NFL power rankings entering training camp

32. Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins head into 2019 expecting a year of transition and uncertainty at key positions. The Dolphins especially have some uncertainty at the quarterback position as offseason additions Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick will battle it out for the starting job. However, the Dolphins don’t have many impact players on either side of the ball. Kenny Stills and Kenyan Drake are the biggest threats for the Dolphins on offense, but they can be inconsistent at times. Meanwhile, on defense the Dolphins have a terrific young core with Xavien Howard, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. However, the Dolphins still have many holes to fill on defense before it can be a good unit overall. The Dolphins have some pieces to work with for the future, but the team doesn’t appear to have the intention of competing in 2019.

31. Arizona Cardinals

Arizona has a new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and a talented young quarterback with rookie 1st overall pick Kyler Murray. However, a talented quarterback and a terrific offensive mind like Kingsbury won’t necessarily lead to many wins in 2019. The Cardinals did a good job of trying to surround Murray with some young talent on offense, but we’ll see if their young receivers can make an impact right away. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have star running back David Johnson, but he wasn’t very good last season by his standards. The Cardinals offense should be improved in 2019, but don’t expect major improvement from last season. The Cardinals defense still has plenty of talent with players like Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson, and newly signed pass rusher Terrell Suggs. However, Peterson is suspended the first 6 games of the season and that will likely impact the defense in a very negative way. Overall, the Cardinals defense doesn’t inspire much room for optimism and the offense could struggle to acclimate to a new quarterback and offensive system, so it could be a very tough season in Arizona.

30. New York Giants

The New York Giants made some major moves this offseason to rebuild their team, but the direction of the team is still confusing. They no longer have key playmakers such as Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, and Landon Collins as they all departed this offseason. The Giants still have elite running back Saquon Barkley on offense, but the problem is the Giants don’t have another reliable threat on offense. Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram, and newly signed receiver Golden Tate are the top options in the passing game. Also, Eli Manning is a subpar starting quarterback that can’t be relied upon and 1st round rookie Daniel Jones likely isn’t ready to make an impact right away. Rookie 1st round cornerback Deandre Baker and defensive tackle Christian Lawrence will make the Giants defense better. However, the Giants still have many holes on defense and it’s hard to expect them to carry the team this season. Overall, the Giants are in transition with their entire roster and it’s hard to see them competing for a playoff spot this season.

29. Cincinnati Bengals

Maybe the Bengals surprise us all and somehow make the playoffs this season, but that is very unlikely with the uncertainty that the franchise has right now. New head coach Zac Taylor is still very inexperienced as a coach and he’s only been an offensive coordinator once prior to this season. The Bengals did draft Jonah Williams in the 1st round to improve their offensive line, but now he is expected to miss his entire rookie season. I do like the pieces that they have on offense with running back Joe Mixon to go along with the good duo of A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd at receiver. The offense might surprise some people especially if quarterback Andy Dalton has a good season. However, it’s difficult to overlook the weaknesses that they have on defense. The Bengals have some good veteran players with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins on their defensive line, but they lack a good pass rush overall. The strength of the defense is clearly in the secondary and the team is hoping that they can carry the unit overall. The Bengals could be a sleeper team this season, but they play in a tough division and it could take awhile for new head coach Zac Taylor to adjust to his role.

28. Buffalo Bills

I really like what the Bills did in the draft by selecting Ed Oliver in the 1st round to make their defensive line even better than it already was. Also, 2nd round pick Cody Ford will hopefully provide some stability to what was a terrible offensive line last season. I don’t really have any concerns about the Bills defense especially with the additions they made this offseason. However, the offense is still a major concern because I don’t think they really did enough to improve. Sure, they added John Brown and Cole Beasley which should help to improve the passing game. That being said, Brown and Beasley shouldn’t be the top receivers on any NFL roster and it isn’t a significant upgrade over what the team had last season. Meanwhile, the running back position isn’t very good as LeSean McCoy isn’t the dynamic player that he once was and he probably shouldn’t even be a starter at this point in his career. Quarterback Josh Allen clearly has some potential, but he needs to fix the accuracy issues that he had last season. Overall, the Bills defense needs to carry the team because the offense likely won’t be much better than it was last season.

27. Washington Redskins

Washington’s defense should be fine this season especially with the big-time acquisition of safety Landon Collins this offseason. However, there’s not a lot to like about the Redskins offense heading into 2019. Sure, Dwayne Haskins was a really good pick in the 1st round and he has plenty of potential. That being said, Haskins is just a rookie and it’s difficult to expect him to come in and make much of an impact right away. Also, Haskins doesn’t have much talent around him. Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson are the team’s top receivers, but they haven’t inspired much optimism that they can be reliable options. The Redskins backfield is really deep and talented, but they’ll need to decide who will get the most carries between players like Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, and Bryce Love. Overall, Haskins could exceed everyone’s expectations as the starting quarterback, but it won’t help that he doesn’t have much talent around him on offense. The Redskins have the defense to succeed, but the offense is what will really hold them back in 2019.

26. Detroit Lions

The Lions are just a mediocre team heading into 2019. They aren’t really a playoff contender, but at the same time they likely won’t be a terrible team either. I do like what they have on offense as they have a few good pass-catchers with Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, and rookie 1st round tight end TJ Hockenson. Hopefully Matthew Stafford can take advantage of his good pass-catchers and be better than last season. Keryon Johnson gives the running game some hope if he can stay healthy. Overall, the Lions offense should be able to score some points, but it is the defense that remains a concern. Sure, the Lions gave defensive end Trey Flowers a massive contract in free agency, but he still hasn’t had more than 7.5 sacks in a season. Cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle are both really good players, but it is a question of how productive they’ll be as they are unhappy with their current contracts. The Lions overall will struggle defensively this season and that is what will really hold them back.

25. Oakland Raiders

Oakland was a terrible team last season and they got considerably better this offseason with big additions like Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, and Tyrell Williams in free agency. Also, they added three 1st round picks in the draft with Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, and Johnathan Abram. The Raiders no doubt have much more talent than they had last season and the only real big loss that they had this offseason was tight end Jared Cook. The Raiders will certainly be more competitive in 2019, but I’m not sold on them being a playoff contender just yet. They still have major needs at every position group on defense and the offseason additions of Ferrell, Abram, and Joyner won’t completely solve their defensive woes. The Raiders passing offense could be really good with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams as their top two receivers. Also, the running game could be decent as well if Josh Jacobs is able to make an instant impact as a rookie. The Raiders shouldn’t have a problem scoring points in 2019, but the defense remains a big concern even with the additions they made this offseason.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are a team with a high ceiling and a low floor for the 2019 season, but I believe they’ll likely be somewhere in between. Jacksonville’s defense is as talented as any NFL defense especially after they drafted talented pass rusher Josh Allen in the 1st round of the draft. Jacksonville’s defense could be very good if all of their talent can mesh better than they did last season. However, the offense remains a major concern heading into 2019. The offense will rely on star running back Leonard Fournette once again, but even he is unreliable due to his injury history and character concerns at times. The Jaguars did sign new starting quarterback Nick Foles to a huge contract in free agency, but he’s been a backup for most of his career and I’m not sure that he’ll be a significant upgrade for the team at the position. Also, Foles likely won’t get much help from his receivers as players like Marquise Lee, DJ Chark, and Dede Westbrook form what is likely the worst wide receiver group in the NFL. Jacksonville has major issues overall and offense while their franchise is still dysfunctional, so it could be another rough season for the Jaguars.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a mystery team heading into 2019 as they are in transition under new head coach Bruce Arians. Tampa Bay still has an elite passing game despite losing DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries this offseason. However, the running game and offensive line didn’t see any improvements made this offseason, so those units will likely be bad once again. Quarterback Jameis Winston is the biggest question mark for the Buccaneers heading into 2019 as they hope that Arians will help him limit his turnovers. If Winston plays well and doesn’t throw interceptions then the sky is the limit for Tampa Bay’s offense. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s defense remains a major concern despite the moves that they made this offseason. The pass rush is a really big concern with star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul expected to miss a big chunk of the season. They’ll need players like Shaquil Barrett and Carl Nassib to really step up while Pierre-Paul is out. Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea should form a really good defensive tackle duo while also being terrific run stoppers. The linebacker position is solid especially with the selection of Devin White in the 1st round of the draft. The real mystery remains in the secondary. They added Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, and Mike Edwards all early on in the draft. The Buccaneers are hoping that those trio of rookies can make an impact right away or else their secondary won’t be much better than last season. Overall, Tampa Bay didn’t get much better on either side of the ball and it’s hard to expect Bruce Arians to turn the ship around right away.

