Latest Win-Loss Predictions for Every NFL Team Ahead of 2020 Season
The 2020 NFL season may be more unpredictable than ever, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without OTAs or preseason games, NFL teams had approximately four weeks to conduct live practices before the regular season begins Thursday.
Once the games kick off, most teams won't have fans in attendance, which takes some sizzle away from home-field advantage.
On the field, we'll see stars in new places and rookies attempt to make an impact despite the irregular circumstances, which will add some intrigue.
Ahead of the season opener between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, we're going through the latest win-loss projections for all 32 clubs. Could we see a 16-0 or 0-16 squad? Which teams will rise or fall from the previous season?
Super Bowl odds are provided by Caesars Palace.
Super Bowl Odds: +6000
The Arizona Cardinals should put up points in bunches. But their defense must come together to push them over the .500 mark.
The Cardinals' aerial attack will feature quarterback Kyler Murray, the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year, three-time All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins and running back Kenyan Drake, who hit his stride with the team in the second half of the 2019 campaign. That trio can produce consistent results.
Kyle Odegard of the team's official website thinks it's tight end Dan Arnold's "time to shine" in the offense. With Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk rounding out the wide receiver group, we could see some fireworks from this squad.
However, Arizona's defense has trended in the wrong direction in points and yards allowed since 2016. It nearly hit rock bottom under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph last year, ranking 28th and 32nd in those respective categories.
Joseph must find out how to utilize versatile rookie first-rounder Isaiah Simmons and optimize the talent at cornerback.
Arizona signed Dre Kirkpatrick, who may claim a starting spot on the boundary. Byron Murphy has to take a step forward in his sophomore campaign. In his 10th year, on an expiring contract, Patrick Peterson must show that he's still a top-notch player at the position.
If Joseph cannot translate talent into solid results, the Cardinals may have to consider a new coordinator to get over the hump.
Super Bowl Odds: +6000
With the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers also in the NFC South, defense will dictate whether the Atlanta Falcons claim a playoff spot or just miss the cut.
As usual, expect the Falcons to move the ball through the air with quarterback Matt Ryan under center and Julio Jones in dominant form. Calvin Ridley remains a steady No. 2 wideout. Running back Todd Gurley and tight end Hayden Hurst could help improve the offense's red-zone efficiency, which ranked 25th for touchdown conversions in 2019.
Ryan may also have better pass protection with right guard Chris Lindstrom and right tackle Kaleb McGary going into their second season. According to head coach Dan Quinn, the former made a "significant jump" this offseason (h/t Kelsey Conway of the team's official website).
On the other side of the ball, uncertainty creeps into the Falcons' 2020 outlook. Atlanta allowed an average 19 points per game over the last four weeks of the 2019 campaign. Can the defense pick up where it left off?
The Falcons didn't exercise edge-rusher Takkarist McKinley's fifth-year option. Opposite Dante Fowler Jr., he must bounce back from a 3.5-sack season. Atlanta has question marks in the secondary with Keanu Neal (torn Achilles) coming off consecutive years with early season-ending injuries. Rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell has to play a big role without a preseason.
Fortunately, the Falcons don't play the Saints or Buccaneers until Week 11, which gives their defense time to jell. They'll win several games early in the season, but they may struggle after their Week 10 bye.
Super Bowl Odds: +700
Coming off an MVP campaign, Lamar Jackson can further progress in his third season, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league.
Jackson will have second-year wideout Marquise Brown healthy after he battled through lingering effects from a Lisfranc injury, which required an additional procedure to remove a screw in his foot, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The speedy wideout occasionally flashed his game-breaking speed, but he wasn't as consistent as he was when he averaged 18.3 yards per reception at Oklahoma.
While the Jackson-Brown connection seems intriguing, the Ravens will probably stick to the ground-based formula that helped them go 14-2 in 2019. They selected running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round of April's draft. He joins Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill in the backfield, which forms a loaded group ready to punish defensive fronts.
The Ravens released safety Earl Thomas because of conduct detrimental to the team, so quarterbacks will test his replacement, DeShon Elliott, in the secondary. The addition of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe on the defensive line leaves a net positive for the defense, though. They combined for 13.5 sacks last season.
Super Bowl Odds: +2500
The Buffalo Bills may be poised to take a major step forward on offense. Quarterback Josh Allen has a new No. 1 target in wideout Stefon Diggs, while rookie running back Zack Moss joins Devin Singletary and T.J. Yeldon in the backfield.
"My mindset this year is a little different," Allen said, per The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia and Matthew Fairburn. "I'm going to try to get the ball into my playmakers' hands and let them make some plays, because they're a lot quicker and shiftier than I am. But when my number is called, I'll step up to the plate for sure."
Although Allen has the right approach with Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley at wideout, he's made only incremental improvements in his accuracy, going from 52.8 to 58.8 in completion rate between 2018 and 2019.
