NFL Power Rankings 2020: Examining the Best Teams Before Start of Regular Season

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2020

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates during a Super Bowl parade and rally in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

Heading into the 2020 NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs are clearly the team to beat. They are reigning Super Bowl champions and have somehow managed to lock up three of their most important players this offseason.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones were all given extensions. Wideout Sammy Watkins also agreed to rework his contract in order to stay on the roster.

"We've got great guys in the locker room...great guys in the facility," Kelce said, per Harold R. Kuntz of Fox 4 Kansas City (h/t Josh Alpher of ProFootballTalk). "It's a fun atmosphere every time you go to work and guys don't want to leave that."

Additionally, the Chiefs added former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of April's draft, which should add even more punch to an offense that already ranked fifth in scoring last season.

Kansas City should once again be a top contender for the Lombardi Trophy. The question is, which other teams have a legitimate chance of taking home the prize this season—and which teams are better off chasing the No. 1 pick in next year's draft?

Here are your early NFL power rankings for 2020.


2020 NFL Power Rankings

1. Kansas City Chiefs

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. San Francisco 49ers

4. New Orleans Saints

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6. Seattle Seahawks

7. Tennessee Titans

8. Buffalo Bills

9. Dallas Cowboys

10. Minnesota Vikings

11. Green Bay Packers

12. Pittsburgh Steelers

13. Las Vegas Raiders

14. Indianapolis Colts

15. Philadelphia Eagles

16. Los Angeles  Rams

17. Cleveland Browns

18. Atlanta Falcons

19. Arizona Cardinals

20. Miami Dolphins

21. New England Patriots

22. Denver Broncos

23. Houston Texans

24. Chicago Bears

25. Los Angeles Chargers

26. Carolina Panthers

27. New York Giants

28. Detroit Lions

29. Cincinnati Bengals

30. New York Jets

31. Jacksonville Jaguars

32. Washington Football Team


2. Baltimore Ravens

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens didn't reach Super Bowl LIV. They didn't even reach the AFC title game. However, they sit as the No. 2 team in our power rankings for a couple of reasons. For one, the Ravens have the reigning MVP in quarterback Lamar Jackson. They also have a defense that ranked fourth in yards allowed and third in points allowed.

Baltimore also added some notable pieces in the offseason. They traded for Calais Campbell, who should help improve a pass rush that produced just 37 sacks last season. They also drafted running back J.K. Dobbins should add some additional boost to the league's first-ranked rushing and No. 1 scoring offense.

Before bowing out to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round, Baltimore's last loss in 2019 came in Week 4. They managed to knock off playoff teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans during the regular season.

Baltimore should be the top challenger to the Chiefs in the AFC.


3. San Francisco 49ers

This one should be about as surprising as the Chiefs' first-place position in the power rankings. The San Francisco 49ers ran through the NFC to make Super Bowl LIV, and they likely would have taken home the Lombardi Trophy if not for some late-game heroics from Mahomes and a couple of batted Jimmy Garoppolo passes.

However, San Francisco should still be the team to beat in the NFC. They parted with wideout Emmanuel Sanders and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (trade), but they replaced them with rookie first-round picks Brandon Aiyuk and Javon Kinlaw, respectively.

Both players should be able to make early impacts.

The 49ers also locked up tight end George Kittle on a long-term extension. This ensures that the team's top receiving target will be in the lineup and content with his contract situation moving forward.

This was a 13-3 squad a year ago and ranks just behind the Ravens because of the head-to-head loss in Week 13 last season.


5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have jumped into the top five thanks in large part to the addition of quarterback Tom Brady. This is a team that ranked third in points scored, had the league's top-ranked run defense and featured the NFL sack leader in Shaquil Barrett last season.

However, turnovers from quarterback Jameis Winston doomed any hopes of reaching the postseason.

Brady should be better at taking care of the football and maximize the talents of guys like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and fellow offseason addition Rob Gronkowski. And it appears that Tampa is getting a refreshed version of Brady to boot.

"I feel really good," Brady told NBC Sports' Peter King. "I think my arm is strong and is good and is as in-shape as it has ever been."

Two big questions remain for Tampa Bay. Can it tighten up a pass defense that ranked 30th last season? Can Brady master Bruce Arians' offense before Week 1? If the answer to both questions is yes, the Buccaneers will indeed have a shot at the Lombardi.