22. Denver Broncos

Denver still is really solid on defense especially with their pass rush with Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, and Derek Wolfe leading the way. Also, the secondary figures to be good once again with Chris Harris returning as their shutdown cornerback. I don’t really have many concerns about the defense, but the offense continues to be a concern. New starting quarterback Joe Flacco is probably an upgrade over Case Keenum, but Flacco is still just an average quarterback. Also, Flacco might struggle to find reliable receivers in the passing game. Emmanuel Sanders is the team’s top receiver, but he is recovering from an achilles injury and he might not be as effective. Young receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton really need to step up if the passing game is going to improve. The Broncos offense will likely rely on the dynamic running back duo of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, so they should take a lot of pressure off the passing game. If Denver’s offense can improve quite a bit in 2019 then it’s not difficult to envision them being a playoff contender.

21. New York Jets

The Jets are an improved team and they have some really good potential if young quarterback Sam Darnold continues to get better. The addition of star running back Le’Veon Bell will take a lot of pressure off Darnold and it could really improve their offense in a big way. New York’s defense also has the chance to be good especially with the addition of Quinnen Williams to form a good duo with Leonard Williams on the defensive line. Jamal Adams and Trumaine Johnson also help make the secondary pretty good heading into 2019. Overall, New York is a decent all-around team if they can put the pieces together, but they don’t really specialize in one area. Maybe the Jets become a playoff contender in 2019, but it is unlikely that they’ll be a major threat to the Patriots in the AFC East.

20. San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco was a really bad team last season, but that was just a matter of bad luck than anything else and they should be much better in 2019. If quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returns to form after his injury then the 49ers could have a good offense and legitimately be a playoff contender. Garoppolo also has a reliable target with tight end George Kittle, but the wide receiver group really needs to improve in 2019. The 49ers running back group is really deep this season as Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon, and Matt Breida all figure to split the carries somehow. San Francisco’s offense clearly has major uncertainty, but the defense should be very good. The team added Nick Bosa and Dee Ford this offseason to form a terrific pass rushing duo, but the 49ers have a really deep defensive line overall. San Francisco’s linebacker and secondary position groups, but having Kwon Alexander and Richard Sherman leading the way should help a little bit. Overall, the 49ers have the pieces in place to possibly be a playoff contender, but they need to deal with the uncertainty surrounding how their offense will mesh with Garoppolo back from injury.

19. Tennessee Titans

I’ve seen many power rankings that had the Titans ranked lower than this, but I still believe that they have enough talent on their roster to be a playoff contender. I like what the Titans have on offense particularly with their offense and the combination of Derrick Henry/Dion Lewis at running back. The Titans also have some underrated receivers with Corey Davis, Delanie Walker, and new receiver Adam Humphries leading the way. The main question will be whether quarterback Marcus Mariota can finally reach his potential and prove himself as the franchise. Tennessee’s offense need him playing well in order to be successful and the team likely won’t be a playoff contender if he doesn’t have a productive season. Meanwhile, the Titans have a very underrated especially with their very good secondary as they have Kevin Byard, Adoree’ Jackson, and Logan Ryan leading the way. The big concerns remains in the front 7 and it could be a real struggle for the Titans to generate a consistent pass rush. Overall, the Titans have an underrated roster, but they still need many things to go right if they want to be a playoff team.

18. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore was a playoff team last season and it’s possible they could be a playoff contender once again. However, the Ravens have major question marks on both sides of the ball. What we do know is that the Ravens running game should be elite with dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson and new running back Mark Ingram leading the way. However, the passing game could be very bad once again in 2019. Lamar Jackson didn’t inspire much optimism last season that he can be an accurate passer at the NFL level, but hopefully that’s something that he’s gotten better at in the offseason. The lack of the Ravens success wasn’t all his fault though as he didn’t have a reliable target to throw to. The addition of 1st round pick Marquise Brown should help out a lot, but the rest of the wide receiver group isn’t good at all. Meanwhile, the Ravens defense was terrific last season, but they lost several key players this offseason especially in the front 7. The Ravens did sign safety Earl Thomas to a huge deal and that’ll help their secondary, but the lack of a pass rush could really hurt the Ravens. Overall, the Ravens have good potential this season, but Lamar Jackson needs to be a much better passer and the pass rush needs to hopefully at least be average.

17. Carolina Panthers

Carolina has consistently been a contender in recent years, but they completely fell apart at the end of last season. The Panthers are hoping that star quarterback Cam Newton is healthier and that his arm strength returns because that’ll be really key to the success of the offense. Carolina should have an elite running game with Christian McCaffrey and there is a chance that McCaffrey could lead the team in receptions too. The Panthers will need more out of the passing game though and if they can get that then Carolina has a legitimate shot at being a playoff team. The Panthers have a terrific defensive line that got even better this offseason with the additions of Gerald McCoy and Brian Burns. The Panthers also have a good linebacker group led by star inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. Carolina’s secondary remains a big concern except for underrated cornerback James Bradberry. The Panthers defense figures to be good this season, but the Panthers’ playoff hopes rests on quarterback Cam Newton and the wide receiver group.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are in the midst of a major transition after losing key position players Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. However, the good news is that Pittsburgh has JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner to fill the voids at running back and wide receiver. However, the Steelers will need receivers Donte Moncrief and James Washington to make the Steelers passing game better. Either way, the Steelers should be able to score plenty of points even without Bell and Brown. Meanwhile, the defense still has some big question marks. The front 7 appears to be in good shape with rookie linebacker Devin Bush joining a group that includes TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, and Cameron Heyward. However, the secondary remains and issue despite the addition of cornerback Steven Nelson in free agency. The Steelers defense should be decent in 2019 and if the Steelers offense can put the pieces together then the team could be in the playoffs again in the near future.

15. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are still a playoff contender because they kept their core together on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver Amari Cooper, and star running back Ezekiel Elliott forms arguably the best offensive trio in the NFL. Also, the Cowboys offensive line is really good and should help their key players to flourish. The offense does have some holes to patch, but they should be able to score plenty of points if their top players perform well. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have a really good group of core players in their front 7 with Demarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch leading the way. The Cowboys do have some needs in their secondary and they need to have another pass rusher besides Lawrence step up. The Cowboys still have several needs on their roster, but they have enough starpower that could be enough for them to be a playoff team.

