The long-awaited kickoff of the 2020 NFL season is upon us. In case you’ve been living under a rock (very possible during a year in which quarantine and social distancing have been at the forefront of daily life), football season kicks off this Thursday night when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans. To celebrate the occasion, behold FlurrySports’ official Week 1 NFL power rankings.
COVID-19’s impact has been heavily felt on the NFL preseason, with training camps closed to the public and no preseason games taking place. As a result, we have far less intel and footage of both teams and players than we normally would with Week 1 on the doorstep. Nonetheless, after crunching the data and information that is available, here is how all 32 teams stand ahead of the season.
Be prepared to see plenty of shuffling in the weeks to come!
Week 1 NFL Power Rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the defending champs are at the top of the list. In fact, the Chiefs’ win in Super Bowl LIV may just be the start of something more. So long Patrick Mahomes is under center, Kansas City figures to be right in the thick of things for years to come.
2. Baltimore Ravens
The best team in the regular season last year; the Ravens seemed to only get better in the offseason. They acquired Calais Campbell in a trade with the Jaguars and put together a solid draft class from top to bottom. The team is loaded with talent. It will be interesting to see if Lamar Jackson fares as well as he did in 2019.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Last year’s NFC champions were built on the backs of their strong defense and power running game. Those two areas figure to be as good or better than last year, particularly with the addition of first-round draft pick Javon Kinlaw to the defensive line. Jimmy Garoppolo will be working with an extremely young group of wideouts, as San Francisco aims for a more reliable passing attack.
4. New Orleans Saints
The Saints added another target for 41-year old quarterback Drew Brees, when they signed Emmanuel Sanders in free agency. The team figures to again be the class of the NFC South, with no glaring weakness to be had. Whether they can get the job done come postseason time is the biggest question mark.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
The fact that the Steelers managed to go 8-8 last season without competent quarterback play speaks volumes of their defense, Mike Tomlin’s coaching ability and the team’s will to win. If Big Ben returns to form following his elbow injury, Pittsburgh will be breathing down the Ravens’ neck in the AFC North.
6. Seattle Seahawks
Does Russell Wilson make the Seahawks appear to be better than they actually are? Maybe. But even if they were winning games by the slimmest of margins, you can’t argue with results. Trading for safety Jamal Adams provided a big boost to the secondary and shows Seattle is all in on the present.
7. Dallas Cowboys
Maybe all NFL team executives should consider drafting on a yacht, because Jerry Jones came away with quite the haul in doing so this spring. CeeDee Lamb joins a loaded group of targets, and the team managed to address key needs on the defensive side of the ball as well. Dak Prescott continues to bet on himself in terms of a new contract which should lead to some inspired performances.
8. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles were ravaged by injuries last season, particularly at the wide receiver position. Unfortunately, it has been more of the same throughout the 2020 preseason, with tackle Andre Dillard, rookie wideout Jalen Reagor and running back Miles Sanders all battling training camp ailments. Assuming Philadelphia has enough healthy bodies to muster a consistent offensive attack, the team could be among the NFL’s best, thanks to a ferocious-looking defense.
9. Los Angeles Rams
The Todd Gurley era is now history, and Sean McVay has repeatedly alluded to a full-on RB-by-committee with Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown all potentially seeing work. The key for L.A. is better continuity and consistency on the offensive line, both in run blocking and pass protection. That, combined with a few less Jared Goff interceptions, should lead to a better result in the standings.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In case you somehow didn’t hear, Tampa Bay is now “Tompa Bay,” with Tom Brady taking his talents to Florida. The Bucs didn’t stop there though. They traded for once-retired tight end Rob Gronkowski and signed Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy to fill what is now a loaded backfield. Unfortunately, there are still questions along the offensive line and in the defensive secondary that could prevent the Bucs from living up to their on-paper potential.
11. Tennessee Titans
The darlings of the 2019 postseason, Tennessee could wind up being even better with a full season of Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Derrick Henry will continue to run roughshod over opposing defenses. The signing of Jadeveon Clowney this past weekend fortifies a defense that could outperform expectations.
12. New England Patriots
A return to health for former NFL MVP and new Patriots signal-caller Cam Newton could prevent as much of a dip in offensive production as might have originally been anticipated. New England’s defense will undoubtedly be hurt by the COVID-19 opt-outs of Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung, but should once again be among the league’s best.
13. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings will have plenty of young talent on the offensive side of the ball, looking to make their mark this season. The NFC North figures to be highly competitive, and it may come down to Kirk Cousins getting the job done in crunch time more consistently.
14. Buffalo Bills
The Bills made waves this offseason, trading for star receiver Stefon Diggs. Despite surrendering their first-round pick to do so, they still put together a very impressive rookie class that includes A.J. Epenesa and Zack Moss. Western New York is ready for Buffalo to deliver a winner. The Bills have put themselves in a great position to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC East.
15. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are one of the deepest, most talented rosters in the NFL. They drafted quarterback Justin Herbert for the future, but Tyrod Taylor will be the Week 1 starter this season. Taylor’s game isn’t sexy, but he has proven he can win. If things come together, the Bolts could find themselves rising further up these rankings.
