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The NFL has returned for another season of much anticipated action. The league will now embark on a 17 game marathon, adding another contest in the offseason. All 32 teams are primed and eager to play after a league wide bye week.
Let’s see who the best of the best are going into week one:
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes has done everything under the sun except defeat Tom Brady in the postseason. Let’s see if any of the AFC teams pose a legitimate threat to the Chiefs’ throne.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Father time is said to be undefeated, but Tom Brady is putting up a good fight. The Bucs bring back pretty much all of their starters from their title run.
3. Green Bay Packers
In a season that could be Aaron Rodgers’ last in Green Bay, anything less than a Vince Lombardi trophy would be considered a bad season.
4. Buffalo Bills
The Bills are the consensus favorites to win the AFC East. Are they the biggest threat to the supplant the Chiefs in the Super Bowl?
5. Los Angeles Rams
Is Matthew Stafford the missing piece for an offense that ranked 22nd in points during the 2020 season? Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey return to anchor what could be the top defense in the league.
6. Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson and company have a loaded division to contend with this season. The offense will have to play much better to match what has been a top ten defense in recent years.
7. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are supposed to be top contenders in the AFC and there’s no disputing their overall talent. We are definitely living in strange times.
8. Seattle Seahawks
Are the Seahawks a legitimate threat to win the NFC? Recent history says they will look like that for about eight weeks then they will look like anybody could beat them for the rest of the season.
9. Tennessee Titans
The Titans and their resident bulldozer Derrick Henry are ready to once again win their division and battle in the playoffs. The addition of Julio Jones could turn out to be the biggest offseason acquisition made.
10. Washington Football Team
Can Ryan Fitzpatrick put Washington over the top and make them a legit contender? The defense led by the ferocious Chase Young will come ready to play every week.
11. San Francisco 49ers
After suffering injury on top of injury, the 49ers are healthy and ready to make an impact in the NFC. They could make a serious playoff push after a 6-10 season in 2020.
12. Miami Dolphins
With a few new weapons, including rookie Jaylen Waddle and veteran Will Fuller, there are real expectations for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
13. New England Patriots
Mac Jones has the feel of the prototypical Bill Belichick quarterback. They will have to rely heavy on their defense if Jones is to be successful in year one.
14. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray now has a full array of weapons to push the Cardinals into the playoffs. Budda Baker leads a defense that should be top ten by seasons end.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris could finish his rookie season with top five rushing numbers. Pittsburgh should be going to him early and often in games.
16. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers made a late season run, winning five out of their last seven games, including four straight victories to close out 2020. Look for even bigger things from Justin Herbert and company in 2021.
17. Dallas Cowboys
For the naysayers about Dak Prescott, just look at how a season without him turned out. They had the number one offense when he was playing in 2020 and they finished somewhere in the realm of garbage by seasons end without him.
18. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have high expectations for Carson Wentz and it’s not off to a great start. Can he have a better season than Phillip Rivers in 2020?
19. Chicago Bears
I think everyone in Chicago-land is waiting for the day Justin Fields puts down the clipboard and starts his NFL career.
20. New Orleans Saints
Can Jameis Winston keep his turnovers down and be more of the 30 touchdown, 5,000 passing yards type quarterback?
21. Denver Broncos
The Broncos might’ve found a gem in running back Javonte Williams. Teddy Bridgewater gives them a steady hand at quarterback.
22. Minnesota Vikings
After years of being supposed contenders, nobody is talking about the Vikings this year. Could they be the surprise team in 2021?
23. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders had an outside chance at the playoffs last season, but lost three out of their final four games. The Jon Gruden signing is going to have to start paying dividends for the Raiders at some point.
24. New York Giants
This really seems like the final year Daniel Jones has to prove himself, after regressing in 2020.
25. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow will have his LSU teammate JaMarr Chase as his new main target. The Cincinnati offense should be improved, but how will the offensive line hold up?
26. Atlanta Falcons
Calvin Ridley is now the solidified number one wide receiver in Atlanta, but will he get the most targets? Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts should be a weekly mismatch for Matt Ryan to look for.
27. Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold’s only excuse for a subpar start to his career was that he played for the Jets (it’s a legit argument). Now he plays for Carolina and is reunited with his favorite target, Robby Anderson. No more excuses for Darnold’s lack of production.
28. New York Jets
The Jets have new found hope with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and head coach Robert Saleh. Wilson will have to maneuver behind a rebuilt offensive line, while Saleh will have to develop an overall young team.
29. Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts will get his chance to prove all his doubters wrong once again. He will have Heisman winner Devonta Smith in the slot for the short pass game.
30. Detroit Lions
Dan Campbell will have his hands full in a tough division with a team that still needs an infusion of talent on both sides of the ball.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence should be a phenomenal NFL quarterback, but it might not fully show in year one. He could have a Peyton Manning type of rookie season, especially with the loss of fellow rookie Travis Etienne.
32. Houston Texans
Tyrod Taylor was named Houston’s starter by new head coach David Culley. While Taylor is an adequate starter, he’s usually a placeholder for a young guy waiting in the wings. The Texans currently have no such player on their roster.