14. Houston Texans

There’s tons of dysfunction going on within the Texans going on right now starting with their lack of a general manager right now and having what many would consider a bad offseason. Houston really didn’t do anything to get better, but they still have a good group of core players to keep them a contender. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and the duo of DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller provide him with some good weapons in the passing game. The Texans running game is somewhat of a question mark, but the duo of Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman should be able to get the job done. The Texans offensive line still appears to be a major concern and it could hold the Texans offense back. Meanwhile, the Texans still have a terrific defense heading into 2019 with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney forming what could be the best pass rushing duo in the NFL. The Texans secondary remains solid as well, although it was weakened after the departure of safety Tyrann Mathieu this offseason. Houston still has some uncertainty on both sides of the ball, but they have enough talent to possibly be a playoff team this season.

13. Seattle Seahawks

Pretty much everyone thought Seattle was in rebuild mode last season and they wouldn’t be a playoff team, but once again they proved that they are still a contender. Seattle still has Russell Wilson as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. However, there is a concern that he doesn’t have many targets to throw to in the passing game with the retirement of Doug Baldwin. The Seahawks will need Tyler Lockett and rookie D.K. Metcalf to really step up and take on the top receiver roles. However, Seattle has been built around the running game for the past decade and it will surely be the case this season with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny forming a really good running back duo. Meanwhile, the defense is still going through a major transition especially with star pass rusher Frank Clark traded away this offseason. The Seahawks are hoping that the new additions of Ziggy Ansah and 1st round defensive end L.J. Collier can provide an immediate spark to the pass rush. The Seahawks still have proven linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, but the rest of the defense needs to step up in order for the unit to be successful as a whole. Overall, Seattle might be overlooked once again in 2019, but it is a team that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

12. Chicago Bears

Chicago had a terrific season last year and succeeded just about everyone’s expectations, so they’re expected to be serious contenders again this season. However, they play in a really tough division with the Packers and Vikings. We know how good the Bears defense can be especially with the dynamic pass rush of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. The Bears also have a terrific secondary with players like Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson leading the way. There are absolutely no concerns about the Bears defense heading into 2019 and it is arguably the best defense in the NFL. However, the offense is the big concern for the Bears heading into 2019. Chicago needs quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to be more consistent this season and they need their top targets like Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton to be much better this season as well. Also, the Bears will look a lot different at running back with the departure of Jordan Howard. However, they’re hoping that Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery, and Mike Davis can get the job done at running back. Overall, the Bears defense is elite and they can make the Bears a playoff team on their own, but they need the offense to put the pieces together in order to become a true contender.

11. Green Bay Packers

Last year was a tough season for the Packers, but if there is any team that can bounce back to become a playoff team again then it is the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is still a top 5 quarterback in the NFL and he’s capable of carrying Green Bay’s offense by himself. He does have an elite receiver with Davante Adams, but receivers like Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham need to step up for the Packers passing offense to be really successful. Meanwhile, the Packers seem to have a good duo at running game with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. The Packers offense should be completely fine especially with Aaron Rodgers carrying the load as usual. It was the defense that really held the Packers back last season, but it should be much improved with the additions they made this offseason. Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and rookie 1st round pick Rashan Gary should improve a pass rush that struggled last season. Also, the secondary likely got better with the additions of Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage at safety. The Packers are clearly revolving around Aaron Rodgers, but his supporting cast should be better this season and that is why they will likely compete for the NFC North title in 2019.

10. Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta is a good team that unfortunately had some really bad luck with injuries especially on defense. Having players like Deion Jones, Ricardo Allen, and Keanu Neal will make a big difference for the Falcons defense. Also, the Falcons have a good defensive line that hopefully will perform better than last season as they have Grady Jarrett, Takkarist McKinley, and Vic Beasley as their top players on the defensive line. If the Falcons can get good play out of their defense then the Falcons should not only be a playoff team, but they could potentially be super bowl contenders. The Falcons are still built around an elite offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan and a terrific group of receivers that includes Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Calvin Ridley. Also, the running game could be good if Devonta Freeman can stay healthy and be as productive as he was a few years ago. The Falcons offense should be really good this season if all goes well and if they can get good play out of their defense then they have a real chance of being a playoff team.

9. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland finally appears to be a possible super bowl contender and it looks like they have a really good chance at making the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Browns are probably the most hyped team in football, but they are still a team undergoing a transition especially with Freddie Kitchens named as the new head coach. Their offense could be really difficult to stop especially since they added star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason to form arguably the best receiver duo in the NFL along with Jarvis Landry. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is the key to Cleveland’s offensive success this season and he showed signs last year that he can be the franchise quarterback the team hasn’t had for a very long time. Meanwhile, the duo of Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson at running back will be really tough to handle. Also, if Kareem Hunt returns later in the season then it will just add even more talent to Cleveland’s offense. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s defense is quietly getting better as well. Sure, they lost safety Jabrill Peppers this offseason, but Morgan Burnett should help fill the void a little bit. Drafting Greedy Williams should create a really good young cornerback duo to go along with Denzel Ward. Also, the addition of pass rusher Olivier Vernon could be really good especially with star defensive end Myles Garrett on the other side. Overall, Cleveland has improved on both sides of the ball and they have enough talent to be a serious super bowl contender this season.

8. Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis proved that they are a team on the rise as they built what is arguably the best offensive line in football. Also, if quarterback Andrew Luck can stay healthy then he can basically carry the offense by himself. However, he does have some good weapons around him including T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron, and rookie 2nd round pick Parris Campbell. The Colts running game could also be good if starter Marlon Mack can stay healthy during the season. Indianapolis has an offense that is ready to compete, but the defense is much better than it was just a couple of years ago. Darius Leonard has already proven himself as a pro-bowl caliber linebacker and the addition of Justin Houston will only improve the Colts front 7 even more. The rest of the Colts defense could use some work, but Pierre Desir and Rock Ya-Sin provide some cornerbacks that they can build around. The Colts strength is their offense, but their defense is beginning to come around as well. This team is definitely playoff-caliber, but they still have some work to do before they become a true super bowl contender.

7. Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota really disappointed last season when it appeared that they would be super bowl contenders. However, the Vikings still have a good all-around team heading into 2019. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs form arguably the best receiving duo in the NFL, so quarterback Kirk Cousins really has no excuse to not play well this season. The Vikings are hoping that running back Dalvin Cook can stay healthy this season and if he can then that would be a big boost for the Vikings offense. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s defense has plenty of talent and it might actually be stronger than the offense. Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen are a good pass rushing duo that will hopefully be better than last season. The Vikings also have a couple of really good linebackers with Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. Minnesota also might have the best secondary in the NFL with players like Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, and Trae Waynes. It is pretty evident that the Vikings are one of the best all-around teams in the NFL, but the Vikings must find a way to put that talent together better than they did last season.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles might not be a hyped team anymore, but they have proven themselves as a super bowl contender over the past couple of seasons. They have a good quarterback with Carson Wentz, but they’ll need him to stay healthy because they don’t have the luxury of Nick Foles as backup. The Eagles are very talented especially at the skill positions. Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Zach Ertz figure to be the top targets for the Eagles offense this season. The Eagles are also really deep at running back, but it’ll be interesting to see if Jordan Howard or Miles Sanders will get most of the carries. Philadelphia is still deep with their defensive line even with the departure of Michael Bennett. Also, the Eagles still have a good secondary that could be even better if they can get more from players like Sidney Jones. Overall, the Eagles have a really good roster on both sides of the ball and they should be a playoff team if all goes well.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City was a super bowl contender last season and it’s likely they’ll be the same again in 2019. Patrick Mahomes is a special talent at the quarterback and if he plays like he did last season then he can carry the offense by himself. However, there is some major uncertainty surrounding him on offense. The Chiefs might struggle to replace Kareem Hunt, but Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde should fill the void adequately at running back. The Chiefs also have major uncertainty with star receiver Tyreek Hill as he’s expected to be suspended for a portion of the 2019 season. The problem is the Chiefs don’t have much depth at receiver behind him as Sammy Watkins and rookie receiver Mecole Hardman are next on the depth chart. Tight End Travis Kelce should be the top target in the passing game especially if Hill is suspended. The Chiefs have major uncertainty on offense, but they should be just fine with Mahomes carrying the offense. The Chiefs front 7 should still be very good with newly added pass rusher Frank Clark and star defensive tackle Chris Jones. The Chiefs also made their secondary better by signing safety Tyrann Mathieu to a big contract. However, secondary is still a big weakness and the defense could hold the team back once again. The pressure will be on Mahomes and the offense to carry the team once again and if they can’t then this team could only be a borderline playoff team instead of a super bowl contender.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers might not be the best team in the NFL, but it appears that they have the most talented roster. They still have the ageless quarterback Philip Rivers to go along with several good pass-catchers including Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry. However, the Chargers offense is built around the running game with star running back Melvin Gordon and good 3rd-down back Austin Ekeler. The offense should be good, but the Chargers defense could be even better. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram form a very good pass rushing duo. Also, the addition of 1st round pick Jerry Tillery should improve the Chargers at the defensive tackle position. Meanwhile, the Chargers got better at the linebacker position by adding veteran Thomas Davis. The secondary though appears to be the biggest strength with star players Cameron Heyward and Derwin James leading that unit. The Chargers will likely be the favorites to win the AFC West because of their talented overall roster and they have enough to challenge the Patriots in the AFC.

3. Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff might not be the best quarterback in the NFL, but he performed well last season because of the tremendous talent around him. Todd Gurley takes a lot of the pressure off Goff, but there is some concern about how healthy Gurley’s knee is and how productive he’ll be in 2019. The Rams also have a terrific trio of wide receivers that help make the Rams passing offense elite as Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp are all returning for 2019. The Rams offense has proven that it can score tons of points and it is basically the exact same group as last season. Meanwhile, the Rams defense is still very talented as well. Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald has an argument as the best player in the entire NFL and he has a couple of good players around him with Dante Fowler and Michael Brockers. The Rams linebacker group is the weakness of the entire team, but the tremendous Rams secondary led by Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Eric Weddle helps make up for the weakness at linebacker. The Rams have a stacked roster overall and they are clear super bowl contenders heading into 2019.

2. New Orleans Saints

New Orleans probably should have been in the super bowl last season, but they are probably the favorites to reach that point in 2019. Drew Brees is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. However, he doesn’t have to do as much anymore as he has a terrific running back duo to help him out with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. The Saints also have a couple of good pass-catchers with Michael Thomas and Jared Cook. The only real concern is that the Saints don’t really have a reliable pass-catcher besides Thomas and Cook, but Brees is good at spreading the ball around so it shouldn’t have much of an impact. Meanwhile, the Saints defense is still really good especially with the talented pass rush duo of Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple lead what is a somewhat strong secondary as well. The Saints already have the offense to make the team a playoff contender, but if the defense is good then there is no doubt that New Orleans is a super bowl contender.

  1. New England Patriots

New England might not be the most talented team in the NFL, but they have maybe the best quarterback and best coach of all time so that’s all that matters. Many thought Tom Brady would thought that Tom Brady would get worse as he is over 40 years old now, but he continues to play at a high level. Also, he has some good talent around him especially at running back with Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead. The Patriots did lose star tight end Rob Gronkowski and that will likely have a big impact on the offense. However, Brady will likely figure out how to utilize the pass-catchers that he has and he’ll likely have Julian Edelman and rookie 1st round pick N’Keal Harry as his top targets. The Patriots offense might seem vulnerable, but they’ll be just fine as long as Tom Brady is the quarterback. Meanwhile, the Patriots defense is decent, but they still have some weaknesses that could show this season. The Patriots lost pass rusher Trey Flowers in the offseason, but the additions of Michael Bennett and Chase Winovich could help fill the void. The Patriots secondary also should be strong this season especially with Stephon Gilmore and Devin McCourty coming back. This might be the year that the Patriots dynasty finally collapses, but I can’t doubt them because when I do then they just win the super bowl like they did last season.

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2019 NFC West Standings Predictions

  1. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams made it to the super bowl last season, so they are clearly a very talented team. However, they did lose some really key players this offseason including Rodger Saffold, Ndamukong Suh, and LaMarcus Joyner. However, the Rams still have a terrific offense as they have young starting quarterback Jared Goff and a very talented group of receivers including Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods. The Rams also have terrific running back Todd Gurley and they just added Darrell Henderson in the 3rd round of the draft this offseason. The Rams have an explosive offense and nothing about that changed this offseason. Meanwhile, the Rams defense did experience some turnover this offseason. The loss of Ndamukong Suh hurts the Rams front 7, but they still have superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald and talented defensive end Michael Brockers as well. They also still have Dante Fowler as a good pass rusher and they added veteran Clay Matthews to add even more pass rush. The Rams also lost safety LaMarcus Joyner this offseason, yet that won’t matter too much since they replaced him with pro-bowl caliber safety Eric Weddle. The Rams also have Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Nickell Robey-Coleman forming a terrific trio of cornerbacks. Overall, the Rams still have a stacked roster and that is why they are the heavy favorites to win the NFC West in 2019.

2. Seattle Seahawks

Just when we thought the Seahawks were rebuilding last season and then they somehow ended up making the playoffs yet again. The Seahawks are built around running the football on offense and that’s the way it’ll be again this season. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny form a terrific running back duo that should help to carry the offense. However, we can’t forget that Russell Wilson is still among the best quarterbacks in the NFL and he doesn’t need much talent around him to succeed. Sure, Wilson doesn’t have many targets to throw to especially after Doug Baldwin abruptly retired this offseason. That being said, Tyler Lockett has turned into a terrific receiver and their rookie 2nd round pick D.K. Metcalf should make a big impact right away as well. The Seahawks offense still has some holes to fill, but it will likely be covered up by the brilliant play of star quarterback Russell Wilson and the terrific running backs that Seattle has. Meanwhile, the Seahawks defense has a really new identity heading into next season. Star defensive end Frank Clark is now gone and star safety Earl Thomas departed this offseason as well. Free agent signing Ziggy Ansah has shown that he can be a tremendous pass rusher, but he is really inconsistent. The Seahawks also drafted L.J. Collier in the 1st round this offseason and he could be ready to make a big impact on Seattle’s pass rush right away. Seattle also has a couple of really good linebackers with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright as the two remaining players from what was once a really dominant Seattle defense. The Seahawks are inexperienced in the secondary, but they will still likely play well in 2019 even without Earl Thomas. Overall, the Seahawks might not be in a position to challenge the Rams for the division title, but Seattle does have enough talent to make a playoff run once again.

3. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers had a really rough 2018 season, but that was mostly due to injuries especially the one that caused starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to miss most of the season. If Garoppolo can stay healthy then that should be enough to make the 49ers playoff contenders again. He will certainly have some good weapons to throw to especially with tight end George Kittle who had probably the most dominant season by a tight end in NFL history. Also, the 49ers have plenty of depth at wide receiver with Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis returning. Also, they drafted Deebo Samuel in the 2nd round and Jalen Hurd in the 3rd round to add even more competition to the wide receiver group. The 49ers also have plenty of depth at running back with Jerick McKinnon returning from an injury and the free agent signing of Tevin Coleman this offseason. Also, San Francisco has Matt Breida who turned out to be a terrific find as an undrafted free agent. The 49ers offense might not be great, but it will be much better with Garoppolo back from injury and a better supporting cast around him. Meanwhile, the 49ers defense could be much improved in 2019. In fact, the 49ers could easily claim that they have the best defensive line in the NFL. The selection of defensive end Nick Bosa in the 1st round of the draft and the trade for Dee Ford this offseason could create a really dynamic pass rushing duo. Also, the 49ers still have former 1st round picks Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner as terrific run-stopping defensive tackles. The 49ers are so strong on the defensive line that they even have 2017 1st round pick Solomon Thomas as a rotational defensive end. The 49ers also made a big splash in free agency by signing star inside linebacker Kwon Alexander who will be a major upgrade at the position and he’ll instantly become one of the leaders on the defense. The 49ers could still use some help in the secondary, but they do have Richard Sherman to at least provide some stability in that unit. The 49ers have some work to do before they become a real threat to the Rams in the NFC West, but the 49ers could be a playoff contender as long as Garoppolo and the rest of their key players can stay healthy in 2019.

4. Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals had a very wacky offseason and it just shows the level of dysfunction within the organization right now. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury should at least bring some excitement and energy to the Cardinals offense if nothing else. Arizona also drafted quarterback Kyler Murray with the 1st overall pick while they traded away last year’s 1st round pick Josh Rosen to the Dolphins in a strange turn of events. Murray should provide a spark to the Cardinals offense right away because of his athleticism, although he doesn’t have a great supporting cast around him. David Johnson is still an elite running back in the NFL and he’ll help take a lot of pressure off Murray in 2019. Murray will also have Larry Fitzgerald to throw to and learn from even though Fitzgerald isn’t nearly the player that he once was. The Cardinals are hoping that Christian Kirk can take the next step and provide a reliable target for the Cardinals offense. Also, the Cardinals drafted Andy Isabella in the 2nd round and Hakeem Butler in the 4th round to add even more depth to the wide receiver group. The main issue for the Cardinals remains the offensive line though especially since Josh Rosen was under duress consistently last season. The addition of veterans Marcus Gilbert, Justin Pugh, and J.R. Sweezy should help improve the offensive line. However, it likely won’t even come close to solving the issues that they have on that unit. Overall, the Cardinals offense should be better this season, but it is still very much a work in progress with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Meanwhile, the Cardinals defense has a chance to be pretty good in 2019. Chandler Jones still anchors the front 7 for the Cardinals as he is still one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. However, the Cardinals added some more to their linebacker group by signing Terrell Suggs and Jordan Hicks in free agency. The Cardinals secondary actually could be a big concern though especially with star cornerback Patrick Peterson being suspended for the first six games of the season. The Cardinals will need rookie 2nd round pick Byron Murphy and free agent signing Robert Alford to make a big impact at the cornerback position especially while Peterson is out. Overall, Arizona has tons of reasons for optimism with the young talent that they got in the draft. However, the Cardinals are going through a transition phase in 2019 and it’s difficult to expect them to be very competitive especially in a tough NFC West division.

2019 AFC West Standings Predictions

  1. Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers might have the best overall roster in the entire NFL and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be a playoff team in 2019. Quarterback Philip Rivers is getting older, but last year it still appeared as if he were in his prime. He also has plenty of help on offense with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry as his top targets in the passing game. Meanwhile, the duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler at running back takes a lot of pressure off Rivers. The main question for the Chargers is their offensive line, but the Chargers still have plenty of talent to score tons of points if their key players can stay healthy. Meanwhile, the Chargers have a defense that is very good as well. They have Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram as a really good pass rushing duo. Also, the Chargers drafted defensive tackle Jerry Tillery in the 1st round this offseason and he’ll help to make the defensive line even better. Meanwhile, Denzel Perryman and newly acquired veteran Thomas Davis will stablize the linebacker position for the Chargers. Also, the Chargers have a terrific secondary led by cornerback Jason Verrett and safety Derwin James. The Chargers might not have too many dynamic or star players, but they are still a very well-rounded team and that’s why they’ll likely beat out the Chiefs for the AFC West title.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have tons of talent and quarterback Patrick Mahomes has already become one of the top players in the NFL. However, the Chiefs have major question marks on offense. Their top wide receiver Tyreek Hill is suspended right now and it is a question as to whether he will play this season or even be on the roster by week 1. Tight end Travis Kelce would be the top target in the Chiefs passing offense right now and they also have Sammy Watkins, but he consistently struggles to stay healthy. The Chiefs did draft Mecole Hardman in the 2nd round this offseason and he’ll be expected to play a huge role right away especially if Hill remains suspended. The offensive line remains good for the Chiefs, so that will help Mahomes and the passing game. However, the running back position is another area of concern for the Chiefs offense. Damien Williams became the starter late last year and the Chiefs are hoping that he can have success along with newly signed backup running back Carlos Hyde. Patrick Mahomes can probably make the Chiefs offense good on his own, but the supporting cast at the skill positions is very questionable. Meanwhile, the Chiefs defense wasn’t very good last season and they really didn’t do anything to improve in that area this season. Sure, they acquired terrific defensive end Frank Clark, but that came after they traded away star defensive end Dee Ford. The Chiefs also added star safety Tyrann Mathieu in free agency, but they ended up releasing pro-bowl safety Eric Berry. Kansas City still has players to build around like star defensive tackle Chris Jones and linebacker Anthony Hitchens. However, the Chiefs secondary appears even weaker than last season if that’s even possible and they still have holes to fill in the front 7 as well. The Chiefs should still be a playoff contender, but that is no sure thing considering the crazy offseason that they’ve had and the lack of improvements that they’ve made to their roster.

3. Denver Broncos

Denver’s a team that doesn’t get much attention these days, but they may surprise some people this season if everything works out well. The main question for the Broncos is their offense which has been the case for the past few seasons. Joe Flacco is the starting quarterback for at least the short-term and the Broncos are hoping that he can improve the Broncos passing offense. However, there are some concerns about his supporting cast as well. Emmanuel Sanders is probably the Broncos best receiver, but he is getting older and he’s coming off a serious Achilles injury. Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton are young receivers with terrific potential, but it is unknown whether they can be relied upon yet. Rookie 1st round pick Noah Fant should be a huge upgrade at tight end for the Broncos and he’ll add a much needed weapon to the Broncos passing offense. The one thing that we do know about the Broncos offense is that they should have a terrific running game once again with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman leading the way. If Denver can just get their passing game to improve and their offensive line to play better then Denver could have a surprisingly good offense. Meanwhile, the defense appears to once again be the strength of the team heading into 2019. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb form what could be the best pass rushing duo in the NFL. The inside linebacker position is still a concern though for the Broncos and the safety position is another area of concern. However, the Broncos are set at the cornerback position with Chris Harris and newly acquired free agent signings Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan. The Broncos defense remains the strength of the team, but the Broncos offense will have to get better if the team wants to be a playoff contender. If Flacco and the passing offense can improve in 2019 then there is a possibility that the Broncos could be playoff contenders.

4. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders made a lot of big splashes this offseason and obviously it has many people hyped for the Raiders future as they move to Las Vegas in 2020. I agree that the Raiders got better this offseason, but I’m not jumping on board the hype train just yet. The Raiders still have many holes to fill before they can become playoff contenders. The Raiders did surround quarterback Derek Carr with some more talent though. Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams should form a really good wide receiver duo, although the Raiders did lose their best pass-catcher from last season when tight end Jared Cook left in free agency. Meanwhile, the Raiders drafted Josh Jacobs in the 1st round and he should be an instant upgrade to the Raiders running game. Also, the Raiders spent a large amount of money to bolster their offensive line by signing offensive tackle Trent Brown in free agency. Oakland’s offense is already better than last season, but Derek Carr will need to play better and the supporting cast will need to live up to expectations for the Raiders offense to even be average. The Raiders defense though needs some serious help even after the moves they made this offseason. Rookie 1st round pick Clelin Ferrell will add some much needed help to a terrible Raiders defensive line and he is pretty much the only reliable pass rusher currently on the roster. The Raiders are also really weak at the linebacker position, although the free agent signings of Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict should provide some short-term stability at linebacker. Also, the Raiders secondary is much improved from last season when they signed safety LaMarcus Joyner in free agency while also drafting safety Johnathan Abram in the 1st round this offseason. However, the Raiders are still majorly weak at the cornerback position, although they did draft Trayvon Mullen in the 2nd round to try and help upgrade the position. Oakland took some big strides to becoming a more competitive team in 2019, but they still have a lot of holes to fill on their roster especially on defense.