16. Green Bay Packers
I’ll let the talking heads try and figure out just what the Packers were thinking with their process in the NFL Draft. The bottom line is one of the weakest 13-win teams in recent memory failed to get better this offseason. And their Hall of Fame QB is now disgruntled. Swell. At least you can bank on production from Davante Adams and Aaron Jones again this season.
17. Houston Texans
The Texans had an interesting offseason, to say the least. The headline move came when they traded away DeAndre Hopkins and didn’t get nearly enough back. The returns of David Johnson and Brandin Cooks they got from their trades can certainly contribute, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Houston take a step back. Then again, Deshaun Watson may very well lead them to another division title.
18. Indianapolis Colts
It’s tempting to put the Colts up higher on this list, but I’m just not convinced that Philip Rivers is any kind of significant upgrade over Jacoby Brissett at this stage in his career. Yes, he will be playing behind a much better offensive line and with a better running game than he has had in San Diego/Los Angeles, but to say he looked washed last season is an understatement.
19. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have to be considered one of the biggest winners of the offseason. They acquired DeAndre Hopkins and also put together one of the best draft classes of any team. The NFC West is a stacked division, and the Cardinals will likely still be at the bottom for at least one more year. Nonetheless, they are no longer an opponent to take for granted.
20. Denver Broncos
How far the Broncos will go in 2020 depends on the development of second-year signal-caller Drew Lock. He certainly showed flashes in his limited opportunities late last season. With a strong running game and defense to carry the load and a whole cast of new weapons, Denver could be an AFC sleeper.
21. Detroit Lions
The Lions were plagued by injuries and a horrendous pass defense in 2019. It remains to be seen whether the swap of veteran Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay for rookie Jeff Okudah will pay off or not. What the Lions know for certain is that Matthew Stafford is fully recovered from his back injury. Add rookie back D’Andre Swift to the mix and the Detroit offense figures to be one to watch.
22. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons let Devonta Freeman go this offseason and ultimately replaced him with Todd Gurley. He may be younger, but like Freeman, Gurley comes with his share of injury concerns. Atlanta also lost Austin Hooper in free agency, opting to trade to bring in Hayden Hurst to take over at tight end. The offense is again loaded with potential. The fate of the season and Dan Quinn’s job ride on the performance of the defense.
23. New York Jets
People have been so busy criticizing the Jets’ decision to retain Adam Gase that the team’s impressive offseason and draft have flown very much under the radar. If not for losing Sam Darnold to mono and having a couple of brutal showings away from MetLife Stadium, New York’s 2019 season could have turned out very differently. While they aren’t likely to be a Super Bowl contender this season, the Jets have the talent to outperform expectations.
24. Cleveland Browns
Freddie Kitchens is out, replaced by Kevin Stefanski. There is no shortage of talent on the roster, just like last year. It is up to the new coach to make it all come together. Baker Mayfield will need to prove himself this year as well, something I’m hesitant to say he will successfully do.
25. Chicago Bears
Mitchell Trubisky will open the season as the Bears’ starting quarterback, but he could be replaced at any moment by offseason acquisition Nick Foles. Should Chicago struggle out of the gate, don’t be shocked if the switch comes early as Matt Nagy looks to get his offense back to 2018 form. The defense was top 10 in the league last season based on adjusted DVOA analytics (Football Outsiders) and will again be among the NFL’s best.
26. Las Vegas Raiders
The youth movement continued this offseason for the Raiders, minus the obscure Jason Witten signing. In what is set to be a monumental year for the franchise, as they officially embark on play in the Sin City, expectations continue to rise. The defense (the secondary in particular) is still likely a year away from being ready to contend.
27. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins spent big on the defensive side of the ball in free agency and made good on their slew of draft picks to complete an impressive offseason overhaul. It remains to be seen whether we will see Tua Tagovailoa on the field as a rookie, but with a revamped roster and terrific coach in Brian Flores, Miami is certainly trending in the right direction.
28. New York Giants
Year two of the Daniel Jones era in New York has the potential to be filled with offensive fireworks. Unfortunately, the defense will likely be giving up more explosive plays to the opponents than the Giants can muster themselves. Signing Logan Ryan to anchor the secondary was a great way to finish off the offseason.
29. Washington Football Team
Washington’s offseason overhaul included bringing in Ron Rivera as head coach and drafting defensive end Chase Young at No. 2 overall. Young joins what has the potential to be a top-10 defense. Dwayne Haskins has nowhere to go but up in his sophomore NFL campaign, and might we see a borderline miraculous Alex Smith return at some point this season? Securing his spot on the 53-man roster is a good start.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals officially turned the page to a new era when they drafted Joe Burrow No. 1 overall, with the clear intention for him to be their franchise quarterback. He will have every opportunity as a rookie, throwing to proven wideouts A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. Joe Mixon will look to build on a brilliant close to the 2019 season running behind an offensive line that, if nothing else, can’t be any worse.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
At times this offseason, the Jaguars appeared to be a corrupt franchise. But after landing a solid draft class, the level of young talent Jacksonville has amassed is undeniable. They won’t contend for anything but next year’s top overall pick but there’s promise for the future at least. In the meantime, more Minshew Mania will at least provide entertainment.
32. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers made NFL Draft history by spending all of their picks on the defensive side of the ball. This was made possible by free agency signings on the offensive side that included QB Teddy Bridgewater and receiver Robby Anderson. It won’t all come together this year, but a foundation for the future has been laid.