NFL energy rankings: Buccaneers, Seahawks, Patriots rise; Payments, Packers slide into Week 1

The NFL in 2020 has up to now been a wild, unusual offseason with no preseason. In spite of everything that it is lastly time for actual video games within the common season. 

Regardless of how the 32 groups look on paper nobody will know the way good or dangerous all of them actually are till everybody sees them in motion. Week 1 comes with loads of the same old hype and anticipation but additionally some nervousness and intimidation.

With kickoff looming throughout the league, this is how Sporting Information orders all of the groups for now with the identical final aim of being No. 1 later — in Tremendous Bowl 55.

SN’s full 2020 standings projections & playoff picks

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NFL energy rankings

1. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (post-draft rating: 1)

The Chiefs stay loaded after locking up Patrick Mahomes as in addition they prolonged Chris Jones to maintain anchoring the protection. They’re just about the identical beginning group from Tremendous Bowl 54, lacking solely a few opt-out gamers and so they someway upgraded the offense for Mahomes with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Andy Reid has a powerful favourite to get a second ring after simply getting his first.

2. Baltimore Ravens (2)

The Ravens might be proper on the Chiefs’ heels within the AFC as they develop into a stronger operating and deep passing group for reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. The protection has a pleasant mixture of veterans and youthful vitality to function a greater complementary power, minus Earl Thomas.

three. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (four)

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and now Leonard Fournette aren’t the one causes they’ve a number of buzz. They return the No. 1 protection in opposition to the run which must be higher within the again seven in opposition to the cross. They’ve a confirmed turnaround coach in Bruce Arians. The Bucs absolutely should be among the many high NFC contenders, now led by the GOAT.

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four. San Francisco 49ers (three)

The 49ers are coping with a number of accidents and play in a tricky division, the NFC West. However they managed their losses of DeForest Buckner, Emmanuel Sanders and Joe Staley properly and stay stocked with the elite expertise that bought them to the Tremendous Bowl. Jimmy Garoppolo ought to enhance to raised lead Kyle Shanahan’s run-dominant offense and the cross protection is nice top-to-bottom from Nick Bosa to Richard Sherman.

5. New Orleans Saints (6)

The Saints cannot be forgotten proper behind the Bucs within the NFC South as they search for a fourth consecutive division title. Yet one more 12 months of Drew Brees retains their offense elite and Cameron Jordan continues to energy a well-rounded protection. New Orleans might want to shake off extra playoff disappointment, nonetheless, to emerge out of an excellent top-heavier NFC.

6. Seattle Seahawks (12)

The Seahawks will make it robust for the 49ers to repeat within the West and within the NFC. They’ve rediscovered their energy operating, deep passing and hard secondary id that bought them to 2 Tremendous Bowls early with a youthful Russell Wilson. For an older Wilson, these components are greater than complementary sufficient to get them again.

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7. Philadelphia Eagles (13)

The Eagles belong within the NFC heavyweight dialog, too. Carson Wentz is on the lookout for one other absolutely wholesome season, with the promise of more healthy help regardless of a breakout of accidents. Defensively, their entrance is stronger with Javon Hargrave and their secondary is stable with Darius Slay.

eight. Pittsburgh Steelers (eight)

The Steelers are certain for a giant rebound with Ben Roethlisberger again wholesome to steer an explosive passing sport. Additionally they boast a nasty cross protection with T.J. Watt firing up their edge rush and lots extra playmakers, together with Minkah Fitzpatrick, on each stage. They are going to make the rival Ravens sweat with a triumphant playoff return for Mike Tomlin.

9. Minnesota Vikings (7)

The NFC champion lengthy listing additionally consists of them. They misplaced some acquainted defensive items for Mike Zimmer up entrance and within the secondary, however Yannick Ngakoue was a fantastic late pickup and complementary youth will serve them properly. Offensively, they’ll get extra extremely environment friendly play from Kirk Cousins with Dalvin Cook dinner and the operating sport setting the tone, not lacking a lot of a beat with out Stefon Diggs.