2019 NFC South standings predictions

  1. New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees might be winding down his NFL career at 40 years old, but the good news is that he doesn’t have to be elite anymore because of the amount of talent around him. The Saints don’t have too much talent at the receiver position, but Michael Thomas and Jared Cook provide very good targets for Brees in the passing game. The Saints did lose running back Mark Ingram in free agency, but they still have a good running back duo with Alvin Kamara and newly acquired Latavius Murray. The Saints offense is about the same as it was last season and it should be elite as long as Drew Brees is their starting quarterback. Meanwhile, the Saints defense is very talented as well especially along the defensive line. They have Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport that could form one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL. The Saints still have some weakness at the linebacker position, but they have plenty of talent in the secondary led by star cornerback Marshon Lattimore. The Saints don’t have a great defense, but it is good enough especially with the Saints still having a terrific offense. New Orleans could have some tough competition in the division in 2019, but they are still the most complete team in the NFC South.

2. Atlanta Falcons

Many people thought the Falcons would be a playoff team in 2018, but injuries especially on the defensive side of the ball really had a negative impact. We all know what the Falcons offense is capable of especially in the passing game. Matt Ryan is still a very good quarterback as he gets older and he has plenty of targets to throw to. In fact, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Calvin Ridley form what is probably the best wide receiver group in the entire NFL. The Falcons addressed the offensive line early in the draft when they selected Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary in the 1st round. Those two players should make a positive impact immediately and for the future as well. The main question for the Falcons is likely at the running back position. Devonta Freeman has proven himself as a very good starting running back. However, Freeman has struggled with injuries in recent years and they don’t have the luxury of Tevin Coleman as a terrific backup option any longer. If Freeman can stay healthy then he could provide some more balance for what is an already good Falcons offense. Meanwhile, the Falcons defense has plenty of talent, but we’ll see if their key players can remain healthy in 2019. The Falcons defensive line has a chance to be very good with Vic Beasley, Tak McKinley, and Grady Jarrett leading the way. Atlanta also has one of the best linebackers in the NFL with Deion Jones, although the Falcons defense was clearly worse when he missed tons of games last season. The Falcons secondary also has a chance to be very good with Desmond Trufant and Keanu Neal as the top players in that group. Overall, the Falcons have enough talent on offense and defense to give the Saints a challenge for the division. Last year was a disappointment for the Falcons, but if they can stay healthy this year then there’s no reason they can’t be a playoff contender.

3. Carolina Panthers

Carolina is stuck in a tough spot because they have some pieces that could allow them to compete in 2018. However, they ended the 2018 season in a tough way and there is still a ton of uncertainty surrounding the team heading into the 2019 season. Quarterback Cam Newton just wasn’t the same player last season because of a shoulder injury and it remains a concern heading into 2019 even after having surgery on it. Carolina still has dynamic running back Christian McCaffrey and he’ll likely have to carry the offense once again. The Panthers offensive line should be better especially with the free agent signing of center Matt Paradis. However, even if Cam Newton is healthy in 2019, he doesn’t have many reliable pass-catchers. McCaffrey is probably the best receiver on the team, although that isn’t exactly the role that he’ll be in all of the time. Greg Olsen was once one of the best tight ends in the NFL, but age and injuries appear to have derailed his career. D.J. Moore is undoubtedly Carolina’s best wide receiver mostly due to his speed, but he probably can’t be relied upon too much because he hasn’t proven that he can be very consistent. Curtis Samuel provides some speed, but he’s not much of a pass-catcher and the rest of the group including Jarius Wright, Chris Hogan, and Torrey Smith doesn’t inspire much optimism. Carolina better be hoping for a big year from McCaffrey because the passing game with Newton and the rest of the receivers is a huge concern right now. Meanwhile, the Panthers defense looks pretty strong heading into the 2019 season. The combination of Shaq Thompson and Luke Kuechly at linebacker is still dynamic. Also, the Panthers have Mario Addison, Bruce Irvin, and rookie 1st round pick Brian Burns to lead the way for what should be a really good pass rush. The secondary is the biggest concern for the Panthers defense, but they have a good young cornerback duo with James Bradberry and Donte Jackson. Carolina has huge question marks on offense, but if they can get things figured out then maybe they could be a playoff contender in 2019.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have Bruce Arians as their new head coach heading into 2019 and there is some optimism that the new regime will finally turn Tampa Bay into contenders again. Tampa Bay lost a couple of key wide receivers this offseason when Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson departed. Those losses will have a negative impact on the offense especially since the Buccaneers only signed Breshad Perriman to replace them. However, the Buccaneers still have plenty of weapons in the passing game as they have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate as the top 4 targets. The main thing that the Buccaneers are hoping is that Jameis Winston can become the franchise quarterback and limit the turnovers that he gives up. Winston has had plenty of receivers to throw to in his career and now it is time for him to take his performance to the next level in order for Tampa Bay to be successful. However, the main issue for the Buccaneers is their offensive line and they did absolutely nothing to address it this offseason. Also, the Buccaneers need more from their running game in 2019. Peyton Barber showed flashes of potential last season, but they need more from him and they need Ronald Jones to be much better as well. Tampa Bay’s offense has the potential to be very good, but there is no doubt that they need better play from their offensive line and running backs. Meanwhile, improving the defense was the main priority for the Buccaneers this offseason. They did lose Kwon Alexander and Gerald McCoy, but they likely found upgrades over those players when they selected linebacker Devin White in the 1st round and signed Ndamukong Suh in free agency. The Buccaneers also have Lavonte David who is still one of the best linebackers in the NFL and they have a good young defensive tackle with Vita Vea. The pass rush could be a major issue though this offseason especially with star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul expected to miss about half of the season. That leaves Tampa Bay with Carl Nassib, Noah Spence, rookie 4th round pick Anthony Nelson, and free agent signing Shaquil Barrett. Those 4 guys could be surprisingly effective, but it is still an experienced and unproven group of pass rushers. The secondary appears to still be the main problem for Tampa Bay’s defense as they are very young and unproven in that area. The Buccaneers are hoping that Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis can continue to improve. Also, they are hoping that rookie cornerbacks Sean Bunting and Jamel Dean are able to step in and make an immediate impact. Safety Justin Evans is just about the only proven player in the Buccaneers secondary, so Tampa Bay is hoping that their young cornerbacks can progress rapidly or else Tampa’s defense might get torched once again. Overall, Tampa Bay’s offense provides reason for optimism in 2019 and the defense should be at least a little bit better than last season. However, Tampa Bay likely won’t be a playoff contender once again unless their young players on defense can step up and make a huge impact.