While Allen doesn't inspire much confidence with his ball placement, Buffalo can lean on its ground attack and a top-notch defense to win games. Mario Addison, Vernon Butler and A.J. Klein have familiarity with head coach Sean McDermott from their shared time in Carolina. They'll solidify a top-three defensive unit from 2019.
Last season, Buffalo beat only one playoff team—the Tennessee Titans before quarterback Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota. In 2020, they'll face five teams that made the playoffs last year. With a tougher schedule, the Bills scratch and claw their way to 9-7.
Super Bowl Odds: +12500
The Carolina Panthers have to play out a rough hand this season. They have a new coaching staff with lead skipper Matt Rhule at the forefront, while Teddy Bridgewater is replacing Cam Newton under center.
Running back Christian McCaffrey will carry the offense, but Bridgewater may have to push the ball downfield to keep games close because of a transitioning defense.
The defense ranked second last season in sacks with 53, but Carolina lost Bruce Irvin, Mario Addison, Gerald McCoy, Vernon Butler, Dontari Poe and Eric Reid, who accounted for 37 of them.
To replace their losses, the Panthers selected seven defensive players in this year's draft, which likely means that unit needs an extended period to jell on the field.
Bridgewater is averaging 173.9 passing yards per game for his career. He'll have to go far beyond that threshold to help the Panthers compete. That seems like a tall task at the beginning of a rebuild following an atypical offseason, regardless of his prior history with offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
Sound off the alarm bells for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears.
Despite Foles' solid postseason performances with the Philadelphia Eagles between 2017 and 2018, he isn't a reliable regular-season quarterback. He's completed 61.9 percent of his passes and hasn't played through a full 16-game slate in eight campaigns. Last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Foles lost his starting job to then-rookie Gardner Minshew II.
Trubisky has more versatility because of his mobility in the pocket, but he regressed in 2019. Even if the fourth-year veteran beats Foles for the job, his 17 passing touchdowns last season set low expectations for the aerial attack this year.
Furthermore, starting running back David Montgomery suffered a groin injury in practice last week, and he could miss 2-4 weeks, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
The Bears' top-10 defense will keep scores close, though the offense won't put up enough points to close out many victories.
Super Bowl Odds: +10000
The Cincinnati Bengals have some excitement brewing on offense.
According to defensive end Sam Hubbard, rookie quarterback Joe Burrow has the first-team offense "running on all cylinders" during practice, per SI.com's James Rapien. He has a stacked wide receiver group that features A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic also listed wideout Auden Tate and tight end Drew Sample as risers at camp.
Hubbard, D.J. Reader, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap can put pressure on quarterbacks and stuff the run. Jessie Bates III and Shawn Williams have been a solid safety tandem over the past two seasons, too.
On the flip side, running back Joe Mixon has missed recent practices with migraines, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. One has to wonder whether that will affect him during the season.
The Bengals offensive line has to come together, starting with left tackle Jonah Williams, who missed his entire rookie campaign recovering from shoulder surgery. Michael Jordan and Billy Price must establish themselves in the guard spots. Bobby Hart and Fred Johnson continue to battle for the right tackle position.
Even with all of Burrow's offensive weapons, he's going to struggle if the offensive line cannot protect him. In 2019, Cincinnati ranked 20th in pass protection, per Football Outsiders.
Defensively, the Bengals have potential issues in the secondary. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Trae Waynes will miss most of the season with a torn pectoral. Mackensie Alexander was arrested on one count of battery following an incident with someone who may have known something about his father's whereabouts, per Pelissero.
In a more aggressive passing league, the Bengals could struggle to protect their quarterback and stop aerial attacks. That's a recipe for disaster.
Super Bowl Odds: +3500
Every year, Baker Mayfield has gone into the season learning a new offense—from former head coaches Hue Jackson and Freddie Kitchens to current lead skipper Kevin Stefanski. Fortunately, he's gained a grip on the scheme, per Mary Kay Cabot and Joshua Gunter of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"The more plays we run in this camp to see what the identity is, we're starting to see what's working for us," Mayfield said. "I'm starting to feel way more comfortable."
All signs point to a solid year for Mayfield. He has a bevy of pass-catchers who can do the heavy lifting in the passing game. Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, David Njoku and Kareem Hunt will collectively pose a significant threat to pass defenses.
If Stefanski carries over his tendencies from Minnesota, Nick Chubb and Hunt could spearhead a top-10 ground attack.
Cleveland won't have an issue in the scoring department, but the second and third levels of the defense seem a bit shaky.
The Browns have average units at linebacker and safety. Malcolm Smith and B.J. Goodson, both of whom signed this offseason, are the most experienced in the former group. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, rookie second-round safety Grant Delpit will miss the 2020 season after tearing his Achilles tendon.
Lastly, the Browns play in a tough division. The Ravens have won consecutive AFC North titles. The Pittsburgh Steelers should win more games with Ben Roethlisberger back under center. Cleveland is the third-best team in the division with a new offense and question marks on defense.
