NFL Power Rankings

Training camps are approaching, so which teams are in the best position

With NFL training camps still slated to begin on July 28th, teams are beginning preparations for the new season. Draft picks and offseason moves have been made. So what teams are primed for a big season, and what ones should be focused on next year’s draft?

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

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Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Notable Additions: C.J. Henderson (draft), Tyler Eifert

Notable Losses: A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell

The Jaguars appear to be the favorite for the number one pick in the 2021 draft. They traded away two significant pieces on defense in A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell. Jacksonville is also dealing with the holdout of star defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who has publicly stated he has no interest in playing for the Jaguars anymore. The Jags seem content with rebuilding. If they have any hope of shocking people this season, second year QB Gardner Minshew will have to take a massive leap. That will be difficult however, considering Jacksonville’s offensive line ranked 26th at the end of last season according to Pro Football Focus.

31. Cincinnati Bengals

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Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Joe Burrow (draft), D.J. Reader

Notable Losses: Andy Dalton, Cordy Glenn

Cincinnati didn’t suffer any major losses in free agency. The problem for the Bengals is they didn’t have much talent to lose in the first place. They looked to address the QB position by selecting Joe Burrow with the first pick in the draft. Despite the offensive weapons however, Burrow could struggle behind a Cincinnati offensive line which was ranked 30th in the NFL. Burrow also doesn’t play defense. The Bengals allowed the most rush yards per game and the 12th most pass yards per game last season. They also finished with the third fewest takeaways last year. D.J. Reader will help with the rush defense, but one man doesn’t make a defense.

30. Miami Dolphins

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Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Byron Jones, Tua Tagovailoa (draft)

Notable Losses: Reshad Jones

Most people are clamoring about the offseason that the Miami Dolphins had. The additions of Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, and Tua Tagovailoa are giving people hope regarding the Dolphins. I however am skeptical. After Tagovailoa (whose health causes him to be a question mark himself), the rest of Miami’s draft was odd. They reached for Austin Jackson, and selected a cornerback in the first round after paying Byron Jones a ton of money. The offseason moves on defense will help some, but how much? The Dolphins defense was atrocious last season. They allowed the most points per game, the third most yards per game, and had the fourth fewest takeaways. Byron Jones won’t help with turnovers either, as he has just two career interceptions in five seasons. The offense wasn’t great also, especially the offensive line. Even if Tua is healthy, Miami’s o-line won’t help much, as they finished ranked last according to PFF. The Dolphins still have a long way to go.

29. New York Giants

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Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Andrew Thomas (draft), James Bradberry

Notable Losses: Markus Golden, Alec Ogletree

If the Giants have any hope of being competitive in 2020, QB Daniel Jones must cut down on the turnovers. In just 13 games last season, Jones threw 12 interceptions and had 18 fumbles (11 which were lost). Having running back Saquon Barkley for the entire season should lessen the load for Jones. The addition of first round tackle Andrew Thomas should also improve an offensive line unit which finished ranked 17th. The real problem for New York is the defense. The Giants allowed the fifth most yards per game, and the third most points per game last year. They also struggled forcing turnovers, as they finished with the fifth fewest takeaways. Cornerback James Bradberry will improve the pass defense some. His perceived impact may be somewhat overrated however, as he finished last season with a PFF grade of 59.8, which is average. Couple that with losing Markus Golden who led the team in sacks, and New York could struggle again this season.

28. Washington

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Notable Additions: Chase Young (draft), Kendall Fuller

Notable Losses: Trent Williams, Josh Norman

Washington continued to load up on their defensive line after selecting pass rusher Chase Young in the draft. The defense will be the strength of the team in 2020. Washington finished last season with the 10th most sacks, and Young only figures to improve that. The loss of Josh Norman may also prove to be an addition by subtraction move, due to Norman’s ineffectiveness last season. QB Dwayne Haskins will need to greatly improve if Washington wants to be competitive however. New coach Ron Rivera focusing on the defense should lessen the load on Haskins. Washington will look to grind games out through defense and the run game. If that happens, Haskins should improve vastly this year.

