Players have reported to training camp, and things will get rolling toward the start of the season in the days ahead after the ramp-up period. These 2020 training camp NFL power rankings will be slightly abbreviated compared to usual, and we’ll have a fresh set of power rankings out before kickoff on September 10.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes signed a contract worth half a billion dollars and became a part owner of the MLB’s Kansas City Royals since the last power rankings, so he’s on cloud nine right now. The Chiefs were also able to sign defensive lineman Chris Jones long term, and most of the band is back together for a run at a repeat.
2. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are a potential powerhouse that you could make a case for the No. 1 spot even as the Chiefs come off a Super Bowl victory. Baltimore looks like a close-knit team, which should help them smoothly navigate an unprecedented time.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady got players together for workouts on their own, but the Buccaneers drop from No. 2 to No. 3 in part because the pinpoint quarterback didn’t have a full offseason of acclimating to Bruce Arians’ offense. Still, Tampa Bay looks like they’ll be excellent on both sides of the ball, and this will be an exciting summer for them.
4. San Francisco 49ers
The NFL Top 100 list is far from perfect with the way voting is done (many players don’t vote), but you see the respect Jimmy Garoppolo has around the league after he landed in the top 50. Garoppolo is coming off just his first full season as a starting quarterback, and San Francisco’s potential remains sky high. The health of Deebo Samuel (foot) ahead of Week 1 will be something to watch this summer.
5. Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen similarly got respect from the players, and just about the only place he doesn’t get respect is from analytics people and NFL Twitter. Anyway, training camp will be big for Allen and the Buffalo offense as they look to incorporate new receiver Stefon Diggs into the group. Also, I’d like to see Allen get good game-style reps and check the ball down more than he has.
6. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks made a huge splash with the Jamal Adams trade, and they are expecting the All-Pro safety to make a huge difference on the backend of their defense with a championship in their vision. If D.K. Metcalf can take a leap forward following his stellar rookie campaign, Seattle could have multiple superstar players on both sides of the ball.
7. New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees could be a player that benefits from the shortened NFL offseason, as he already knows the Saints offense like the back of his hand. There’s been talk that New Orleans might be in on Jadeveon Clowney, and they would make a jump into the top five if they are able to land the top edge player.
8. Tennessee Titans
Signing Derrick Henry to a long-term deal instead of having him play on the franchise tag was a good move for locker room morale. The team loves their monstrous league-leading rusher, and guys should naturally play harder for an organization rewarding its players for performing. The Titans have a very strong roster with explosive players.
9. New England Patriots
With several opt-outs including linebacker Dont’a Hightower, right tackle Marcus Cannon, and safety Patrick Chung, the Patriots drop a few spots from the post-draft power rankings. However, the team made an upside signing in former NFL MVP Cam Newton at quarterback, and Bill Belichick has obviously shown his teams can get it done with the next-man-up mentality.
10. Atlanta Falcons
The play and progression of the cornerback group for the Falcons will be huge for their chances of competing this season, but the roster looks excellent on paper. Offensively, the line needs to mesh and protect Matt Ryan—if the first-round-stacked group can become a top-ten unit, Atlanta should get back on track.
11. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles make a pretty big jump from the post-draft power rankings after the COVID-impacted offseason. While other teams might struggle after less time together during the spring and early summer, Philadelphia should benefit from having the same offense and defense they’ve had over the past four years under Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
12. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have a challenge of transitioning from Wade Phillips to new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley during this light year of organized team training, but there’s plenty of talent to figure it out on the defense. Sean McVay’s offense should be among the league’s best if the offensive line plays like it did down the stretch in 2019.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers
A healthy Ben Roethlisberger will be a pleasant sight for Steelers fans, and the future Hall of Fame quarterback adds another element to Pittsburgh this season. Head coach Mike Tomlin is equipped to handle this unideal situation and get his players to perform at a high level when the season begins.
14. Las Vegas Raiders
It’s unfortunate for the Los Angeles teams and Las Vegas that their new stadiums will open with a whimper due to the pandemic. Still, the upside of the Raiders is very high, even with a bunch of moving parts after another big offseason of additions on both sides of the ball.
15. Dallas Cowboys
The negotiations between Dak Prescott and the Cowboys appear to have gotten ugly after Prescott’s brother criticized the franchise, but the good news is that Dak should be on his game as he looks for a long-term deal from Dallas or another team in a future offseason. I’d probably be higher on the Cowboys if Mike McCarthy’s first offseason leading the team wasn’t all but eliminated.
16. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is not shying away from the fact that he’s unhappy the team drafting a first-round quarterback instead of a receiver in this year’s draft, and the Packers are this low in the power rankings because it’s easy to see the wheels fall off if things don’t go well early. The relationship and communication between Rodgers and the coaching staff will be intriguing this summer.
17. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts could easily be higher than this, but they are slightly lower than they were because lack of a real offseason with the new pieces—though it helps that Philip Rivers already knows Frank Reich’s offense. With perhaps the best offensive line in football leading the charge, Indy has the potential to be an elite team.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook wants a new contract, but the new collective bargaining agreement passed this year basically makes it impossible for players under contract to hold out of training camp. Cook is the engine for the Vikings offense, so hopefully he’s determined and happy with or without a new deal this summer.
19. Denver Broncos
The Denver offense is a group to be optimistic about, but we should keep in mind that they are all young and could experience growing pains throughout his weird season. It helps that running back Melvin Gordon can handle a heavy workload and has had plenty of success finding the end zone throughout his career, and Vic Fangio’s defense sounds like it has a Von Miller that’s on a mission in 2020.
20. Chicago Bears
There was concern from a football perspective after a fake news rumor about Nick Foles opting out of the season made the rounds, but the former Super Bowl MVP is in camp and ready to push Mitchell Trubisky for the starting quarterback job. One way or another, Chicago should get improved quarterback play this season, which will make them a potent team in the NFC North.
21. Houston Texans
Like several other teams, the Texans might be impacted more than others by the lack of time together. Bill O’Brien revamped the offense earlier this year by sending away DeAndre Hopkins while bringing in David Johnson, Brandin Cooks, and Randall Cobb. Houston might be looking for Deshaun Watson to take another step toward mastery of the offense in a spread-it-out attack.
22. Arizona Cardinals
The hype for the Cardinals might ramp up over the summer, as I feel like they would be a team that’d be getting talked about more if there was a full offseason. However, the division is incredibly tough, and we’ll see if the offensive line has made strides from last season.
23. Los Angeles Chargers
Especially in what might be a sloppy season, the Chargers could have a formula to surprise some people by running the ball and playing stout defense. Tyrod Taylor is fully expected to start, but rookie quarterback Justin Herbert’s development will be something to watch over the next several weeks.
24. Miami Dolphins
It sounds like the Dolphins will play Tua Tagovailoa if he shows that he’s ready to play at a high level, but they are in a good spot at quarterback if Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center to open the year. The most important thing for Miami is to protect the quarterback so they can feel more comfortable putting Tua out there as a rookie.
25. New York Giants
Saquon Barkley had documented his outstanding work ethic this offseason, and Daniel Jones is a rising star at quarterback for the Giants. The run defense looks like it should be among the league’s best on paper, but the Giants need some linebacker and secondary guys to step up this summer.
26. Detroit Lions
It speaks to the depth of the NFL to have teams like the Giants and Lions this low in the power rankings. But Detroit should be much better with a healthy Matthew Stafford at quarterback leading a talented offense. The Lions will use camp to get their new pieces on defense up to speed in Matt Patricia’s unit.
27. Cleveland Browns
There’s obviously star-quality talent in Cleveland, but they remain low in the power rankings as another team that could be hurt by the lack of a true offseason during a coaching change. However, the Browns could have a plan for success by pounding the ball with Nick Chubb behind an improved offensive line.
28. Carolina Panthers
While they might not be super flashy, the Teddy Bridgewater-led Panthers are one of the most interesting teams in the league to me as training camp gets underway. Bridgewater might open things up and win shootouts if the defense struggles in its first year without Luke Kuechly.
29. New York Jets
Considering Jamal Adams did not want to play for the franchise any longer, it’s hard not to love the massive return the Jets got in return for their former first-round pick. Sam Darnold is entering a big summer and season in Year 2 under Adam Gase, as New York is armed with the capital to move around the draft board and go get a quarterback in next year’s draft if they want.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is another guy that probably would be better off more than others right now if the NFL offseason went on as normal this year, but the No. 1 overall pick will have a few weeks to get up to game speed in Zac Taylor’s offense. Star running back Joe Mixon is in camp and entering a contract year with the Bengals.
31. Washington Football Team
The biggest story for Washington this offseason might not be the name change, but the amazing comeback by veteran quarterback Alex Smith from his devastating leg injury suffered in 2018. There was a chance Smith could have died from the injury, so it’s just awesome he’s even gotten to this point. If Smith is able to get full clearance from the “Washington Football Team” during camp, it would make for an interesting discussion for new head coach Ron Rivera and his staff.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Gardner Minshew could be exciting for the Jaguars, but Jacksonville looks to be in a tough spot roster-wise as training camp begins. We’ll see if the Jags can get some draft capital in exchange for disgruntled defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.