Super Bowl Odds: +1300
Under former head coach Jason Garrett, the Cowboys went to the playoffs every other year since 2014. At times, his talented teams underachieved and settled in mediocrity.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has a track record of winning (.618) and going to the playoffs, and he won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 2010. In Green Bay, he had quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. His previous success should command respect and influence in the Cowboys locker room.
The Cowboys offense lost center Travis Frederick, who retired, though Joe Looney did a solid job filling in for him in 2018. He could reclaim that position this year.
In 2019, Dallas racked up the second-most passing yards leaguewide. The unit should maintain its high performance with rookie first-round wideout CeeDee Lamb in the fold. The Oklahoma product has impressed Cowboys executive vice president and director of player personnel Stephen Jones. With running back Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, this offense may lead the league in yards for the second straight year.
The Cowboys have to sort out their secondary following Byron Jones' departure in free agency. Defensive backs coach Maurice Linguist might move players between the cornerback and safety spots, per David Helman of the team's official website.
Nonetheless, the Cowboys added veteran Daryl Worley, who has starting experience at cornerback and floated around the secondary with the Las Vegas Raiders last year.
Within the front seven defensive end, Everson Griffen can compensate for the loss of Robert Quinn, who led the team in sacks last year. The return of linebacker Leighton Vander Esch should have a significant effect, too. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has the weapons to make a sophomore leap.
Courtland Sutton is arguably one of the most underrated upstart wideouts across the league. He finished 19th in receiving yards (1,112) last year. According to Aric DiLalla of the team's official website, rookie first-rounder Jerry Jeudy has looked like a natural on the field, too:
"First, Jeudy's routes just look smooth. There's no wasted movement, and he seems to glide down the field at times. Second, he's explosive—whether that's in a head fake to move a cornerback or in the way he comes out of his break. He looks, at times, like he's moving at a different speed than anyone else."
Tight end Noah Fant will pose a threat in the aerial attack after he caught 40 passes for 562 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie.
The Broncos will field a top-five defense if their key players stay on the field. Head coach Vic Fangio has boasted a top-10 scoring unit for each of the last three seasons, dating back to his tenure as the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator.
The Broncos acquired Pro Bowl defensive end Jurrell Casey from the Tennessee Titans in March. Edge-rusher Bradley Chubb returns to action after missing 12 games because of a torn ACL in 2019. Cornerback Bryce Callahan has prior experience in Fangio's system from his time in Chicago. He sat out last season because of a foot injury.
Lock's offensive line has to jell, though. Garett Bolles has been underwhelming at left tackle. Rookie third-rounder Lloyd Cushenberry III is set to replace Graham Glasgow at center. Right tackle Demar Dotson has fill-in duty for Ja'Wuan James, who exercised the COVID-19 opt-out.
Fortunately for the Broncos, they can hand off to Melvin Gordon III and Phillip Lindsay to negate lapses in pass protection.
Super Bowl Odds: +6000
The Detroit Lions need familiarity and continuity to work in their favor this year. Quarterback Matthew Stafford goes into his second season with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell after a fairly productive eight-game stretch last year.
After throwing for 2,499 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions, Stafford will have an opportunity to pick up where he left off before going on injured reserve with hip and back injuries. Chris Burke of The Athletic listed the wide receiver group and tight end T.J. Hockenson as players on the rise at camp, so we could see an explosive aerial attack in Detroit.
Stafford will need the right side of the offensive line to play well despite two new starters, one of whom is Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who started 20 games in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
This offseason, Detroit added three former New England Patriots who will likely fill prominent roles: defensive tackle Danny Shelton, linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. and safety Duron Harmon. Head coach Matt Patricia has a history with all of them, which helps with a condensed practice program.
First-round cornerback Jeff Okudah is expected to start on the boundary, which is a tough challenge in an offseason without exhibition games.
The Lions may need to win scoring shootouts if Okudah and fellow cornerback Desmond Trufant struggle in their first year with the club. Even with Detroit's offensive talent, this is a tough team to trust because Patricia hasn't proven himself as a head coach, going 9-22-1 in two campaigns.
Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl Odds: +1600
The Green Bay Packers go into the 2020 season with the same potential flaws from 2019.
Other than linebacker Christian Kirksey and tackle Ricky Wagner, the Packers didn't make any impact acquisitions this offseason, specifically to address their 23rd-ranked run defense or a lackluster wide receiver group. They'll lean on in-house growth to fill those voids.
According to The Athletic's Matt Schneidman, defensive lineman Kingsley Keke has made a case for an expanded role.
"With Montravius Adams out with an injured toe, Keke is getting valuable reps and a chance to state his case for more playing time," Schneidman wrote.
Although quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been "most impressed" with Marquez Valdes-Scantling, fellow wide receiver Allen Lazard has also generated notable buzz.
"Lazard's camp showing thus far has solidified the Packers' belief that he can be their primary receiving threat behind Davante Adams," Schneidman wrote.
Still relatively unproven, Keke and Lazard or Valdes-Scantling could move into key spots.
The Packers will only face off against two 2019 playoff teams after Week 9 in the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans, and they'll get both at home. However, Green Bay's flaws from last season will pop up again, causing a rough ride through 2020.
