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.
- 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.