With the 2020-2021 NFL season fast approaching each team will prepare for the challenges of a 16-week trek to the playoffs with each game playing a crucial role in the overall outcome of the season. New and old faces changing teams throughout a rough off season where every team tries their hardest to improve. Big moves can shake the foundation of an organization star players like Jamal Adams, Stefon Diggs and Deandre Hopkins all shaking the NFL in big moves made by their respective teams. New coaches can change the entire attitude of the team, teams with the best chemistry always perform the better. New rookies will look to take over the NFL this coming season as they will help to improve their team. Taking all aspects of the off season into consideration these are my projections of the NFL standing for the 2020-2021 season.
Dallas Cowboys 9-7
The Dallas Cowboys have one thing necessary to win football games and that is talent, but in past years that hasn’t been enough to put together a deep playoff run. For the Dallas Cowboys to be successful they’ll need to play as a complete team an uncoordinated locker room can destroy a team’s chances. With new head coach Mike McCarthy this team will also look to improve on the defensive side of the ball as they struggled defending passes last season.
Philidelphia Eagles 9-7
Carson Wentz has proven repeatedly that he is an elite quarterback but excluding Zack Ertz what does this offense have? An injured Miles Sanders to start the season as well as a questionable Jalen Reagor and injured Brandon Brooks. An injured team is what has been built in Philadelphia as Carson Wentz will look for an MVP level season if he can lead this team to the playoffs.
The Washington Football Team 4-12
Dwane Haskins is playing in a make or break season as the newly renamed Washington Football Team search for relevance. With an Unsuccessful season Trevor Lawrence could end up wearing a Wahington jersey in 2021. Without a running back this team will rely heavily on Haskins to make big plays throughout the course of the season something he hasn’t proven he’s capable of doing. This is the year of Dwane Haskins for the Washington Football team as he looks to prove himself as true starting quarterback.
New York Giants 7-9
Daniel Jones is in a situation similar to Haskins, although Jones preformed much better in his rookie campaign if he does not take a big leap with his ball security the Giants could look a different direction. New coaches including Jason Garret should help Jones gain confidence as well as improving his already good stats. The Giants have compiled good offensive talent as well as bringing in veterans on defense this team could shock a lot of fans this upcoming season.
Arizona Cardinals 8-8
Another second-year quarterback searching for the playoffs, Although the Cardinals are in a much tougher division, they will still search for a spot in the wild card. With new additions of Isiah Simmons and Deandre Hopkins the Cardinals will look to make a name for themselves this season as they have a bright future ahead of them. Murray will be playing with dangerous targets as he continues to improve. with veterans on defense the Cardinals have a legitimate shot of making a run if they can continue to improve. a second-year quarterback has won the MVP the past two seasons will Murray continue the trend?
Los Angeles Rams 6-10
The Rams will need a big year from Jarred Goff as Todd Gurley was waived now Cam Akers the day 1 starter. Two years removed from the Super Bowl in what will most likely be the toughest division in the NFL the Rams roster looks a lot different. Jarred Goff is coming of a down year as he will look to show he is worth the money the Rams paid him. Without a run game the Rams will not be strong enough to compete with any of the teams in their division as each of the teams improved over the offseason.
San Fransisco 49ers 9-7
Coming off a Super Bowl appearance the team would usually win more than 9 games but losing key players Emmanuel Sanders and Deforest Buckner to free agency as well as Raheem Mostert requesting a trade. A different roster could mean success but without a standout free agent signing Brandon Ayiuk will look to impact. A playoff berth could be a possibility for this team as the 49ers did not make the improvements that the Seahawks have made this off season.
Seattle Seahawks 13-3
Seattle with a very similar roster to last season with the addition of Jamal Adams, if this team can retain the rights to Jadveon Clowney they will be a very tough team to stop with Super Bowl expectations. With the improvement from their young players this could be a team with an unstoppable offense as well as a superior defense. A daunting opponent as they will look to carve their way to the Super Bowl. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett make a tough receiving duo for an opposing defense to stop as Russell Wilson can lead his team as he will lead his team once again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-8
Can a 44-year-old Tom Brady lead a team to the playoffs? Even with some of the best weapons on the NFL the Buc’s just do not have the same defensive prowess as the 14-2 Patriots had last season. Statistically Brady did not play a very good season, but the defense was top tier as they were the top pass defense and top 4 on the run. It is not out of the question for this team to heat up late in the season and make a run in the playoffs but unlikely due to the increasingly limited ability of a 44-year-old quarterback.
Carolina Panthers 3-13
A difficult offseason for the Panthers loosing multiple players, Carolina did not miss completely as Teddy Bridgewater came to town looking to prove himself in a new city. Bringing in Matt Rhule to coach was a great move for the future as they look to assemble a team around Bridgewater and McCaffery. This team will most likely fail to be competitive but with an explosive running back as good as McCaffery this team could steal some games.