27. Carolina Panthers

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Notable Additions: Teddy Bridgewater, Derrick Brown (draft)

Notable Losses: Luke Kuechly, Trai Turner

Carolina was given an unforeseen loss when linebacker Luke Kuechly retired. Even with Kuechly however, Carolina’s defense struggled. They allowed the second most points per game, and the fourth most rush yards per game. The Panthers’ young defensive line consisting of Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, and Yetur Gross-Matos will look to improve the defense for the foreseeable future. But this year, they may still struggle. The offensive on the other hand isn’t facing a lack of weapons. Christian McCaffrey is the best running back in football, and D.J. Moore is coming off a career year. The loss of guard Trai Turner will hurt the offensive line however. Also, free agent QB Teddy Bridgewater is probably not the answer for the Panthers. He has never had more than 14 touchdowns in a season, and is a very conservative player. Carolina feels like they’re still at least two years away from truly competing.

26. Detroit Lions

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Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Notable Additions: Desmond Trufant, Jeff Okudah (draft)

Notable Losses: Darius Slay, Damon Harrison

Matthew Stafford’s health is the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning the Lions. Obviously if Stafford’s healthy Detroit’s a much better team. The offensive weapons of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and rookie D’Andre Swift are amongst some of the best in the league. Detroit’s defense is what’s holding the team back. Last season the Lions allowed the second most total yards per game, and the most pass yards per game. The defense will need an immense improvement if Detroit has any chance of seriously competing. Rookie Jeff Okudah will also have big shoes to fill after the team traded cornerback Darius Slay.

25. Chicago Bears

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Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY Sports

Notable Additions: Nick Foles, Robert Quinn

Notable Losses: Prince Amukamara, Taylor Gabriel

The Bears are essentially the opposite of the Lions. Chicago’s defense can keep them in the majority of games. They allowed the fourth-fewest points per game last year, and are still one of the top units in the NFL. The offense however, can’t seem to help at all. The Bears offense led by QB Mitch Trubisky scored the fourth fewest points per game. Chicago decided to bring in QB Nick Foles to compete for the starting job. But if neither Trubisky nor Foles can improve the offense, Chicago will continue to be mediocre at best.

24. Los Angeles Chargers

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Notable Additions: Chris Harris Jr., Trai Turner

Notable Losses: Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon

On paper, the Chargers should be one of the best teams in the NFL. Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Keenan Allen are some of the top players at their position. The problem for Los Angeles is the same this year as it was last year: the quarterback position. Last season the Chargers had the worst turnover differential, and had the fourth most giveaways. This was in large part to QB Philip Rivers throwing 20 interceptions. This season LA will be forced to go with either journeyman QB Tyrod Taylor, or rookie Justin Herbert. Neither are great options, and both figure to limit the talent of the Chargers’ roster.

23. Indianapolis Colts

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Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Notable Additions: DeForest Buckner, Philip Rivers

Notable Losses: Jabaal Sheard, Eric Ebron

The Colts have a few things working for them. First, they have one of the best offensive line units, led by guard Quinton Nelson. Second, they added pass rusher DeForest Buckner to a defense which is led by star linebacker Darius Leonard. The problem for the Colts is their offense struggled last season. They averaged the eighth-fewest total yards per game. Star receiver T.Y. Hilton has struggled with injuries the past two years, and Indianapolis lost tight end Eric Ebron in free agency. The quarterback position has also been a weak spot since Andrew Luck’s retirement. The Colts will try to fill that void with Philip Rivers this season, even though he appeared to be on his last legs in 2019 (20 interceptions).

22. Las Vegas Raiders

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John Hefti/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Henry Ruggs III (draft), Cory Littleton

Notable Losses: Karl Joseph

The Raiders aimed to give QB Derrick Carr a number one receiver by selecting Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III in the first round of the draft. Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller will be back, so Vegas won’t have to worry about the offense. The Raiders defense however needed improving. They had the second fewest takeaways last year, and allowed the ninth-most points per game. If Cory Littleton and rookie cornerback Damon Arnette can improve that unit right away, then Las Vegas will have a chance at competing.

21. Arizona Cardinals

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Notable Additions: DeAndre Hopkins, Isaiah Simmons (draft)

Notable Losses: David Johnson

In one of the biggest moves of the offseason, Arizona acquired receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. Hopkins instantly gives quarterback Kyler Murray a true number one receiver. The loss of David Johnson isn’t truly a loss for Arizona, as Kenyan Drake outplayed Johnson for most of the year. Arizona still has holes on the offensive line and defense. However, first round pick Isaiah Simmons should help improve a Cardinals defense that allowed the fifth-most points per game. Still, Arizona feels about a year away from seriously competing.

