everyone watches them collapse into a complete disaster that we can’t turn away from. There is a lot of talent on this team with stars on offense and defense that can push this team to a playoff-caliber record. If Baker Mayfield can experience a breakout third season, a wild-card spot is well within this team’s grasp.
The trade for DeAndre Hopkins will go down as an all-time heist and a turning point for this franchise. Dealing a second-round pick for an All-Pro receiver didn’t just give Kyler Murray a top weapon, it also allowed Arizona to draft a defensive star with the No. 8 pick. Arizona’s offense is set to explode in 2020 and deliver a level of scoring that few NFL teams can match. Meanwhile, Isaiah Simmons is the kind of chess piece this defense needed. The NFC West is going to be better than ever this year and the Cardinals will play a central role.
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Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers will take the field in 2020 without Philip Rivers for the first time since 2005. While few outside of Los Angeles believe Tyrod Taylor is capable of starting, head coach Anthony Lynn trusts his quarterback. Besides, even if Taylor struggles, it won’t be long before Justin Herbert steps in. Questions at offensive tackle and quarterback are the only real concerns on either side of the ball. An elite defense complements star running back Austin Ekeler, who could post huge numbers in 2020. If Herbert or Taylor thrives, this could even be a playoff team.
Many are keeping their eye on the Lions as a team that could rebound after suffering disastrous results in 2019. The Lions did well to improve their team this offseason, especially during the NFL Draft. But we’re still not sold on this imitation version of the Patriots. A tough schedule and doubts about Matt Patricia’s ability to be a head coach could be what sinks Detroit. The good news, another down year would lead to the kind of organizational changes that a team without a playoff win since 1991 could use.
Kansas City Chiefs
It’s not easy to enter a season with every other NFL team targeting you, but that’s the kind of pressure Kansas City will face in 2020. It comes with the territory of being a Super Bowl champion, a weight this team will gladly carry. The Chiefs bring back the same talent that enjoyed a parade in Kansas City. The additions of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and linebacker Willie Gay could make them even better, too. It’s difficult to see any team repeating these days, but the Chiefs have everything in place to pull it off.
New York Jets
New York put together a strong draft class under general manager Joe Douglas and it was desperately needed. The team’s free-agent signings didn’t exactly inspire confidence that the Jets would take flight in 2020, but drafting Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims at least puts the team on the runway. If Sam Darnold can play with confidence and consistency, this team might even show flashes of being good. As long as Adam Gase is piloting the Jets, though, we don’t foresee them getting off the ground.
The Falcons opted to give Dan Quinn another year following a strong finish to the 2019 season. The offense should remain productive, but the defense will need to stay healthy for this team to have a chance at contending. Given Atlanta’s tough schedule this year, not even including games in its own division, this will probably be Quinn’s final season as a head coach. Once that changes is made, even bigger questions will be on the horizon.
Washington wanted to rebrand its image under new leadership and Ron Rivera is the perfect coach to do it. He’ll bring structure and accountability, something that is desperately needed, while rebuilding the program his way. We don’t expect the results to be positive in the standings, but the fan base can at least feel confident about this team’s future.
After head coach Bill O’Brien made a series of baffling decisions in the 2019 season, the Texans made him their general manager. He lived up to his reputation. O’Brien practically gave away DeAndre Hopkins, traded a second-round pick for a concussion-prone receiver and massively overpayed Laremy Tunsil. Deshaun Watson is an MVP-caliber quarterback, but even sustaining that level of play won’t be enough to save this team with the Colts on the rise.
The Colts took an aggressive approach this offseason, signing Philip Rivers to provide stability at quarterback and trading for All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Drafting Jonathan Taylor will make this running game nearly unstoppable with a nice passing attack to complement it. If someone in the secondary can step up, the Colts become a Super Bowl contender.
Trading Stefon Diggs wiped out an incredible duo for this offense, but it also allowed the Vikings to get creative in the 2020 NFL Draft. Justin Jefferson will step in immediately and contribute in a featured role, while cornerback Jeff Gladney is an upgrade over Xavier Rhodes. If Dalvin Cook can stay healthy and Kirk Cousins avoids game-sealing interceptions, the Vikings will be in the playoffs next season.
The Dolphins made the right call by taking Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick. Even if he isn’t ready to start immediately, he offers the ability to become a franchise quarterback very quickly. Miami also made significant additions on the defensive side this offseason, bringing in talent that head coach Brian Flores will get the most out of. We expect a small jump from the Dolphins next season before they really make a splash as a playoff team in 2021.