New Orleans Saints 12-4
Assuming Alvin Kamara will be a part of this team to start the season, the New Orleans Saints are in a particularly good position to make a run for the Super Bowl. With a fully healthy roster nothing is holding this team back, although they have failed in the playoffs before this will be there best chance a sneaking their way past the Vikings.
Atlanta Falcons 8-8
Bringing in Todd Gurley could help this team a lot, Gurley was debatably the top running back in the 2018-19 season coming off a tough year he will look to bounce back on a new team playing in an explosive offense with a prove quarterback could be exactly what he needs. This team could be dangerous on the offensive side of the football if everything goes according to plan.
Chicago Bears 6-10
With Mitchell Trubisky as the day 1 starter the Bears entrust a lot of faith into their young quarterback, He will need to play at a high level to maintain it as Nick Foles will patiently wait for his opportunity to play at the starting spot. Trubisky’s early career struggles will need to be forgotten if the Bears want a chance to win games. A strong defense will not save the Bears every game, they will not need a top offense just one capable of scoring.
Minnesota Vikings 12-4
The Vikings making a push for the Super bowl as they trade for edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, Kirk Cousins will once again look to lead his team through the playoffs as the New Orleans saints will be playing them once again in the post season. After trading receiver Stefon Diggs many believed the Vikings could look to rebuild as they draft Justin Jefferson as the replacement of the future. But with other signings a bright path could be ahead of Minnesota. The Vikings look ready to compete as they will fight for their spot in the playoffs.
Detroit Lions 4-12
With a win now quarterback the Lions are stuck between rebuild and competitive play as the team continues to age as players regress later into their careers. Losing Darius Slay was not their biggest issue as they brought in youth as well as veteran replacements at DB. Good signings are what will lead the Lions to 4 wins in 2020 as they might have a different approach next offseason. Without the fire power or passion of other teams the Lions will just fall short once again.
Green Bay Packers 10-6
The Packers were just one game away from the Superbowl last season showing how strong this team really was, losing key players and not drafting a receiver in a wide out heavy class was a head scratching off season for the Green Bay Packers. Losing Tramon Williams and Blake Martinez were two bad losses for the Packers, as they also did not address the defensive line. With a rough offseason behind them they look forward to the season where they will have to work hard for a playoff appearance.
Buffalo Bills 12-4
With bigtime additions this off season with Stefon Diggs as well as other signings bringing in former pro-bowler Josh Norman and resigning tackle Dion Dawkins. A strong defense is what leads the Bills with a quarterback looking to break out in 2020 with a solid start to his career Josh Allen has more weapons that will help him have a huge year. With Tre’Davious White as the leader of this team’s defense they will tough to consistently score on, a mix of veterans and young players at corner and safety as well as on the defensive line.
Miami Dolphins 6-10
The much-improved Miami Dolphins did a lot in the summer to make their team more competitive drafting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, tackle Austin Jackson and DB Noah Igbinoghene all in the first round. The Dolphins were not shy in free agency either signing top free agents Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson. Bolstering their defense as well as an attempt to restore the offensive line with Ereck Flower. The Dolphins have improved since a tough season last year with a new quarterback who will be the face of the Dolphins for years to come.
New England Patriots 8-8
The Patriots lost a lot this summer both from Covid-19 and free agency, with multiple starters opting out of the 2020 season the biggest of those players Donta Hightower and Patrick Chung. Free agency was not kind to the Patriots either as Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, while Kyle Van Noy signed with the Miami Dolphins. The headline of the Patriots season has to revolve around the comeback of Cam Newton the 2015 MVP missed football last season and was cut by the Carolina Panthers as he searched for a new team the Patriots decided to take a chance on the quarterback a comeback season for Newton could be huge for the Patriots future.
New York Jets 4-12
This must be the year of Sam Darnold playing two seasons not coming close to the lofty expectations for him, he must prove himself as a legitimate starting quarterback. As one of the top quarterback prospects in the past decade Darnold has not shown how good he truly is, everyone is aware of his ability, but he has not played like himself. In the backfield Le’Veon Bell looks to bounce back to his All-pro form. The 28-year-old has struggle since his contract dispute and will be crucial to the success of the New York Jets. Trading Jamal Adams was an indicator that the Jets were ready to continue the rebuild as they will not be competitive this season unless Bell and Darnold play a huge season.
Denver Broncos 8-8
Fan favorite second year quarterback Drew Lock has received praise for his ability and top of the line potential after his first year playing for the Denver Broncos. A strong all-around team but with a season ending injury to star pass rusher Von Miller the Broncos lose a big star presence which will hurt this team a lot. A defense full of veterans is always tough to score on if Lock can show an early connection with his receivers this team could get hot come December. with two starting caliber running backs the offense could become incredibly versatile resulting in a better overall season than expected.