20. New York Jets

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Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Connor McGovern, Mekhi Becton (draft)

Notable Losses: Robby Anderson, Trumaine Johnson

The Jets zeroed in on improving an offense line which ranked 28th at the end of last season. They signed three potential new starters, and drafted Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton in the first round. New York also looked to fill the loss of Robby Anderson by signing Breshad Perriman and drafting Denzel Mims. If they don’t trade safety Jamal Adams, and the offensive line unit gels quickly, New York has a chance at a wild card spot.

19. Houston Texans

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Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Notable Additions: David Johnson, Brandin Cooks

Notable Losses: DeAndre Hopkins, D.J. Reader

The Texans traded away DeAndre Hopkins in a shocking move this offseason. They looked to fill that void by traded for often injured receiver Brandin Cooks. New running back David Johnson is also coming off a season in which he was injured. Number two receiver Will Fuller is yet another player on Houston’s offense that has struggled with injuries. The Texans do still have Deshaun Watson though. If the new pieces can stay healthy, the Texans will be competing for a playoff spot. If they don’t, then Deshaun Watson may soon be asking for a trade.

18. Atlanta Falcons

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Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Dante Fowler Jr., Todd Gurley

Notable Losses: Devonta Freeman, Austin Hooper

Atlanta has been held back by a weak defense the past few seasons. This is due in part to injuries mostly though. With all of their defenders healthy, and new players like Dante Fowler Jr. and first round pick A.J. Terrell joining the team, Atlanta’s defense should be vastly improved. The losses of Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper on offense were filled with Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst. The Falcons also still have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Atlanta could surprise people this year, but I’ll need to see it first.

17. New England Patriots

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Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Notable Additions: Cam Newton

Notable Losses: Tom Brady, Jamie Collins Sr.

The Patriots are trying to fill the loss of Tom Brady with recently signed Cam Newton. I’m skeptical of a few things surrounding Newton’s fit with the Patriots though. First, Cam’s health is a question mark; and he hasn’t been able to perform at his 2015 MVP level since then. Second, the fit isn’t the best systematically. Cam prefers the deep ball, whereas New England’s system prides itself on short, timing routes. Newton will need to be accurate to succeed, which he hasn’t been for much of his career. Add in a New England offense which lacks offensive firepower, and the Patriots might not be as mighty as they’ve been in the past.

16. Tennessee Titans

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Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports

Notable Additions: Vic Beasley, Isaiah Wilson (draft)

Notable Losses: Jack Conklin, Jurrell Casey

Tennessee showed in the playoffs, they go as far as Derrick Henry goes. The workhorse running back may face a new challenge this year after the loss of tackle Jack Conklin. Henry may also deal with fatigue this season, after he led the league in rushing yards last year. QB Ryan Tannehill is coming off his best season as a pro, and was rewarded with a new contract. Henry on the other hand received the franchise tag. There may be some tension between Henry and the organization, which could distract the team this season. The Titans should still be solid this year, but last year’s playoff run feels more like a one time thing, as opposed to a regular occurrence.

15. Cleveland Browns

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Notable Additions: Jack Conklin, Austin Hooper

Notable Losses: Joe Schobert, Demarious Randall

Last season was a disaster for the Browns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield had a major sophomore slump which saw him throw 21 interceptions; and despite their talent, finished 6–10. Cleveland looked to improve their weak spot on the roster during the offseason. They signed tackle Jack Conklin, and drafted tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. in the first round. No more excuses for Cleveland. They have the offensive firepower, and an improved o-line. The Browns should make the playoffs.

14. Dallas Cowboys

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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Notable Additions: Gerald McCoy, CeeDee Lamb (draft)

Notable Losses: Byron Jones, Travis Frederick

Like many previous years, Dallas has an above average roster this season. They however continually struggle to put it all together. Last season they averaged the most total yards per game on offense, yet they still finished 8–8. The losses of Byron Jones and Travis Fredrick will limit Dallas some this year. However, the return of Leighton Vander Esch should improve the Cowboys’ defense; but DeMarcus Lawrence will need to play better. He did not live up to his contract, finishing the year with just five sacks. If he does, Dallas should make the playoffs. If he doesn’t, then the Cowboys appear to be headed for another 8–8 record.