Super Bowl Odds: +5500
The Houston Texans have a talented roster, but keep an eye on key players with injury concerns.
Since 2016, three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt has missed 32 games. Wideout Will Fuller V has missed 22 contests over that same span, although quarterback Deshaun Watson think he will "ball out" this season, according to ESPN's Sarah Barshop.
In April, the Texans acquired wideout Brandin Cooks from the Los Angeles Rams. He's had five documented concussions, though the 26-year-old has "zero" concerns about his short-term future, per Barshop.
Houston also acquired running back David Johnson, who's averaged fewer than 3.8 yards per carry in each of the last two seasons. He's also missed 18 contests since 2017. Last season, the 28-year-old dealt with nagging back and ankle injuries, which partially factored into Kenyan Drake taking the starting job in Arizona.
While no one can predict injuries, we must factor in the probability that one or more of the four aforementioned players could miss multiple games.
Watt, the most questionable of them all, plays a big role in the Texans' front seven. Without him, Houston could struggle to stop the run and rush the passer. Last season, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus led the team in sacks with 7.5.
Watson will pull out some wins with his dual-threat skill set, but expect the Texans to take a small step back in 2020.
Super Bowl Odds: +2500
Don't sleep on the Indianapolis Colts. Caesars Palace lists this squad as the favorite to win the AFC South at +130 (bet $100 to win $130).
Although we should temper expectations a bit, the Colts can steal the division. Quarterback Philip Rivers doesn't have to finish as a Comeback Player of the Year candidate to push this squad into playoff contention.
With Marlon Mack and rookie second-rounder Jonathan Taylor in the backfield behind a stout offensive line, Rivers doesn't need to throw 35-plus times per outing. He can complement a physical rushing offense and pick his spots against defenses.
The Colts may have found their No. 2 wide receiver in rookie second-rounder Michael Pittman Jr., who's 6'4" and 223 pounds. Rivers could toss passes up to him as he did to Mike Williams (6'4", 218 lbs) with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Indianapolis can adopt a physical identity on the other side of the ball with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner on the front line. He'll provide a push near the pocket and complement edge-rusher Justin Houston.
All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard is one of the rising stars in the league, as he can rush the quarterback, stop the run and drop back in coverage. He's piled up 284 tackles, 19 for loss, 12 sacks, 15 pass breakups and seven interceptions over his first two NFL seasons.
The Colts pass defense has to show improvement. The unit ranked 23rd in yards allowed and 24th in touchdowns allowed last season. Safety Malik Hooker has to stay healthy, and T.J. Carrie, Xavier Rhodes or Rock Ya-Sin must emerge to help Kenny Moore II on the back end.
Super Bowl Odds: +25000
The Jacksonville Jaguars sent another piece of their once-dominant defense elsewhere Sunday, trading edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round pick.
The Jaguars own four picks within the first two rounds of the 2021 draft. They're clearly in rebuild mode.
Defensive end Josh Allen and linebacker Myles Jack remain viable playmakers in the front seven. However, edge-rusher K'Lavon Chaisson and cornerback CJ Henderson will take their rookie lumps for a defense that's going to struggle without Ngakoue and Calais Campbell there to apply pocket pressure.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew II has one year to prove he's worthy of the starting job long-term. Unfortunately, he's behind a mediocre offensive line that ranked 16th in pass protection and 27th in run blocking last season, per Football Outsiders.
The Jaguars retained their starting offensive line, which may spell trouble for Minshew and provide little running room for the ball-carriers. Jacksonville is a good bet for the No. 1 overall pick in 2021.
Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl Odds: +400
Who's going to stop the Kansas City Chiefs? Looking at their regular-season schedule, the Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints jump out as the only teams with enough firepower to knock off the reigning champions.
Running back Damien Williams exercised the COVID-19 opt-out, though the Chiefs can slide rookie first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire into the starting role. After logging 1,867 yards from scrimmage at LSU last year, he's equipped to handle a significant workload.
Other than a change at tailback, quarterback Patrick Mahomes will have all of his pass-catching weapons back from last year, which means he's primed for another stellar season.
Safety Juan Thornhill had an impactful rookie season, logging three interceptions and five pass breakups. However, he's on the mend from a torn ACL, and his recovery timetable remains uncertain. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland won't suit up until Week 5 because of a four-game suspension for violating the league's substances of abuse policy, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Despite the two question marks in the secondary, Frank Clark and Chris Jones can wreak havoc as pass-rushers. More importantly, the Chiefs have the offense to simply outscore their opponents.
Las Vegas Raiders
Super Bowl Odds: +3000
In a somewhat surprising move, the Raiders released cornerback Prince Amukamara, which almost locks rookie first-rounder Damon Arnette into the starting spot opposite second-year pro Trayvon Mullen.
The Raiders made a risky decision going with two youngsters on the boundary because slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner provided little impact in his first season with the team, and Johnathan Abram played only one NFL game before going down with a torn rotator cuff and labrum.
