The NFL has undergone a very stressful and unique off-season. Covid-19 has limited off-season workouts and will cut into practice time.
Below are The Sports Whisperer’s pre-season power rankings:
32) Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals got their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow. They also have a potential No.1 wide receiver in Tee Higgins. This is a team that is building for the future. They are at least 2-3 years away.
31) Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Jaguars drafted CB, CJ Henderson and LB, K’Lavon Chaisson. This could be a good defensive unit but the question mark for this team is their offense and head coach Doug Marrone. He has a career record in the NFL of 37-45. Jacksonville will be hiring a new coach at the end of the season and look for them to draft quarterback, Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson.
30) Washington Redskins:
Ron Rivera should have this defense playing at a high level. Chase Young could win defensive rookie of the year. Their offense has no elite talent and they will struggle to score points.
29) Detroit Lions:
Defensive back, Jeff Okudah could be an elite corner back for years to come. Is DeAndre Swift the featured back the Lions haven’t had since Barry Sanders? The NFC North should be better. The Vikings have an elite unite and the Packers should make the playoffs. If the Bears quarterback play improves, the Lions could be the worst team in their division. That is something Lions fans have gotten used to way too many times over the years.
28) New York Giants:
The Giants offensive woes began and ended with their offensive line. Drafting Andrew Thomas with the N0.4 overall pick could solidify that unit. The Giants also signed linebacker Blake Martinez from Green Bay. This is a team that is 3rd best in their division. The Eagles and Cowboys should battle for a playoff spot. New York is still rebuilding and their success relies heavily on 2nd year quarterback, Daniel Jones.
27) Las Vegas Raiders:
The Raiders drafted speedy wide receiver, Henry Ruggs III out of Alabama. He should provide the deep threat now that Amari Cooper is in Dallas. Could Marcus Mariota become the starter of Vegas gets off to a slow start?
26) New England Patriots:
Every team in the AFC East has gotten better this off-season. The Patriots have gotten worse. They lost Tom Brady to Tampa Bay and they have no replacement for him. Don’t be surprised if New England gets off to a slow start. They will look to trade some of their key players halfway through the season so they can draft Trevor Lawrence.
25) Houston Texans:
Bill O’Brien has won the division 4 out of the last 5 years. Losing DeAndre Hopkins will hurt this team chances in their division. Will Deshaun Watson get frustrated now that his go to receiver is in Arizona.
24) Carolina Panthers:
Las Vegas has the Panthers winning 5 games. This is my sleeper team. They could surprise a lot of NFL experts. Matt Ruhle used everyone of his 7 draft picks to bolster up a defense that struggled last season. Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey could spark this offense. This team should win more than 5 games and could be in playoff contention at the end of the year.
23) Los Angeles Rams:
After being in the Super Bowl two years ago, the Rams have fell off the map. They could be the 4th best team in their division behind the 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals.
22) LA Chargers:
This team has talent on both sides of the ball. Can Oregon’s Justin Herbert win the starting job right away without OTA’s and a shortened training camp?
21) New York Jets:
The Jets have the 4th worst coach in the AFC East in Adam Gase. Sam Darnold can be a franchise quarterback. If the Jets falter early look for Gase to be on the hot-seat.
20) Atlanta Falcons:
The Falcons are the first team in the history of the NFL to have all 11 starters on offense, drafted in the first round. Atlanta lost the Super Bowl in 2016. They compiled a 10-6, 7-9 and 7-9. Their offense should put up points, but will their defense get stops when they need them?
19) Arizona Cardinals:
Kliff Kingsbury’s offense should be much better with Kyler Murray returning for his 2nd year. But is Kinsbury the NFL’s version of Mike D’Antoni? Kingsbury was 19-35 in conference play as the head coach of Texas Tech. The Cardinals went 5-10-1 in 2019. Until they focus on defense, they will be fun to watch but not a legitimate threat.
18) Denver Broncos:
Drew Lock is 4-1 as a starter. The Broncos drafted wide receivers, Jerry Juedy and KJ Hamler. They also added running back Melvin Gordon from the Chargers. This is a team that can compete for a wild card playoff berth.
17) Miami Dolphins:
The Dolphins are probably a year away from winning their division. If healthy, Tua Tagovailoa could win rookie of the year. The Dolphins defense should be improved as well. They have the highest paid duo of cornerbacks in the NFL.
16) Indianapolis Colts:
Michael Pittman out of USC could be a No. 1 wide receiver. Phillip Rivers has something to prove after parting ways with the Los Angeles Chargers. Jonathan Taylor could be a featured back. He had a tremendous career at Wisconsin. Frank Reich is an exceptionally good coach and this team should be the favorite to win their division.
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