13. Denver Broncos

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Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

Notable Additions: A.J. Bouye, Jerry Jeudy (draft)

Notable Losses: Chris Harris Jr., Connor McGovern

Drew Lock and the Broncos are going to surprise people this year. After finishing the year with a 3–1 record as a starter, Lock is poised to breakout. The rookie QB looked the part with average weapons last season. This year he’ll have two new receivers, including first round pick Jerry Jeudy, and a new running back in Melvin Gordon to go along with Courtland Sutton and Philip Lindsay. Denver’s defense also added A.J. Bouye, Jurrell Casey, and returns Bradley Chubb from injury. Oh and they still have Von Miller. The Broncos are my surprise team this season.

12. Los Angeles Rams

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Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Notable Additions: Leonard Floyd, Cam Akers (draft)

Notable Losses: Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks

A lot of people are selling their Rams stock, but I’d suggest otherwise. They still have talent across the roster. Aaron Donald is the best player in football, Jalen Ramsey is a lockdown corner, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are above average receivers, and Goff can still play QB. For as bad as they were last season, they only missed the playoffs by one game. Todd Gurley isn’t the same player he used to be, so the loss isn’t huge. Rookie running back Cam Akers will look to provide a new spark for LA. If the Rams’ offensive line unit can mesh better than last season, then LA will be back in the playoffs.

11. Buffalo Bills

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Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

Notable Additions: Stefon Diggs, Mario Addison

Notable Losses: Shaq Lawson, Jordan Phillips

If the Bills truly want to be great, Josh Allen need to take a leap. Buffalo’s defense essentially carried them to the playoffs last season. This upcoming season figures to be the same. Buffalo should still have a top five defense. Josh Allen however, will need to approve on a 58.8% completion percentage. The addition of receiver Stefon Diggs should help with that. If Buffalo really wants to make noise though, it’s all on Allen.

10. Seattle Seahawks

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Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

Notable Additions: Greg Olsen, Bruce Irvin

Notable Losses: Jadeveon Clowney, Quinton Jefferson

As long as Seattle has Russell Wilson, they’ll be competitive. The Seahawks have failed to make the playoffs just once in Wilson’s eight-year career. Even with a weak offensive line (ranked 27th last year), Seattle still won a playoff game. The pass defense was an issue last year (Seattle allowed the sixth most pass yards per game). If Seattle wants to get back to their Super Bowl days, that must improve. Until then the Seahawks will have to settle for just playoff berths.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Notable Additions: Eric Ebron, Stefen Wisniewski

Notable Losses: Javon Hargrave

The Pittsburgh Steelers should’ve been a playoff team last season. Their defense led the NFL in sacks, and were tied for the fifth-fewest points allowed per game. Those number perhaps could have been even better if Minkah Fitzpatrick joined the roster sooner. The reason the Steelers missed out on the playoffs was because of their quarterback play. Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges were well-below average replacements for Ben Roethlisberger. With Ben healthy this season, expect the Steelers offense to resemble the 2018 team (sixth most points scored per game), as opposed to the 2019 team (sixth fewest points scored per game).

8. Philadelphia Eagles

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James Lang/USA TODAY Sports

Notable Additions: Darius Slay, Marquise Goodwin

Notable Losses: Jason Peters, Malcom Jenkins

Quarterback Carson Wentz practically carried the Eagles towards the end of last season. The injuries that piled up on the offensive side of the ball were almost insurmountable. Yet, Wentz still found a way to make the playoffs. This season Philly will have a healthy Alshon Jeffrey and Desean Jackson, along with first round pick Jalen Reagor and new addition Marquise Goodwin. The Eagles also traded for star cornerback Darius Slay, who will look to improve an otherwise weak secondary. The loss of guard Brandon Brooks will hurt, but Philly has the pieces to keep their o-line stable.

7. Minnesota Vikings

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Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Notable Additions: Justin Jefferson (draft), Michael Pierce

Notable Losses: Stefon Diggs, Xavier Rhodes

Even after trading away receiver Stefon Diggs, Minnesota still has one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. The Vikings selected LSU standout receiver Justin Jefferson in the first round to help fill the void. Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Kirk Cousins will still anchor an offense that scored the eighth-most points per game last season. On defense, Minnesota replaced their top three cornerbacks, which was the weakest part of their roster. If the defense can perform close to the level they did last season (fifth-fewest points allowed per game), then the Vikings will surely be back in the playoffs.