MORE: 10 QBs with probably the most to show in 2020

10. Buffalo Payments (5)

Talking of Diggs, the Payments have put a number of strain on Josh Allen to show the nook as a passer after giving him a real No. 1 extensive receiver. Sean McDermott’s protection and a extra juiced operating sport are nonetheless the inspiration of how they’ll attempt to lastly take the AFC East from the Brady-less Patriots.

11. Dallas Cowboys (11)

The Cowboys are proper exterior the NFC powerhouses for now, however they will get there, free from the Jason Garrett limitations. They can hit a better offensive ceiling with Mike McCarthy becoming a member of Kellen Moore to affect Dak Prescott, now with rookie first-rounder CeeDee Lamb in tow. Mike Nolan additionally will get probably the most out of their defensive entrance seven.

12. Inexperienced Bay Packers (9)

The Packers overachieved in Matt LaFleur’s first season, leaning extra on an improved operating sport and protection and fewer on Aaron Rodgers. They nonetheless have that profitable id, however they need to regress somewhat as they did not do a lot to additional carry Rodgers for this season.

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13. New England Patriots (19)

The Patriots are selecting Cam Newton to exchange Brady within the quick time period, however they’ve loads of different offensive points to iron out as they attempt to faucet into Newton’s MVP upside. Defensively, they’ve misplaced a number of cross rush however gained extra youth and flexibility for Invoice Belichick. Belichick can do his greatest teaching job but if he will get these explicit Patriots to the playoffs. 

14. Houston Texans (14)

The Texans is perhaps a large number defensively and they’ll really feel the lack of DeAndre Hopkins offensively, however in addition they are lucky the expertise and management of Deshaun Watson give him a excessive built-in flooring — and by far probably the most dependable and dazzling QB play (nonetheless) within the AFC South.

15. Cleveland Browns (20)

The Browns have carried out all the pieces they will to repair Baker Mayfield, together with upgraded cross safety, extra versatile weaponry and a extra run-oriented environment friendly system with rookie coach Kevin Stefanski. They need to reside as much as expectations higher offensively, whereas the protection makes extra key performs, too. They’re much higher outfitted for a playoff run than final season.

MORE: Why the Browns will make the playoffs in 2020

16. Arizona Cardinals (21)

The Cardinals will hope that Kyler Murray enjoys the identical 12 months 2 soar as Mahomes and Jackson, now armed with Hopkins in Kliff Kingsbury’s system. The protection additionally bought some essential assist for Chandler Jones and the secondary in rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons. Arizona is a deserving buzzworthy group, however San Francisco and Seattle stand as obstacles for a real breakthrough.

17. Los Angeles Rams (25)

Earlier than the 49ers and Seahawks made the playoffs collectively and the previous performed within the Tremendous Bowl, it was the Rams’ flip as NFC champions. Sean McVay and Les Snead did discover good replacements for Todd Gurley (Cam Akers) and Brandin Cooks (Van Jefferson), however their protection has some points anyplace between Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.

18. Atlanta Falcons (23)

Dan Quinn will get one other likelihood to push the protection in the appropriate path. Talking of Gurley, the Falcons hope a semi-homecoming will assist present some semblance of steadiness to Dirk Koetter’s pass-happy offense for Matt Ryan. The Falcons can gentle up the scoreboard at occasions, however there is perhaps an excessive amount of strain to all the time win higher-scoring video games.

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19. Indianapolis Colts (18)

Philip Rivers is their new beginning quarterback and desires to indicate he is nonetheless bought it after a shaky closing 12 months with the Chargers. This group will lean properly on its offensive line, operating sport and remixed receiving corps, the place rookies Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. can have massive components. The protection stays on the stable aspect vs. the spectacular, nonetheless.

20. Los Angeles Chargers (22)

The Chargers are rolling with Tyrod Taylor to exchange Rivers as Justin Herbert waits. They’ve loads round Taylor to provide higher massive performs offensively. Their protection was wanting fairly good on each stage behind Joey Bosa till Derwin James suffered one other main harm setback. Anthony Lynn’s group is someplace in between the 2018 breakout and 2019 washout.