Lamar Jackson took the NFL world on a wild ride in 2019 on his way to winning the MVP unanimously. An early playoff loss is a bitter pill to swallow, but Baltimore’s front office responded by bolstering the defense and pulled off an incredible draft haul. The Ravens will be better than they were in 2019 and this team is ready to battle with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Carolina signed Matt Rhule to a seven-year contract expecting this to be a long-term rebuild. Teddy Bridgewater is a solid quarterback for a season or two, but this team isn’t built to win right now. Rhule will take his time building his team in the same way he rebuilt Baylor’s football program. The first-year results won’t be great, but the long-term benefits can be tremendous.
Very few people outside of Philadelphia seem to understand this team’s draft. The Eagles addressed a few needs, but drafting Jalen Hurts and not trading up for CeeDee Lamb left many baffled. The secondary will be improved and a healthy offense can make a huge difference, but missed opportunities keep this team from taking a huge leap.
Las Vegas Raiders
As the Raiders prepare to move into Las Vegas, hope springs eternal that this is the year it all comes together. The running game is solid and the receiving corps improved significantly. But this team’s own doubts about Derek Carr are legitimate. If Carr can’t step up in key moments and the secondary struggles, this is one Las Vegas show that no one will want to see.
New York Giants
The Giants did well this offseason to start building a foundation that can lead to future success. Furthermore, new head coach Joe Judge seems to have the kind of personality that will gel with the fans. It comes down to talent, which as of now, there isn’t nearly enough of for this to be a good team. The Giants are already on notice for the coming season and changes in the front office feel inevitable.
The Bears realized midway through the 2019 season that Mitchell Trubisky isn’t the answer. Trading for Nick Foles, who is likely to start, does at least represent an upgrade in terms of consistency. Unfortunately for Chicago’s defense, its offense will be the Achilles’ heel that keeps this team from sniffing the playoffs. It’s bad news for a head coach and general manager that are already on the hot seat.
The Seahawks might depend on Russell Wilson more than ever in 2020. Given the concerns over when running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny can return, Seattle’s backfield might be an even bigger one-man show. The receiving corps is exciting and the defense will keep it in games, likely making this a playoff team. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on how the Seahawks perform if CenturyLink Field is empty when the season begins.
New Orleans Saints
This could be the final year we see Drew Brees on an NFL field. The future Hall of Famer is already preparing for a career in television and Sean Payton admitted this might be his last with Brees. Fortunately, all of the pieces are in place for New Orleans to compete for a Super Bowl. Magical things can happen when a team rallies around an icon playing his final season.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is fully aware of the NFL’s recent history for teams that lose in the Super Bowl. In an effort to avoid becoming the next team to stumble, the 49ers upgraded at left tackle and added more talent on offense. They’ve got an outstanding head coach, incredible depth and will be the NFL’s most balanced team. If any team can rebound from a Super Bowl loss and come back stronger the following year, it’s the 49ers.
The Broncos dedicated their early picks to putting top weapons around their quarterback, a concept that baffles the Green Bay Packers. Credit must go to John Elway for overhauling this roster during the offseason and turning the Broncos into a playoff-caliber team. Denver’s offense will be exciting and Vic Fangio’s defense should create plenty of problems for opponents. Put it all together and the Broncos become one of the AFC’s best sleepers next season.
Green Bay Packers
It remains baffling that the Packers ignored their most pressing needs and focused on drafting talent that won’t make an impact until 2021 at the earliest. Green Bay made it to the NFC Championship Game this past season, but that required plenty of good fortune. Even if Aaron Rodgers can return to his elite form, there isn’t enough surrounding talent to make it back to the top. Green Bay’s front office faced a pivotal point this offseason and general manager Brian Gutekunst chose to plan for life after Rodgers.
We saw how quickly this team could fall without Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Fortunately, Roethlisberger will be healthy for the upcoming season and Pittsburgh’s defense is outstanding. It’s also hard not to love Mike Tomlin leading the charge and keeping this team afloat in tough moments. Roethlisberger’s best years are long gone entering his age-38 season, but there is still enough left in the tank to keep this team in the playoff hunt come December.
New England Patriots
The dynasty is over. The moment Tom Brady walked out the door and the Patriots turned the keys over to Jarrett Stidham is the day they began rebuilding. Bill Belichick is the best coach in NFL history and he might squeeze out an extra win or two from this team. Realistically, though, this is a terrible offense and New England’s defense lost multiple defensive pieces. As of now, the Patriots won’t be bad enough to get Trevor Lawrence and they won’t be good enough even to smell the playoffs.
Expectations are always high in Dallas and this team falls short every year. This team’s tradition might actually come to an end this year with Mike McCarthy in charge. The addition of CeeDee Lamb rounds out what will be one of the NFL’s best offenses. While the secondary might struggle, the front seven should create plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Cowboys are a playoff team in 2020 and their ceiling could be even higher.