Rookie wideouts Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards will likely play a huge role in the passing attack. Tyrell Williams will undergo surgery on a torn labrum in his shoulder, so the Raiders placed him on injured reserve, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Within the first five weeks, the young wideouts will match up against two-time Pro Bowler Marshon Lattimore, 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and All-Pro Tre'Davious White at cornerback. That's a tough slate, with the Super Bowl champions slated for Week 5 before the bye.
Quarterback Derek Carr will frequently target tight end Darren Waller through the air, while running back Josh Jacobs will carry a heavy load on the ground. With those two rising talents alone, the Raiders should put up a lot of points, especially in the second half of the campaign.
However, with the youth movement in multiple areas and a questionable pass rush that needs Clelin Ferrell, Maliek Collins, Maurice Hurst, Carl Nassib and Arden Key to help Maxx Crosby generate pressure, the Raiders defense may struggle to get off the field in some weeks.
Los Angeles Chargers
Super Bowl Odds: +4500
The Los Angeles Chargers go into the campaign with a major injury loss and a couple of question marks on offense.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, All-Pro safety Derwin James will miss the season after undergoing knee surgery, which is a huge blow to the Chargers secondary. Desmond King could handle an expanded role to fill the spot.
Yet on paper, the Chargers defense looks solid with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III on the edge and Casey Howard along with Chris Harris Jr. in the slot. Rookie first-round linebacker Kenneth Murray brings athleticism to the second level of the unit.
Offensively, the Chargers have to establish an identity with Taylor taking over for Philip Rivers. Among the running backs, Ekeler, Justin Jackson and rookie fourth-rounder Joshua Kelley have to form a solid committee.
Mike Williams suffered a shoulder injury during practice, though offensive coordinator Shane Steichen seems hopeful that he'll suit up for Week 1. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor could target the 6'4", 218-pound wide receiver on 50-50 balls if healthy. Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Ekeler should all have sizable roles in the passing game as well.
Sam Tevi, who allowed eight sacks last year, per Pro Football Focus, isn't an ideal starter at left tackle. Taylor may have to keep a close eye on his blind side before he looks downfield. If the Chargers fall out of the playoff picture down the stretch, they may let rookie first-round quarterback Justin Herbert take his lumps.
Los Angeles Rams
Super Bowl Odds: +3000
The Los Angeles Rams offensive line seems like the key to their season. Because of injuries to tackle Rob Havenstein (knee), Joseph Noteboom (torn ACL and MCL) and center Brian Allen (knee) last year, the coaching staff had to continuously shuffle the unit.
On a positive note, Bobby Evans and David Edwards had a taste of starting experience at the tackle and guard spots, respectively. Both put together solid performances as rookies.
The Rams will field their best five-man lineup to open up holes for the running backs. If the initial group doesn't perform well, they have plenty of combination options.
Rookie second-rounder Cam Akers doesn't have to become Todd Gurley. Head coach Sean McVay can employ a committee approach at running back with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown in the group. If the offensive line clicks, Los Angeles would have a ground attack that takes some pressure off quarterback Jared Goff.
Behind a healthier front line with an improved ground attack, Goff can revert to his earlier Pro Bowl form. In the best-case scenario, he would throw fewer passes than last season (626) but still stretch the field with his quality weapons, which include Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Aaron Donald will continue to play at a high level. The defense needs new projected starters such as edge-rusher Leonard Floyd, safety Taylor Rapp, inside linebacker Micah Kiser and cornerback Troy Hill to make a quick impact under first-time defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
Staley's play-calling tendencies are a mystery, but at least he has two All-Pros in Donald and Ramsey.
Super Bowl Odds: +10000
Aside from the secondary, the Miami Dolphins look like a work in progress. Rookie first-round quarterback Tua Tagovailoa might take over for Ryan Fitzpatrick at some point this season, which will be a learning process.
The Dolphins revamped their offensive line with several new faces in the group, though tackle Ereck Flowers, who's experienced his fair share of struggles, has become a leader within the unit, per The Athletic's Josh Tolentino.
"The current offensive line features eight newcomers, including six rookies," Tolentino wrote. "There’s bound to be a lot of questions from the group. ... Flowers has been an excellent mentor to his younger, inexperienced teammates."
Flowers will play guard and may shine as the strongest link on the offensive line. Whoever starts under center might face a lot of pressure up front, which would cause some issues in the passing game.
Head coach Brian Flores has a defensive background. Miami signed two of his former players from New England who should make an immediate impact, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts. The former logged a career-high 6.5 sacks last season.
The Dolphins have one of the NFL's top cornerback duos in Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Both earned Pro Bowl selections in 2018. They'll make it difficult for aerial attacks on the boundaries.
While Miami's defense can stifle some opponents, the reconstructed offense, with Tagovailoa in waiting, indicates this is another down year full of growing pains.