6. New Orleans Saints

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Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

Notable Additions: Malcom Jenkins, Emmanuel Sanders

Notable Losses: Vonn Bell, Larry Warford

Much like Minnesota, New Orleans has a very complete roster. Michael Thomas is a receptions machine, and newly acquired Emmanuel Sanders should be a nice number two option. The defense was slightly above average last season, allowing the 13th fewest points per game. The only concern for the Saints surrounds QB Drew Brees. Brees didn’t look like himself in the playoff game against the Vikings last year. He appeared tired, and finished the game with just 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception. If that Drew Brees shows up this season, then New Orleans can forget about any Super Bowl aspirations.

5. Green Bay Packers

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Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Christian Kirksey, Rick Wagner

Notable Losses: Blake Martinez, Bryan Bulaga

The last memory people have of the Packers, was them being dismantled in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers. San Francisco is a bad matchup for the Packers, and it showed both times they played. But besides those two games, Green Bay was otherwise great. They had the third best turnover differential in the NFL. They also had a revitalized defense which allowed the ninth fewest points per game. Any losses Green Bay had in free agency, they replaced. Aaron Jones is coming off a breakout season; and Aaron Rodgers should be more motivated than ever after the selection of Jordan Love in the draft. Green Bay isn’t going anywhere…unless they have to play San Francisco.

4. San Francisco 49ers

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Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Trent Williams, Brandon Aiyuk (draft)

Notable Losses: DeForest Buckner, Emmanuel Sanders

The Super Bowl runner-ups are still going to be a force next season. The 49ers replaced DeForest Buckner with first round DT Javon Kinlaw. They also replaced Emmanuel Sanders with first round receiver Brandon Aiyuk. San Francisco’s defense should be just as strong as last season. Nick Bosa will be in his second year, and should prove to be just as dominant. As for the offense, the 49ers bolstered their offensive line by trading for Washington tackle Trent Williams. Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, and George Kittle will all be back, and looking to get back to the Super Bowl.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Notable Additions: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski

Notable Losses: Jameis Winston, Breshad Perriman

If you weren’t aware, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay’s offense has the firepower needed to be one of the best units in the entire league. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are the best duo of receivers in the league. The Buccaneers offensive line ranked seventh at the end of last season, and they drafted tackle Tristan Wirfs in the first round. The defense may concern some. However, Tampa’s defense is actually a pretty solid unit. They allowed the fewest rushing yards per game, the had the fifth most takeaways last season, and NFL sack leader Shaquil Barrett is returning. Their pass defense was weak, but you have to imagine the defense would struggle some being constantly forced back on the field due to Jameis Winston’s turnovers. With Brady steeping in for Winston, Tampa Bay’s defense won’t be on the field as much. The Buccaneer appear to be a very dangerous team this year.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

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Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Notable Additions: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (draft)

Notable Losses: Kendall Fuller

The reigning Super Bowl champions aren’t number one on this list for a few reasons. First, Chris Jones predicting he may holdout this season would severely damage Kansas City’s chances at a repeat. Jones is the Chiefs best defensive player, and a vitle piece to their team. Second, the loss of their top cornerback Kendall Fuller will cause some issues in the secondary. KC’s offense still has Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, so they’ll still win the vast majority of their games. But remember in 2018, the Chiefs didn’t make the Super Bowl because of their defense. If Jones doesn’t play, that scenario will likely repeat itself.

  1. Baltimore Ravens
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Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports

Notable Additions: Calais Campbell, Patrick Queen (draft)

Notable Losses: Hayden Hurst, Marshal Yanda

Even after an MVP season, some are still skeptical about Lamar Jackson’s ability to win a playoff game. He wasn’t great against the Titans last year, but the loss was hardly all on him. Instead, it was the Ravens’ inability to stop the run game that caused them to lose. So even after a historical regular season which saw the Ravens finish in the top five in points scored per game, total yards per game, rush yards per game, points allowed per game, and total yards allowed per game, Baltimore was focused on the playoff loss. They signed Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, and drafted Patrick Queen to improve the rush defense. On offense, they drafted two wide receivers to address the weakest part of their team. Baltimore also returns 10 of their 11 offensive starters from a season which they finished 14–2. Oh and MVP Lamar Jackson will be in just his second full year of starting. The Ravens should be Super Bowl favorites at the moment.

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University at Buffalo ’20 | BA in Communication | Writer for The Sports Scientist

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