The NFL landscape has shifted this offseason through the first wave of free agency and the draft.
2020 Power rankings by and within each division:
1. NFC West
The 49ers retooled immediately with Trent Williams, Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk, they will field one of the league’s most complete rosters. Russell Wilson alone should keep the Seahawks in the mix, despite their subpar defensive personnel. Hamstrung by poor cap management, the Rams may have salvaged their season with a potentially early-impact draft haul. The Cardinals are one of the NFL’s ascendant teams poised for a run at the playoffs following their acquisitions of playmakers DeAndre Hopkins and Isaiah Simmons.
2. AFC North
While it remains to be seen if the “Kings of the North” have added enough firepower to win the Super Bowl, they have seemingly turned a pair of weaknesses into bonafide strengths at inside linebacker and defensive line. After addressing their needs at offensive tackle and safety, Cleveland boasts a talented roster capable of earning a wildcard berth if Kevin Stefanski can elevate Baker Mayfield’s play. Many in the national media underestimated the loss of Antonio Brown on the Steelers last season, now they may be overvaluing the return of Ben Roethlisberger, the NFL’s 2018 interception leader. Cincinnati has the individual pieces to turn in a respectable season if Zac Taylor can cultivate a winning culture around Joe Burrow.
3. AFC West
The defending champion Chiefs are the clear cut favorite in the West after avoiding significant free agent defections. Aiming to take the next step, Denver traded for A.J. Bouye and used the draft to surround Drew Lock with weapons, including Jerry Jeudy. The Chargers will turn to Tyrod Taylor and depend on their capable defense led by Joey Bosa and Derwin James. The Raiders have been stockpiling players for Jon Gruden, yet still need another draft cycle to close the talent deficit in this division.
4. NFC South
New Orleans should remain atop the South, but with Drew Brees entering his 20th season, they may have plateaued. The Buccaneers will also trot out an ancient quarterback in Tom Brady, they have too many playmakers to fall far in the offensive rankings, yet their pass defense remains a major liability. If Hayden Hurst, A.J. Terrell and Marlon Davidson play up to expectations, Atlanta has a path back to the postseason. Carolina will lean on a defensive line that features Derrick Brown and Brian Burns to lead them out of their massive rebuilding project.
5. AFC South
Indianapolis brought in DeForest Buckner to anchor their defensive front and drafted Michael Pittaman to round out their receiving corps, an efficient Phillip Rivers could propel a deep playoff run. Mike Vrabel’s Titans could struggle to replicate their surprising postseason success after they lost as much as they added this offseason. Houston appears to be going backwards from a team building standpoint, but Deshaun Watson should keep them viable in the South. The Jaguars are in store for a long season, but they began rebuilding their pass defense by drafting C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson to complement Josh Allen.
6. NFC North
The Vikings replaced Stefon Diggs quickly with Justin Jefferson while also bolstering their weakest positional groups in the draft with Jeff Gladney and Ezra Cleveland. The Packers did the opposite, perhaps closing their window, by selecting backups for Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones with their first two draft picks. Chicago had a relatively quiet offseason, they traded for Nick Foles to compete with Mitchell Trubisky when better options were available. By drafting Jeff Okudah to replace Darius Slay and De’Andre Swift to split carries with Kerryon Johnson, Detroit appears to be treading water beyond upside third round pick Julian Okwara.
7. NFC East
Dallas added to the NFL’s top offense with CeeDee Lamb before strengthening their defense with Trevon Diggs and Neville Gallimore during an impressive draft. The Eagles have also improved on paper through the additions of Javon Hargrave, Darius Slay and Jalen Reagor. The Giants picked Andrew Thomas to protect Daniel Jones but their defensive depth chart is quite underwhelming. Washington should have an imposing front after adding Chase Young to their talented defensive line, but their chances to play spoiler in 2020 hinge on the Dwayne Haskins-to-Terry McLaurin connection.
8. AFC East
After trading for Stefon Diggs, Sean McDermott’s Bills could contend for the AFC if their defense avoids regression. The Patriots have maybe the least inspiring offensive talent in the league, yet Bill Belichick’s mastery combined with a lockdown secondary should keep them around .500. Miami paid cornerback Byron Jones to pair with Xavien Howard, but their season should be focused on building for the future after landing Tua Tagovailoa and a trench heavy draft class. The Jets surrounded Sam Darnold with Mekhi Becton, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims before his pivotal third season.