Predictions for 2020 NFL Season



by Sammy Krem

Why these top teams are the most dangerous in the whole league



As the NFL just released a statement planning to begin the 2020 season as scheduled, these predictions assume COVID-19 will not affect any of the games played during the season. The predictions are also based on a 16-game schedule. The top 10 teams ranked below are based on their 2020 roster, coaching staff, strength of schedule and front office. Since bye-weeks have not been released, those will not be factored in this list.



#1 Baltimore Ravens





Forbes



With the addition of Calais Campbell, a former All-Pro defensive lineman, the Ravens hard-hitting defense only gets stronger. The Ravens’ defense—which now has five former First Team All-Pros under the guidance of one of the best defensive coaches in the league, John Harbaugh—should be one of (if not the) scariest defensive units in the league. Furthermore, the Ravens’ high scoring offense, which broke the NFL record for rushing yards in a season, will only continue to improve, boasting young offensive stars such as the electric 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson and the explosive tight end Mark Andrews, and veterans such as Pro-Bowl running back Mark Ingram. They also have arguably the best kicker in the NFL, Justin Tucker. Although they will face tough teams such as the Chiefs and Titans, they should have an extremely strong season.



#2 Kansas City Chiefs





Fox29 News



The reigning Super Bowl champions will continue to assert their dominance in the 2020 season. Even if the Chiefs did not sign any new stars, they placed a franchise tag on Pro Bowler and defensive end Chris Jones. Under the guidance of coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs’ offense will continue to improve with former MVP and All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes; the speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill coming off an injury-riddled season; one of the best tight ends, Travis Kelce; and the deep threat wide receiver and return specialist Mecole Hardman. Their defense may have appeared weak at times due to their injured defensive playmakers, Chris Jones and Frank Clarkbut, but after they returned, the Chiefs allowed the fewest points in the last five weeks of the 2019 NFL season. With a strong defensive line and an electric offense, the Kansas City Chiefs should have a strong season.



#3 San Francisco 49ers





Google Images



Although the San Francisco 49ers came off a disappointing Super Bowl loss, they will not have a Super Bowl slump like the Los Angeles Rams. Even though they lost talent in free agency, such as wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and the dangerous defensive end Deforest Buckner, they still have many playmakers on both ends. Kyle Shanahan’s offense consists of stars like All-Pro tight end George Kittle, Pro Bowl quarterback Jimmy Garrapolo, and flashy wide receiver Deebo Samuel, along with a talented backfield. This backfield consists of running back Raheem Mostert who rushed for over 220 yards and 4 touchdowns in the NFC Championship, Matt Breida who has averaged an impressive 5 yards per carry for the last two seasons, and Tevin Coleman, the Week 8 FedEx Ground Player of the Week. Their defensive front will not only have elite edge rushers like Pro Bowl defensive ends Nick Bosa and Dee Ford and talented linebacker Kwon Alexander, but also have a lockdown secondary led by All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. The 49ers will face a competitive NFC West and strong teams like the Chiefs, Packers, and Patriots. However, the young 49ers have consistently proven that they can beat teams with top records such as the Seahawks and the Packers.



#4 New Orleans Saints





Youtube



The Saints lost backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to free agency, but Drew Brees’ decision to continue playing in the NFL makes the Saints one of the best teams in the NFL. The addition of veteran playmakers like two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and three-time Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins should make the Saints even stronger on both sides. With the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, Drew Brees will be less reliant on the two-time All-Pro and reception leader Michael Thomas. Now, he will be able to throw to one more elite playmaker. The Saints also have three-time Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara who has averaged more than 12 net touchdowns a year. Although the Saints will face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice a year as well as the Chiefs, Packers, and the 49ers, Brees has proven clutch in tight games and could sometimes perform some late-game magic.



#5 Tennessee Titans





Yardbreaker.com



This offseason, the Titans re-signed the unstoppable 2019 rushing yard leader and Pro-Bowl running back Derrick Henry, and the leader in passing rating: quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Furthermore, the Titans young receiving core will mature and improve: rookie deep threat AJ Brown had an impressive stat line of 52 catches and 1052 yards and reliable wide receivers Adam Humphries and Corey Davis caught a combined 80 catches for almost 1000 yards. Although the Titans traded receiving back Dion Lewis, this loss should not be a problem as he struggled to produce as a Titan. The Titans’ defense is also strong. Under the Mike Vrabel’s defensive scheme – which has a decent secondary consisting of former First Team All-Pro safety Kevin Byard, one-time Pro-Bowler cornerback Malcolm Butler, and the consistent cornerback Logan Ryan – the Titans should cover tough quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Lamar Jackson. The Titans should also be able to pressure the quarterback more since they signed former First-Team All-Pro linebacker Vic Beasley. Additionally, if the Titans do need help on offense, their All-Pro Punter, Brett Kern should be able to help. The Titans will almost certainly play in shootouts with the Ravens, Packers, the Buccaneers, and the Texans, but the Titans should blow out the rest of their mediocre opponents.