21. Denver Broncos (15)

The Broncos are getting a number of buzz tied to second-year QB Drew Lock and a revamped set of talent gamers round him, however they’re present process a giant transition in Pat Shurmur’s offense and have some line points that may maintain them again. Defensively, they’ve good particular person items akin to Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Justin Simmons, however there are some obvious holes for Vic Fangio, too.

Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields have firm; Steelers, Bears, Jets get playmakers

22. Tennessee Titans (13)

The Titans will cool off significantly from their surprising AFC championship run with Mike Vrabel final season. Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown are nonetheless the triplets main the offense, however they should discover extra solutions there. Tennessee is also extra middle-pack defensively regardless of some standout qualities.

23. Las Vegas Raiders (17)

The Raiders are shifting into their fancy new house within the desert with extra offensive youth, with rookie extensive receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards tabbed for giant roles to assist second-year operating again Josh Jacobs with the supporting manufacturing for Derek Carr. Defensively, there sufficient enhancements (see linebackers) to make them a sleeper playoff group. Sadly, file them with the Chargers and Broncos nearly as good groups chasing a fantastic one within the AFC West.

24. Chicago Bears (24)

The Bears are doing their greatest to cover QB play regardless of having an offensive-minded coach in Matt Nagy. Neither Nick Foles nor Mitchell Trubisky evokes a lot confidence, as a result of Chicago cannot precisely simply lean on protection and operating sport to win sufficient video games in an NFC North the place each different group can cross significantly better with no issues at crucial place.

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25. New York Giants (16)

The Giants are assured in rookie coach Joe Choose and second-year QB Daniel Jones. However Garrett’s offense might be a substantial adjustment and regardless of some defensive investments, they’re nonetheless appreciable points there for that transition.

26. Cincinnati Bengals (27)

Joe Burrow provides the Bengals loads of optimism they will not end close to the underside once more. He is the right match for Zac Taylor’s offense and he inherits loads of talent, led by Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon, and a extra promising offensive line with a wholesome Jonah Williams. Defensively, the Bengals did make investments to be much less of a large number, however they’re nonetheless beneath common there.

27. Detroit Lions (28)

The Lions are laborious group to learn. They will find yourself getting top-flight QB play from Matthew Stafford, — which he delivered for half a season earlier than his 2019 again harm — and nonetheless disappoint when it comes to profitable video games. That is tied to having an inconsistent operating sport, which they hope to right with D’Andre Swift. Defensively, the heavy strain might be on Matt Patricia to place the items collectively, quick.

MORE: These 10 NFL groups don’t have any likelihood to win Tremendous Bowl 55

28. Carolina Panthers (29)

The Panthers positively have extra velocity to burn offensively with Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore seeing extra playmaking pop below Joe Brady and Teddy Bridgewater is a degree guard as much as the duty. Protection, nonetheless, might be an enormous downside for Matt Rhule, with Luke Kuechly creating probably the most huge void.

29. Miami Dolphins (30)

The Dolphins will not thoughts taking a couple of extra lumps of their rebuild as Ryan Fitzpatrick bridges the offense to Tua Tagovailoa and Brian Flores works to get his new-look protection to jell in entrance of high corners Xavien Howard and Byron Jones.

30. New York Jets (26)

Adam Gase has been adamant about getting his kind of offensive gamers round Sam Darnold. The receiving corps nonetheless appears somewhat messy and the operating sport continues to go additional away from Le’Veon Bell. With all that in thoughts, the Jets’ larger legal responsibility is Gregg Williams’ protection, now with out Jamal Adams.

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31. Jacksonville Jaguars (32)

The Jaguars have rapidly flipped the 2017 group that made it to the AFC championship sport and are someway nonetheless coached by Doug Marrone. Gardner Minshew places them on the map in an offense with extra West Coast definition below Jay Gruden. Younger edge rushers Josh Allen and Okay’Lavon Chaisson, sadly, are the brand new vibrant spots in a principally gutted protection.

32. Washington Soccer Crew (31)

That is an analysis and cleanup 12 months for Ron Rivera and Jason Wright. Washington is assessing whether or not Dwayne Haskins is the reply, however he is additionally coping with some main questions in his essential help system. There’s extra established to love defensively for Rivera and Jack Del Rio, now with Chase Younger because the cornerstone.

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