Las Vegas Raiders 6-10
The Raiders have had a mixed past now they look to be going in the right direction with young good players Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, and other talented players on defense. With a competition for the quarterback spot it could add some added passion on offense resulting in better play. A young team looking to compete in a new city playing every game with a chance to impress the fans. Newcomers look to impress this season as Henry Ruggs III will be the top receiver and Damon Arnette will start game 1 as well. An excited season is ahead of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Los Angeles Chargers 7-9
The Los Angeles Chargers have always been the second team in LA but now is their chance to gain the power. A young quarterback competing against a veteran for the starting spot with a now strong offensive line the chargers could be an interesting team to watch. If the Chargers can have a top 16 offense wins will come their way as they have a strong defense. Their leader on defense Joey Bosa needs to bounce back and play at his star level. The true question mark for the Chargers is Tyrod Taylor’s turn overs if he can keep them down a better season than last year could be ahead of them with a strong defense behind them.
Kansas City Chiefs 14-2
The reigning NFL champion Kansa City Chiefs look to build on their success locking up Patrick Mahomes for the next 10 seasons on a 500-million-dollar contract. Mahomes is just 24 this is a sign the Chiefs will be in playoff contention for the next 10 seasons as Mahomes is the best player in the NFL right now. The explosive connection between Mahomes and his star receiver Tyreek Hill his connection with tight end Travis Kelce is incredible too. The defense of the Chiefs is championship material with stars headlining with Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu. With rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire now on the team this offense will be nothing short of incredible.
Houston Texans 9-7
An offseason of questionable moves for Bill O’Brien trading a top receiver for a running back that will sure up the position not a clear cut started running back just a solid starter. Losing DJ Reader, Lamar Miller, Carlos Hyde, and Johnathon Joseph. Losing Reader and Hopkins are two huge hits to the team. Without a strong enough offensive line to protect Watson, the team will not be able to get points on the board it does not matter how talented Watson is if he doesn’t have time to throw. With a team with enough talent to make plays it will be interesting if they can make a run back to the post season.
Indianapolis Colts 9-7
The Colts had the mindset top get players and upgrade their roster bringing in a veteran leader Philip Rivers, a young defensive tackle Deforrest Buckner, a veteran corner Xavier Rhodes and running back Johnthon Taylor. An improved Colts team will look to make a splash this year as this might be a big year for the Colts especially defensively. A tough team to score on with a mix of youth and veteran leadership a well put together team with a legitimate chance of making big plays in December and even January.
Jacksonville Jaguars 1-15
Jacksonville has entered full rebuild mode cutting Leonard Fournette and trading pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue the future does not look bright for Gardner Minshew either as Jacksonville has its sights set on Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars are trying to liquidate all their assets for picks in the upcoming draft without players to play with the Jaguars will struggle to put points on the board. Just a couple of years ago had a top defense now a defense that will struggle to get stops.
Tennessee Titans 10-6
Coming one game short of their first Superbowl appearance in 20 years. Resigning Ryan Tannehill and entrusting him with the future at quarterback, the Titans were also able to resign star running back Derrick Henry. Resigning most of their free agents was big for the Titans as they brought in other free agents like Vic Beasley as well. The only major loss of the offseason was losing DB Logan Ryan, The Titans will look to continue their success into 2020 coming just short of the Superbowl in January.
Baltimore Ravens 14-2
Many expect Lamar Jackson to lead this team to a 16-0 season and win his second MVP as that is not out of the question, the loss of Earl Thomas is a tough hit to the roster. An unstoppable offense can lead this team through the regular season with a star duo of Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram. The Ravens believe this is their season to dominate the NFL, as they will play just as good if not a better year than last year.
Cincinnati Bengals 3-13
Joe Burrow will play his first season of NFL football for the Cincinnati Bengals, the expected week one starter Joe Burrow is the star of the Bengals the undoubted first overall pick will have weapons since day 1 with AJ Green, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins the rookie quarterback will develop with the rest of the roster as they are not experienced enough to compete this season but are heading into the right direction with young players that are poised to be good pro players.
Cleveland Browns 8-8
A very disappointing season for the Browns last season, coming up short of the playoffs even with big time playmakers on both sides of the ball. Baker Mayfield struggled as he played a much worse year then his rookie season, a connection was not made between Mayfield and his star receivers. Odell Beckham Jr was not the same player in his first year in Cleveland then he was on the New York Giants. The Browns made moves to improve their roster with Austin Hooper and Jedrick Wills. The Browns are making a push for Jadveon Clowney as he could help this defense a lot.
Pitsburgh Steelers 9-7
The most daunting and intimidating defense to face in the entire NFL the Steelers have the talent and passion on the defensive side of the football making them one of the toughest teams to play especially at home. With injuries on offense the Steelers should pose a threat to make the playoffs especially now that more teams can qualify for the wild card. If the offense can begin to gel as James Connor and Juju Smith-Schuster continue to develop. the Steelers have a strong defense but without a consistent go to weapon on offense they could struggle to make big plays.
This article is original content published by sports writer Matthew White. Please feel free to link to and discuss this article but do not copy content.