Super Bowl Odds: +2800
In March, the Minnesota Vikings traded wideout Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, though they replaced him by drafting Justin Jefferson in the first round a month later. The LSU product "has the look of a star," according to ESPN's Courtney Cronin, and Olabisi Johnson could fill the void behind Adam Thielen.
Over the weekend, the Vikings acquired defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round pick, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. He'll compensate for the loss of Everson Griffen.
However, Minnesota's ground attack may take a step back because of the guard play. Pat Elflein has struggled at center and guard over the past two seasons, and 2019 fourth-rounder Dru Samia isn't in the competition to replace Josh Kline at right guard, per Chad Graff of The Athletic.
"Before training camp, there was a wide-held belief that one of the guard spots was Samia's to lose," Graff wrote. "... Instead, the Vikings made clear that Elflein was the starting right guard and that Samia wasn't even in the competition for the job opposite Elflein."
Instead of Samia, the Vikings can go with Dakota Dozier, who's started only 11 games in six seasons.
Cornerback Holton Hill showed glimpses of his coverage ability during the 2018 campaign. Now, he must do it in a full-time role with Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander joining the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency. The same applies to Mike Hughes, who suffered a broken vertebra at the end of last year. Rookies Jeff Gladney or Cameron Dantzler will round out the top three players at the position.
Although talented at cornerback, the Vikings need all three youngsters in that new trio to handle bigger roles, which raises some cause for concern.
The Vikings may go through early growing pains before their new starters find their way and finish strong.
New England Patriots
Super Bowl Odds: +2000
The New England Patriots lost a league-high eight players to COVID-19 opt-outs. That group includes linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung. The defense also lost Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins in free agency, while the front office traded Duron Harmon to the Detroit Lions.
However, the Patriots still have a high-end secondary with 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson and Jason McCourty at cornerback. Rookie second-rounder Kyle Dugger has impressed head coach Bill Belichick (h/t ProFootballTalk's Josh Alper). He'll likely line up alongside Devin McCourty at safety.
The Patriots ground attack and a healthy Cam Newton can even the playing field against opponents. Opposing defenses must account for the signal-caller's dual-threat capability and stop a rushing offense that may feature three or four ball-carriers.
Damien Harris has stood out during practices. However, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss, he suffered a hand injury that could keep him out of the season opener. If healthy, the second-year ball-carrier may split the rushing workload with Sony Michel at some point in the campaign. The Athletic's Jeff Howe thinks James White could have a huge season, too.
"Pass-catching back James White will also have a heavy role and could be in for a monster year if quarterback Cam Newton wins the starting job, considering the way Newton wore out Christian McCaffrey during their time together with the Panthers," Howe wrote.
While Newton plays for his future on a one-year deal, don't underestimate his ability to keep the Patriots competitive. With that said, he doesn't have enough offensive weapons to pose a consistent threat through the air.
New Orleans Saints
Super Bowl Odds: +1100
Quarterback Drew Brees needed extra time to contemplate whether he'd play this season. Yet the 41-year-old's chance at another Super Bowl remains within reach on a balanced New Orleans Saints roster.
This offseason, the Saints signed Emmanuel Sanders to complement star wideout Michael Thomas. In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio (h/t Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football), Brees predicted a breakout year for Tre'Quan Smith, which would give the offense a solid third option at wide receiver.
The Saints' offensive line is the biggest question mark. Is rookie first-rounder Cesar Ruiz ready to replace Larry Warford on the interior? Left guard Andrus Peat may need surgery to repair a broken thumb, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Fortunately, Brees can hand off to three-time Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara if his pass protection breaks down early in the season.
In 2019, the Saints had a decent defensive group that ranked 13th in points allowed and 11th for yards surrendered. Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins goes into this campaign healthy after missing six outings because of an Achilles injury last year. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins joined the team in December and should have a better feel for the system in 2020.
The Saints have a legitimate chance of representing the NFC in Super Bowl 55.
New York Giants
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
The New York Giants go into the season at a disadvantage. They have a first-time head coach in Joe Judge, and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett didn't have a heavy hand in calling plays in recent years, per Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News (h/t NJ.com's Darryl Slater):
"Garrett called plays from 2007-12, but was forced to give it up to Bill Callahan. Garrett is a good X's-and-O's guy who will stress in passing the football. There were times, as a play-caller, when he got away from the running game. But over time, if he has a talented running back, he will give him the ball. If not, then it won't happen."
Saquon Barkley should get a lot of touches, but he's going to run behind an offensive line with a rookie tackle in Andrew Thomas and likely Cameron Fleming, who's been mostly a backup (26 starts in six years) with the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys. His ties to Judge should help him secure the spot.
Because of the starting inexperience at tackle, quarterback Daniel Jones may not have a lot of time to scan the field.
For now, Big Blue will move forward without cornerback DeAndre Baker, who's on the Commissioner's Exempt List, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He's been charged with four counts of robbery with a firearm, according to Broward State Attorney Mike Satz (h/t Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News).
Cornerback Isaac Yiadom, whom the Giants acquired from the Denver Broncos on Wednesday, per Ryan O'Halloran of the Denver Post, could play a sizable role as a result.