2019 AFC South Standings Predictions

  1. Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis took some big strides last season mainly because of a healthy Andrew Luck and a much improved offensive line. The Colts didn’t have a great offseason by any means, but they did a good job of adding some much needed depth to their wide receiver group. The Colts drafted Parris Campbell in the 2nd round and he can be used as a deep threat to attract attention away from star receiver T.Y. Hilton. Also, the Colts signed Devin Funchess in free agency as he’ll give the team a big possession receiver on the outside. Indianapolis also has plenty of talent at the tight end position with Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle making the Colts passing game even more dangerous. The Colts can score a lot of points, but the one question is at the running back position. Marlon Mack is the top running back and he is a very underrated player in the NFL. However, Mack has struggled to stay healthy and it could impact the Colts offense if Mack can’t stay healthy. Meanwhile, the Colts defense got much better last season, but that isn’t saying much compared to what the defense had been prior to 2018. The Colts made the defense even better this offseason by adding some much needed help to their pass rush by signing Justin Houston. Also, the Colts added some much needed depth to the cornerback position by selecting Rock Ya-Sin in the 2nd round of the draft. The Colts have some talent on defense especially with young players Darius Leonard and Malik Hooker already on the roster. That being said, the Colts had plenty of money to spend this offseason and they still left many voids remaining on defense. The Colts offense will carry the team once again, but if the defense can just be average then Indianapolis has a good chance of winning the AFC South.

2. Tennessee Titans

The Titans had a good offseason and that will improve their chances of having success in the highly competitive AFC South. Tennessee had some work to do to improve their passing game in particular and they did a good job of doing that this offseason. They signed reliable slot receiver Adam Humphries in free agency and drafted A.J. Brown in the 2nd round of the draft. The Titans now have plenty of depth at the wide receiver position and now it is up to quarterback Marcus Mariota to stay healthy and perform more consistently. The Titans also have a terrific duo at running back with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis as a terrific 3rd-down back. Tennessee now has plenty of weapons on offense and if Mariota can utilize his supporting cast effectively then the Titans have a chance to win the division in 2019. Meanwhile, the defense is very underrated, although the Titans didn’t do enough to improve the defense this offseason. Jurrell Casey and newly acquired pass rusher Cameron Wake anchor a rather weak front 7 for the Titans. The Titans may struggle to sack the quarterback this season, but the good news is that the Titans secondary is very talented. Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, and Adoree Jackson form a terrific cornerback group. The Titans also have a talented duo at safety with Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro. Tennessee was already a playoff contender, but they got better this offseason on offense and that will give them a good chance to win the AFC South in 2019.

3. Houston Texans

Houston won the AFC South last season and they are in a position to possibly repeat as division champs in 2019. However, Houston didn’t have a good offseason at all and that has allowed Tennessee and Indianapolis to possibly leapfrog the Texans in the AFC South. Houston still has a terrific quarterback with Deshaun Watson and they have a couple of good receivers with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. The main question for the Texans continues to be their offensive line. They have been unable to protect Watson the past couple of years and the team really didn’t do much to address the issue this offseason. The team did draft Tytus Howard in the 1st round, but that was a major reach and he hasn’t really faced quality competition very much while at Alabama State. Houston also drafted offensive lineman Max Scharping in the 2nd round of the draft and he’ll provide some versatility for the Texans, but he won’t necessarily make an impact early on. Houston’s offensive line doesn’t look much better than last season and that could really hold the Texans offense back and it could lead Watson to get injured once again. Meanwhile, the Texans defense has the potential to be very good if everything goes well. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney form arguably the best pass rusher duo in the NFL and if they can both stay healthy then the Texans pass rush could be almost impossible to stop. The Texans also have a few really good linebackers with Whitney Mercilus, Zach Cunningham, and Benardrick McKinney. Houston’s front 7 has the chance to be elite if their key players can all stay healthy in 2019. The Texans secondary is more of a question mark heading into 2019, but it is still an above average unit. Losing Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson will hurt Houston’s secondary. However, the offseason additions of Tashaun Gipson and Bradley Roby should fill those voids adequately. Overall, Houston’s defense has a chance to be very good and the offense should be good if the offensive line can just be decent. The Texans have the pieces in place to win the AFC South in 2019, but the poor offseason that they had doesn’t inspire much confidence that they can be better than the Colts and Titans.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville is a team that is clearly trying hard to compete and maybe they can surprise some people and be a playoff contender. However, there just seems to be so much uncertainty and dysfunction surrounding the franchise in 2019. Nobody doubts the talent that the team has especially on defense, but they do have some major issues on offense. The Jaguars signed Nick Foles this offseason to replace Blake Bortles as the starting quarterback. Foles has been successful at times during his NFL career and he was especially terrific during the Eagles 2017 super bowl season. However, we shouldn’t forget that Foles has been a backup for the large majority of his career and he has hasn’t had much success anywhere besides Philadelphia. Foles is probably an upgrade over Bortles, but Foles also comes with inconsistent production and that could really hold the Jaguars offense back. Foles also doesn’t have much weapons in the passing game as they don’t really have a proven number one receiver. They have some good depth at wide receiver, but Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, DJ Chark, and Chris Conley are all rather unproven at the NFL level. The Jaguars need somebody from that group to step up especially since Foles isn’t the type of quarterback that can get the best out of that group. Jacksonville’s offense will clearly rely on star running back Leonard Fournette once again, but if he misses tons of games like he did last season then the Jaguars offense would be in major trouble. Meanwhile, the Jaguars defense is extremely talented still, but they are hoping to improve after they fell short of expectations last season. The Jaguars secondary is very good especially with the talented cornerback duo of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. The safety position is probably the main weakness on the team, but there really isn’t much of a weakness on the rest of the defense. The Jaguars front 7 is especially elite even with star linebacker Telvin Smith out for the 2019 season. Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell, and Marcell Dareus form a terrific defensive line. Also, the Jaguars drafted talented pass rusher Josh Allen in the 1st round this offseason and he could make a big impact right away. Jacksonville’s defense will be required to carry the team once again in 2019, but if they aren’t well above average then Jacksonville could be a major disappointment like they were last season. Maybe Nick Foles can somehow use his magic to make the Jaguars offense really good, but if that doesn’t happen then the Jaguars are starting down another last place finish in the AFC South.

2019 NFC North Standings predictions

  1. Green Bay Packers

It won’t be easy at all for the Packers to win the division, but I believe that they made the necessary changes to win the NFC North in 2019. The Packers offense was never much of a problem with quarterback Aaron Rodgers leading the way. The team didn’t do much to surround him with talent on offense this offseason, but he still has Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham as really good weapons in the passing game. Meanwhile, the defense was the main issue last season and that will likely be better after the big additions made this offseason. The Packers pass rush wasn’t very good last season and they addressed that problem during free agency as they signed Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith to massive contracts. Both players are likely being overpaid, but at least the Packers pass rush should be much improved in 2019. Also, the Packers also added some much needed stability to their defensive line when they selected Rashan Gary in the 1st round. Green Bay also added safety Adrian Amos in free agency which should add some experience to a really young and unproven secondary. Green Bay will be a new-look team in 2019 especially on defense and that is what should allow them to be a playoff team once again.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota was a major disappointment last season as they didn’t even make the playoffs. However, there is no denying the talent that Minnesota has on their roster and they could even win this division if all goes well. The Vikings have plenty of talent on offense especially with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs forming arguably the best receiver duo in the NFL. Also, the Vikings have a really good running back with Dalvin Cook and a good quarterback with Kirk Cousins. That being said, the main thing holding back the Vikings offense was the offensive line. However, that should be improved this season with the addition of Josh Kline in free agency and the selection of center Garrett Bradbury in the 1st round of the draft. Minnesota’s offense wasn’t bad last season, but the Vikings offense could be much better if the offensive line improves. Meanwhile, the Vikings defense has a chance to be really good in 2019 because they have talent at basically every position. Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen have the ability to form a dynamic pass rushing duo. Also, the combination of Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks at linebacker really solidifies that area of the defense. Finally, the Vikings secondary has a legitimate claim to be the best secondary in the NFL as they have Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, and Trae Waynes leading the way. There is no doubt that Minnesota has enough talent to be a playoff contender and if they can live up to that potential then it is very possible that they could win the NFC North.