#6 Green Bay Packers





USA Today



In 2019, the Packers proved that they were a team that could win under a new head coach and with an aging but elite Aaron Rodgers, a future Hall of Fame quarterback. The team lost the league leader in tackles, linebacker Blake Martinez, and former All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham, but both stars had their weaknesses. Jimmy Graham failed to produce as a Packer, only generating 448 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the 2019 season. Furthermore, Blake Martinez failed in covering tough tight ends and receivers. With Blake Martinez’s departure, the Packers signed the 2016 league leader in run stops, linebacker Christian Kirksey. The Packers have also signed a reliable wide receiver, Devin Funchess. Like the signing of Emmanuel Sanders in New Orleans to aid Drew Brees, this addition of Devin Funchess should give Aaron Rodgers a new weapon. The Packers may have not signed star players; however, they still have a total touchdown leader running back Aaron Jones, who is only 25 years old. The Packers also have Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target, Devante Adams, one of the best current route running wide receivers. Furthermore, the Packers have a young defense filled with great talent. Their linebackers Za'darius Smith and Preston Smith each had over twelve sacks. Their young secondary also allowed less than a 60% completion percentage and only 19 passing touchdowns through the 2019 season. The Packers will face tough opponents like the 49ers and the Saints, but new Green Bay Packers coach Matt Lafluer’s offensive scheme will only continue to improve, making the pack formidable opponents.



#7 Seattle Seahawks





Los Angeles Times



With the signing of veteran tight end Greg Olson, a former panther, the seven-time Pro-Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson will have one additional target out of the already elite receiving core consisting of wide receivers Tyler Locket and D.K Metcalf. The Seahawks also have Chris Carson and Rashad Penny who are impressive running backs respectively. Although the Seahawks have one of the worst offensive lines in the whole league according to Pro Football Focus, Russell Wilson’s elusiveness accompanied by his above-average running backs should make their offensive line the least of their problems. Last season the Seahawks defense struggled, allowing the 11th most points. In addition, the loss of Jadaveon Clowney, one of the key members of their front seven, will severely affect their defense. Even with all the losses, five-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner should help them in key moments against tough opponents like the Rams, 49ers, and Vikings.



#8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers





Sports Illustrated



If it were not for Jameis Winston’s 30 interceptions, the Buccaneers would have most likely been a playoff team. However, with the signing of Tom Brady, the Buccaneers are now one of the most dangerous teams in the whole league. Under Bruce Arians’ talented coaching staff, Tom Brady in Tampa Bay will elevate the already talented offense consisting of Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and the above-average tight end duo: Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. The Buccaneers' defense, which had the best run-stopping unit in the whole league, will continue to improve with sack leader and First-Team All-Pro linebacker Shaquill Barett. The team’s defense should be much better as they do not have a quarterback turning the ball more than 30 times. Although the Buccaneers will have to compete against talented teams like the Saints, Chief, and Packers twice a year, the rest of their schedule will not be as difficult.



#9 New England Patriots





SB Nation



The Patriots may have the toughest schedule in the NFL. However, the Patriots also have one of the best head coaches of all time – Bill Belicheck. Under Bill Belichick's scheme, with the help of First-Team All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the 2019 Patriots allowed a mere 20 offensive touchdowns and 275.9 total yards per game. Furthermore, they picked off their opponents 25 times. Although many key defensive players have left the Patriots such as Kyle Van Noy, the Patriots will have 12 picks in the draft to refill the team’s absent front seven. Even if the Patriots lost the aging Tom Brady, who had a difficult season, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they could still trade in the draft to choose an elite college quarterback like Jalen Hurts or Justin Herbert. They could even trade for an elite backup like Marcus Mariota, or pick up free agent Jameis Winston. The Patriots’ potential lack of offense in the 2020 season due to Tom Brady’s absence and mediocre receiving threats might cost them a few games, but their top-rated defense will help them stay in tough games against the Ravens, Chiefs, and Seahawks.



#10 Buffalo Bills





Pro Football Focus



Josh Allen throws a football downfield. This 2020 free agency, the Bills signed star wide receiver Stefon Diggs to aid big arm quarterback Josh Allen. Now, with Josh Brown, a 1000 yard wide receiver, and consistent wide receiver Cole Beasley, the Bills’ offense should be much improved. Additionally, the Bills have Devin Singletary, a running back who rushed for 700 yards averaging 5 yards per carry. The Bills also improved their already fourth-ranked coverage defense by adding former First Team All-Pro corner Josh Norman. Josh Norman has not been playing at an elite level for the past two years, but hopefully, his coverage and tackling abilities will improve with an elite coaching staff. Although the Bills will face tough teams like the 49ers, Titans, Seahawks, Chiefs and Patriots, their elite coaching staff led by Sean Mcdermmot will help the Bills compete, or even win, in these tough matches.