NFL Power Rankings 2020: Examining How the Entire League Stacks Up

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2020

FILE- In this Feb. 2, 2020, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass during Super Bowl 54 against the San Francisco 49ers in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Super Bowl MVP is joining the ownership group of the Kansas City Royals.(AP Photo/Doug Benc, File)
Doug Benc/Associated Press

As soon as Sept. 10, the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans will officially kick off the 2020 NFL season. The Chiefs are the team to beat this season, and not only because they are the defending Super Bowl champions.

It's been a pretty strong offseason for Kansas City, all things considered. The Chiefs managed to lock up Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Chris Jones, renegotiated Sammy Watkins' contract to keep him in the fold for another season and drafted a potential new workhorse back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

One could argue that this year's Chiefs squad is just as talented as last year's, if not more so. And, of course, they are going to remain kings of the proverbial mountain until someone knocks them off.

How does the rest of the league stack up heading into Week 1? Let's take a look.


2020 NFL Power Rankings

1. Kansas City Chiefs

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. San Francisco 49ers

4. New Orleans Saints

5. Seattle Seahawks

6. Green Bay Packers

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Tennessee Titans

9. Dallas Cowboys

10. Buffalo Bills

11. Minnesota Vikings

12. Philadelphia Eagles

13. Indianapolis Colts

14. Houston Texans

15. Pittsburgh Steelers

16. New England Patriots

17. Los Angeles Rams

18. Atlanta Falcons

19. Arizona Cardinals

20. Cleveland Browns

21. Las Vegas Raiders

22. Denver Broncos

23. Los Angeles Chargers

24. Chicago Bears

25. Miami Dolphins

26. Detroit Lions

27. New York Giants

28. Carolina Panthers

29. New York Jets

30. Cincinnati Bengals

31. Jacksonville Jaguars

32. Washington Football Team


2. Baltimore Ravens

Steve Luciano/Associated Press

If there is a team in the AFC that's going to challenge Kansas City, it's likely going to be the Baltimore Ravens. While Kansas City won the head-to-head matchup last year, Baltimore only lost one other game during the regular season.

Is Baltimore a perfect team? No. But it has the reigning MVP in quarterback Lamar Jackson, a defense that allowed the third-fewest points per game and six All-Pro players—including Jackson, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and kicker Justin Tucker.

While the latest news out of Baltimore has focused on the jettisoning of safety Earl Thomas, that move might actually improve the team's chemistry.

"He was not well-liked by his teammates," NBC Sports' Peter King wrote of Thomas. "He had a pattern of being late, and in a recent practice, he made multiple assignment errors, causing defensive teammates to confront him about his preparedness."

While it's tough to see any team having the league's best record in back-to-back seasons, the Ravens are loaded and could pull off that feat in 2020.


3. San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers deserve to be the top-ranked team in the NFC for the time being. They went 13-3 in the regular season, narrowly lost to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV and have done a good job of navigating a difficult offseason.

While San Francisco lost wideout Emmanuel Sanders and traded away defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, it also used first-round picks on receiver Brandon Aiyuk and defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. From a talent standpoint, the 49ers are on par with what they had last year. However, injuries could cause them to fall in the power rankings once the regular season gets underway.

No. 1 receiver Deebo Samuel is still recovering from foot surgery, while fellow wideout Aiyuk is dealing with a hamstring strain. Pass-rushing wunderkind Nick Bosa is dealing with a muscle strain.

"He'll end up being week-to-week now," coach Kyle Shanahan said of Bosa, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner.

These injuries could lead to a slow start for the 49ers, though their opening schedule of the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and New York Giants is forgiving.


30. Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals are low on the list, and for an obvious reason. This is a team that went 2-14 while ranking 30th in scoring and 25th in points allowed last season. However, there's a good chance that Cincinnati will rise through the rankings as the season progresses.

Why? Because the Bengals now have Joe Burrow at quarterback.

Burrow could have a similar impact to the one Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray had last season. While Arizona's jump from 3-13 to 5-10-1 might not seem significant, the team ranked 16th in points scored and was far from an easy out for opponents.

The Bengals can be a similar squad in 2020. A playoff push is unlikely, but with Burrow, Joe Mixon, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and others manning what could be an exciting and explosive offense, Cincinnati shouldn't be the cupcake it was a season ago.