Rookie second-rounder Xavier McKinney recently underwent surgery on his foot, which requires a recovery timetable that could keep him out until late November, per ESPN's Jordan Raanan.
Although the Giants signed Logan Ryan, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the secondary could open the season in disarray. That doesn't bode well for the team's 2020 outlook.
New York Jets
Super Bowl Odds: +10000
Quarterback Sam Darnold has the arm talent to whip passes through tight windows and extend plays with his legs, but he won't have much at wide receiver.
Rookie second-rounder Denzel Mims has missed several practices with a hamstring injury, although he returned to the field Wednesday. Breshad Perriman needs more time to recover from swelling in his knee, per Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press.
The Jets signed Chris Hogan and Donte Moncrief to compensate for the injuries. Wideout Jamison Crowder and tight end Chris Herndon will likely lead this group in targets until Perriman returns to action. That won't cut it, even within the depleted AFC East.
The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills ranked No. 1 and tied for No. 2, respectively, in passing touchdowns allowed last year. The Miami Dolphins have a formidable cornerback duo in Xavien Howard and Byron Jone, too.
Even more troubling, Brian Costello of the New York Post wrote running back Le'Veon Bell "has not had an impressive camp" and pegged him as the third-best running back behind Frank Gore and rookie fourth-rounder La'Mical Perine, who suffered an ankle injury Sunday, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
The Jets won't have inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, who exercised the COVID-19 opt-out. They also traded safety Jamal Adams, their best defensive player, to the Seattle Seahawks in late July.
Gang Green has a big question mark at cornerback with Pierre Desir coming from the Indianapolis Colts and the other spot on the opposite side up for grabs.
The Jets will likely fall apart at the seams, which means head coach Adam Gase may lose his job during or after the season.
Super Bowl Odds: +2000
The Philadelphia Eagles seem destined for a third consecutive 9-7 season. This time, that record may not push them over the cut line for a playoff spot.
Philadelphia has an inexperienced wide receiver corps with two key players on the mend.
Alshon Jeffery doesn't have a timetable for his return from Lisfranc surgery. Rookie first-rounder Jalen Reagor has a shoulder issue and could miss about four weeks, per Geoff Mosher of Inside the Birds.
Second-year veteran J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has to step into a big role alongside DeSean Jackson. Rookie fifth-round John Hightower has flashed at practices and may earn consideration for a starting spot as well, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Rookies typically need time to acclimate to the speed of the NFL. The Eagles' aerial attack may lack consistency until the youngsters reach their comfort zone in the system.
The Eagles have some concerns at linebacker and safety, too. Nathan Gerry stands out as the best player at the former position after he took on a full-time starting role for the first time last year. Jalen Mills will transition from cornerback to the latter position, which is a gamble because of his inexperience at a new spot.
Eagles coaches talked to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer about the difficult challenge for rookie linebackers and safeties to break into solid roles. Third-rounder Davion Taylor and fourth-rounder K'Von Wallace may not become factors until later in the season.
Philadelphia's potential issues on both sides of the ball may result in a slow start, which will make it difficult to finish with double-digit wins.
Super Bowl Odds: +2500
The Pittsburgh Steelers should bounce back in 2020.
Through 13 seasons under head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers haven't finished with a losing record. They underachieved at times with wideout Antonio Brown and running back Le'Veon Bell on the roster, but Pittsburgh typically competes for a playoff spot.
In 2019, the Steelers went 8-8 with quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges at the helm for all but two games. Had the NFL added a seventh playoff spot last season, Pittsburgh would've been the No. 7 seed.
With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returning from elbow surgery, the Steelers have a signal-caller who threw for a league-leading 5,129 yards two years ago.
"I was pleasantly surprised with that, how my arm has come back maybe even a little better than it was before," Roethlisberger said, per Ed Bouchette of The Athletic.. "... I have no dull aches, no pains. If I throw two or three days in a row real heavy, I'll just get some fatigue, but I think that's pretty normal."
Upon his return, Roethlisberger will have a full deck of offensive weapons, which include JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic noted rookie second-round wideout Chase Claypool is also routinely "making non-rookie-like plays after running non-rookie-like routes and making non-rookie-like catches."
With running back James Conner healthy, the Steelers could have a top-10 scoring offense to match their stifling defense that took a huge leap after they acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins last September.
San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl Odds: +750
The San Francisco 49ers have a rash of injuries atop the depth chart at wide receiver, including Deebo Samuel (broken foot), rookie first-rounder Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) and Jalen Hurd (torn ACL).
Samuel and Aiyuk should return to action at some point. In the meantime, when head coach Kyle Shanahan isn't drawing up plays for tight end George Kittle in the passing game, expect him to lean heavily on a ground attack that ranked second in yards in 2019.
The 49ers traded running back Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins and bumped up Raheem Mostert's salary. Shanahan will put him to good use along with Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, provided the latter can stay healthy after sitting out the last two seasons with knee injuries.