3. Chicago Bears

The Bears aren’t a bad team by any stretch, but they unfortunately play in a really tough division in 2019. There is no doubt that the Bears have the defense to compete with any team in the NFL, but the offense is what could hold the team back. The Bears do have a good young quarterback with Mitchell Trubisky and a good offensive line led by Charles Leno and Kyle Long. However, the Bears don’t have too much talent at the skill positions especially after they traded away starting running back Jordan Howard this offseason. The Bears signed running back Mike Davis and selected running back David Montgomery in the 3rd round of the draft. Maybe those guys can fill the void at running back, but I doubt that either guy will be an upgrade over Howard. Meanwhile, the Bears aren’t really any better at the wide receiver position. Sure, the Bears added Riley Ridley in the 4th round of the draft, but he likely won’t make much of an impact right away. Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel all have plenty of talent. However, the problem is that all three are very inconsistent and none should be a number one receiver on an NFL team. Overall, the Bears offense didn’t improve that much this offseason and that could be a problem if they are as inconsistent as they were last season. Meanwhile, the Bears defense was absolutely dominant last season and it appears like it’ll be the same this season. Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks is a dominant pass rushing duo while the Bears also have talent at linebacker with Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan. Finally, the Bears secondary did suffer a key departure when Adrian Amos left for Green Bay, but the Bears adequately filled the void by signing Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in free agency. Also, the Bears have a couple of really good players in the secondary with cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson. The Bears defense will be expected to carry the team just like they did last season. If they can accomplish that goal then the team has a really good chance of winning the division again. However, the Bears offense is a liability and the team just doesn’t have the amount of depth that the Packers and Vikings have.

4. Detroit Lions

Detroit isn’t a bad team, but they are clearly the worst team in the division since they clearly don’t have the talent to match the Bears, Packers, or Vikings. That being said, the Lions do have some room for optimism especially on offense. They have a good quarterback with Matthew Stafford and he has a few good receivers to throw to as well. Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, and Danny Amendola form an underrated wide receiver group that could up some big production in 2019. Also, the Lions selected TJ Hockenson in the 1st round of the draft this offseason in order to fill the big void that the team had at the tight end position. The Lions also have a good running back with Kerryon Johnson who could provide some much needed balance for the Lions offense. Detroit’s offense shouldn’t be a problem, but the defense is the major question mark going into 2019. The Lions did make a big move to bolster their pass rush in free agency by signing Trey Flowers to a massive contract. The Lions are hoping that Flowers has a big season because they really don’t have another decent pass rusher on the roster, but they do have some good run-stoppers with players like Damon Harrison. Detroit also has really good cornerback Darius Slay who should carry the Lions secondary once again in 2019. Detroit’s offense will be relied upon to carry the team in 2019, but this team likely won’t be a playoff contender because of the many positions of weakness that they still have on defense.

2019 AFC North Standings predictions

  1. Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have been a miserable franchise for a very long time and it wasn’t too long ago that they went 1-31 combined for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. However, the Browns are now a team with a stacked roster to go along with high expectations heading into the 2019 season. I am hesitant to say that they will win the division this year, but I am a big believer in the team because of the talent that they have on offense and defense. It appears Cleveland has finally found their franchise quarterback with Baker Mayfield. However, he has plenty of help on offense as he has Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson at the running back position. Also, they have Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and newly acquired all-pro receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The Browns defense appears to be even more talented as they acquired defensive end Olivier Vernon this offseason and he’ll form a formidable pass rushing duo to go along with tremendous young pass rusher Myles Garrett. The loss of safety Jabrill Peppers might hurt the Browns secondary, but the Browns still have a couple of very good young cornerbacks with Denzel Ward and this year’s 2nd round pick Greedy Williams. Overall, the Browns are very talented on both sides of the ball and the moves that they made this offseason prove that they are ready to possibly make a playoff run in 2019. It’s been awhile since the Browns have made the playoffs, but they are clearly all-in for the 2019 season.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers didn’t get any better this offseason especially after the departures of key offensive weapons Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. However, the Steelers seem poised to fill those voids with the expanded starting roles of James Washington and James Conner. There is no doubting the talent that Pittsburgh still has especially on offense with Ben Roethlisberger, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Conner forming a terrific trio of playmakers. However, they’ll need more from James Washington and newly acquired receiver Donte Moncrief if the offense is going to reach its full potential. The offense should be fine for Pittsburgh, but it is the defense that is the main concern. Pittsburgh did add some impact players to the linebacker position though with 1st round pick Devin Bush and free agent signing Mark Barron. The defensive line for Pittsburgh is good and nothing changed in that aspect, but it is the secondary that remains a big concern. Pittsburgh did address the cornerback position by signing Steven Nelson and drafting Justin Layne in the 3rd round. However, the Steelers secondary still needs some impact players and I’m not sure that Nelson or Layne will do much to change that. Overall, Pittsburgh didn’t have a good offseason and they likely got worse. That being said, Pittsburgh still has plenty of talent and they should be a playoff contender once again in 2019.

3. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are one of the most unpredictable teams heading into the 2019 season especially with Lamar Jackson taking over the full-time role at quarterback. Baltimore had a strange offseason as they made some big moves, but they also lost several key players from last season. Baltimore added some more speed to their offense by selecting receiver Marquise Brown in the 1st round, but the Ravens didn’t do enough to add some more depth to that position. The Ravens won’t do much passing this season with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, so it made tons of sense to sign running back Mark Ingram in free agency. The Ravens offense does have the potential to be dynamic if the Ravens offense can be successful running the ball. However, it is somewhat of a concern that Baltimore’s offense could become one-dimensional with Jackson’s difficulty with his accuracy and the lack of depth at the receiver position. There is no doubting that the Ravens running game will likely be among the best in the NFL, but it won’t matter much if the offense can’t find a good balance with the passing game. Meanwhile, Baltimore’s defense was terrific last season and it will likely carry the team once again in 2019. However, the Ravens front 7 will undoubtedly be weaker this offseason after they lost Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, and Za’Darius Smith in free agency. Don’t expect Baltimore’s defense to be dominant in 2019, but they still have plenty of talent especially in the secondary with the talented duo of Tony Jefferson and Earl Thomas at safety. Baltimore still has tremendous potential and it is very possible that they could win the division again in 2019. That being said, the Ravens have so much uncertainty on both sides of the ball that it will likely hold them back.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati is a team in transition this offseason as they hired Zac Taylor to be their new head coach. The Bengals likely won’t be a playoff contender, but they still have plenty of talent especially on offense. They are particularly deep at the wide receiver position with A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and John Ross as their top pass-catching options. Also, they have a good duo at running back with Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. Cincinnati even has an improved offensive line especially with the selection of offensive tackle Jonah Williams in the 1st round this offseason. Cincinnati barely did anything in free agency, but they didn’t really lose much besides linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The Bengals have several glaring weaknesses on the defense, but they also have plenty of talent. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap form a terrific defensive line duo. The Bengals secondary is also really good especially at cornerback with William Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Darqueze Dennard. The major weakness for the Bengals continues to be at the linebacker position and they didn’t really do anything to address the problem this offseason. Cincinnati is an underrated team in 2019, but they could surprise some people because of the decent amount of talent that they have. However, the Bengals still have many weaknesses and they’ll have a tough time competing in the difficult AFC North in 2019.