We’re on the verge of the NFL season. The Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs, who are — teaser alert — two of the best 11 teams in the NFL, will play on Thursday Night Football to open the season.

This is going to be fun.

Surely, the coronavirus pandemic could derail the NFL season at any moment. For now, however, the NFL has just 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of training camp. It’s just a start. But for now, it’s a start.

It’s going to be an especially intriguing season, one that will bring a small and welcome dose of normalcy. As we prepare for it to start, let’s consider how we’d rank every team before Week 1.

32. Washington Football Team — Dwayne Haskins may be a good quarterback, but it will probably be impossible to tell, because his supporting cast is so underwhelming.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars — Love Gardner Minshew’s mustache. Hate Minshew’s team. They do nothing but bleed talent.

30. New York Jets — This is going to be a disaster. They’re seemingly one year away from being the Jaguars. It has already begun, with Jamal Adams defecting in the same way that Jalen Ramsey did with the Jaguars.

29. New York Giants — Daniel Jones was a good fantasy football quarterback in 2020. But Blake Bortles was good in 2015, too. This team is a long way away from winning its division.

28. Chicago Bears — They picked the wrong quarterback. Twice. In the 2017 draft, they took Mitchell Trubisky instead of Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. During the 2020 offseason, they Bears traded for Nick Foles, rather than signing Cam Newton, Jameis Winston or even Andy Dalton.

27. Los Angeles Chargers — Tyrod Taylor is the starter. It’s hard to imagine this team playing better with Taylor when they struggled with Philip Rivers.

26. Carolina Panthers — The splashy Teddy Bridgewater signing was fun, but they don’t have an offensive line to protect him.

25. Detroit Lions — They have the player talent to win some games, but I’m not sure they have the requisite coaching talent.

24. Cincinnati Bengals — Speaking of coaching talent, it’s extremely unclear whether Zac Taylor has chops. But if Joe Burrow is what he seems to be (an elite prospect), this team could win seven games this year.

23. Las Vegas Raiders — Derek Carr needs to start pushing the ball downfield, because his proclivity to check down might be the single biggest thing that’s holding back this football team.

22. Los Angeles Rams — The league’s most top-heavy payroll is testing the bounds of spending in today’s NFL. They’re STILL over the cap, by the way.

21. Denver Broncos — This young group of skill players should propel the Broncos to big things. But how quickly can they do so? The AFC West isn’t quite as competitive in 2020. There’s the Chiefs — and then everyone else.

20. Atlanta Falcons — They’re always good on paper, but rarely as good in the standings. Perhaps it’s the end of Dan Quinn’s run in Atlanta.

19. Minnesota Vikings — If there’s one team that figures to regress, it’s the Vikings. The loss of Stefon Diggs is likely to be costly, and the defense lost nine players and five starters in free agency.

18. Philadelphia Eagles — This team still has questions at receiver, but the addition of Darius Slay could go a long way in improving their playoff prospects. The only problem? Dallas is probably going to be even more improved.

17. Cleveland Browns — I’m going to keep saying they’re “finally good this year.” At some point, it’ll be true. I swear.

16. Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray is too much fun to watch. DeAndre Hopkins will make him even more delightful. But the defense needs to carry its half of the bargain.

15. Buffalo Bills — They’re only as good as Josh Allen can be. The defense is good. The skill player are good. It’s up to Allen to distribute to his supporting cast, which will take pressure off the defense. Can he be a game manager?

14. Pittsburgh Steelers — Ben Roethlisberger is back. Hopefully, that brings James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster back to life. The defense, meanwhile, looks excellent.

13. New England Patriots — Cam Newton is a Patriot. It’s still weird, right?

12. Miami Dolphins — I buy more stock on the Dolphins with every minute it gets closer to the season. The Patriots will finish the season as the best team in the AFC East. It’s just a question of how long it takes them to get it together. In the meantime, the Dolphins proved at the end of 2019 that they’re legit — and that was before adding Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson.

11. Houston Texans — Bill O’Brien may be a weird roster manager, but he rarely misses the playoffs. Even without Hopkins, Deshaun Watson is probably going to have a great year.

10. Tennessee Titans — The franchise invested heavily to preserve the 2019 team. Hopefully that team wasn’t a fluke.

9. Green Bay Packers — Are we seeing the decline of Aaron Rodgers? And does it matter, considering how well the Packers can run the ball?

8. Seattle Seahawks — Russell Wilson. Just … Russell Wilson.

7. Dallas Cowboys — The defense is young and fast. The offense is young and fast. Don’t mess this up, Mike McCarthy.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — This is the second-most gifted group of skill players Tom Brady has ever had. Maybe he’s on the decline, but he’s still likely to put on a show for us in 2020.

5. San Francisco 49ers — It seems inevitable that the defense regresses. So if that happens, Jimmy Garoppolo must show development to compensate.

4. Indianapolis Colts — This roster is stocked, just like last year. But unlike last year, they’ll have a really good quarterback.

3. New Orleans Saints — They seems to be one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, perennially. It’s kind of wild, considering the NFL is supposed to have competitive balance.

2. Baltimore Ravens — Lamar Jackson is, quite literally, changing the game.

1. Kansas City Chiefs — No one can stop them.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here