San Francisco should remain within the top 10 in points and yards allowed despite trading proven defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts and replacing him with rookie first-rounder Javon Kinlaw. Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead combined for 19 sacks last year and will lead the pass rush again in 2020.
The 49ers will go through a tough slate between Weeks 6 and 13 when they face nothing but teams that finished with winning records last year. They'll drop a few games in that stretch, but it won't hurt them too much.
Super Bowl Odds: +1200
The Seattle Seahawks defense should make some significant leaps this season after ranking 22nd and 26th in points and yards allowed, respectively, last year.
Jamal Adams will dramatically improve Seattle's defense because he can play so many roles. The All-Pro safety can supplement the pass rush or roam the second level to challenge tight ends and running backs who catch out of the backfield. While deep coverage isn't his forte, he's quick enough to close on passes over the top as well.
Adams has accumulated 25 pass breakups, two interceptions, 28 tackles for loss and 12 sacks across his three-year career. He's more than just a box safety.
Don't overlook the additions at defensive end, either, as Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa should improve that position group. Both logged a career high in sacks last year. Head coach Pete Carroll liked what he saw from rookie fifth-rounder Alton Robinson during a recent practice as well (h/t Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic.)
"We saw some really good stuff out of Alton Robinson," Carroll said. "He came out of it pretty good yesterday for his first time out. Shoot, he might have had four to five highlighted rushes during the day. He’s just getting started."
Seattle must focus on keeping quarterback Russell Wilson out of harm's way. The Seahawks offensive line could feature new primary starters from the center position going right.
Although Wilson has the ability to push the ball downfield to Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Greg Olsen, he may have to protect himself and hand the ball off frequently to the running backs. That isn't an exciting offensive game plan, but the Seahawks' rushing attack has been effective, ranking fourth in 2019.
Coming off a career-high 1,070 rushing yards, Carlos Hyde will form a solid tandem with Chris Carson on the ground.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl Odds: +1100
Quarterback Tom Brady dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason headlines, and rightfully so. The six-time Super Bowl champion will improve this club's offensive efficiency after Jameis Winston threw a league-high 30 interceptions in 2019.
Brady's supporting cast will allow him to stave off questions about his possible decline. The passing attack will feature Pro Bowl wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, along with tight ends Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. Tampa Bay also signed Leonard Fournette on Wednesday, adding a bruising ball-carrier to the backfield alongside Ronald Jones II.
Last year, the Bucs finished third in scoring. With the upgrade at quarterback and a high-quality group of pass-catching options, don't expect a drop-off.
On the other side of the ball, the young defense hasn't received enough praise. In 2019, cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean finished second (19) and tied for fourth (17) leaguewide, respectively, in pass breakups. Shaquil Barrett, the 2019 sack champion, lines up opposite edge-rushing veteran Jason Pierre-Paul, who's recorded 21 sacks since he joined the team two years ago.
Brady improves the Buccaneers' outlook, but so does the defensive unit. Tampa Bay should claim a playoff berth for the first time since 2007.
Super Bowl Odds: +3000
The Tennessee Titans won't follow the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars as the surprise AFC South team to reach the AFC Championship Game and fall off the map thereafter.
The Titans found their quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, who was the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year. He built a rapport with 2019 second-round wideout A.J. Brown, and their connection will continue to grow.
Derrick Henry, the 2019 rushing champion, will likely remain the Titans' offensive engine. Tannehill told NFL Network's Michael Giardi that the 6'3", 247-pound running back is "catching the ball more confidently," which could round out the attack.
The Titans have a solid defense that ranked 12th in points allowed last year, though the unit features two wild-card starters.
The club placed edge-rusher Vic Beasley Jr. on the non-football injury list after he failed a physical, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. The sixth-year veteran arrived at camp late, and the team fined him $500,000, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Defensive end Jeffery Simmons is going into his second season after he missed seven games last year while recovering from a torn ACL. Now healthy, the 2019 first-rounder can fill a void on the front line after the Titans traded five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos in March.
The Titans roster won't appeal to those looking for stars, but they're solid at most positions in a winnable division.
Washington Football Team
Super Bowl Odds: +15000
In August, head coach Ron Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in a lymph node. Although he plans to stay with the Washington Football Team, the club tabbed defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio as the interim skipper in case Rivera has to step away, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Del Rio has head coaching experience, but he's 93-94 with only four winning seasons in 12 years in that role.
Washington has to develop quarterback Dwayne Haskins into a solid starter in his second campaign without a top-notch skill player other than wideout Terry McLaurin, who's played only one season.
After the team cut Adrian Peterson on Friday, rookie third-rounder Antonio Gibson is set to lead the running game. According to Kyle Stackpole of the team's website, the Memphis product has received a notable number of first-team reps. Formerly a collegiate wide receiver, he's transitioning to tailback in the pros.
Washington's defense must keep the games close. The team has a solid pass-rushing group featuring rookie first-rounder Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen. However, this unit can't be expected to hold its opponents to fewer than 21 points every week, especially if the offense struggles.