Another season of the NFL has come to an end and man did we get an awesome Super Bowl! Everything from big plays, better than usual commercials (I see you Google…making us feel sad), to well, whatever this was. Either way it was a great way to end the 2019 season. But it’s never too early to look ahead and talk who will be playing in Tampa Bay a year from now. Here’s my Top 5 teams I think have the best shot at winning it all in 2020.
5. Dallas Cowboys
You would think that a team that finished 8-8, missed the playoffs and fired their head coach would have no chance at a title the following season. Well call me crazy (which I may very well be), but I think the Cowboys have a case as to why they can make a run for the Lombardi. Firing Jason Garrett and bringing in Mike McCarthy was probably one of the best moves the Cowboys could have made. In his 13 seasons as head coach, McCarthy had a 125-77-2 overall record, won 6 NFC North titles, and won a Super Bowl in 2010. He brings a track record of success with him to Dallas as compared to a .500 coach that was Garrett.
The Cowboys have some pretty big names who are free agents this offseason. Wide receiver Amari Cooper is likely to command $20 million a year (yikes) and quarterback Dak Prescott will cost around $33 million a year, although reports suggest Prescott is looking to be paid $40 million a year (barf). But if Jerry Jones can dig DEEP into his pocket books, he will bring back an offense that was 1st in the league for total offense (431.5 yards per game), 2nd in passing (296.9 yards per game), and 5th in rushing (134.6 yards per game). On the defensive side of the ball they have a strong linebacker core with Jaylon Smith (142 tackles) and Leighton Vander Esch (72 tackles). However the Cowboys might lose stud pass rusher Robert Quinn in free agency who racked up 11.5 sacks for Dallas in 2019. All I’m saying is the Cowboys have the players on both sides of the ball to make a run and Vegas gives them 20/1 odds next season. It really may not be that crazy.
4. Seattle Seahawks
All the attention in the NFC West was focused on the San Francisco 49’ers with them being the 1st seed in the NFC and making it to the Super Bowl, but all that glory could have easily gone to the Seahawks in 2019. Hell they came up 1 yard short of winning the NFC West and clinching the 1st seed in Week 17. But make no mistake about it, the Seahawks are locked and loaded to make a run in 2020.
Before Lamar Jackson took over the MVP race, many experts had Russell Wilson as the favorite to win the league honors. Wilson had a phenomenal 2019 season throwing for 4110 yards, 31 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. Pair that with a running game that was 4th in the league for rushing (137.5 yards per game) led by Chris Carson (1230 yards & 7 touchdowns). And on top of that you have a strong receiver core with veteran Tyler Lockett (1057 yards & 8 touchdowns) and budding star DK Metcalf (900 yards & 7 touchdowns), you have a strong offense going into 2020.
The defense is the biggest area of concern for Seattle. They ranked 26th in total defense allowing nearly 381 yards a game. That’s not going to cut it. The good news is that they will have a lot of money to spend this offseason, around $59.7 million to be in fact. They also have locked in linebackers Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright who combined for 291 total tackles. The main focus for Seattle will be to improve the defense. If they can add playmakers to the defense and the offense remains steady, watch out.
3. San Francisco 49’ers
Yikes. Leading 20-10 in the 2nd half of the Super Bowl to give up 21 unanswered is….well not great. Many 49’ers fans have probably destroyed all electronic devices and are most likely in hiding for the next few days. But don’t get too down 49’ers fans, there are many reasons to believe the 49’ers can make it to Tampa Bay.
The big reason the 49’ers even got to Miami was because of their defense. The 49’ers ranked 2nd in total defense (281 yards allowed per game) and 1st in pass defense (169.2 yards per game). The defensive line is one of the best in the NFL with players like DeForest Buckner (25 years old), Arik Armstead (26 years old) and Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa (22 years old). The linebacker core is made up of Fred Warner (23 years old) and Dre Greenlaw (22 years old) who combined for 205 tackles. And a secondary led by veteran Richard Sherman who recorded 61 tackles and 3 interceptions, this defense is young, talented, and not going anywhere anytime soon.
The offense isn’t that far behind as they were 4th in the league for total offense (381.1 yards per game) and 2nd in rushing (144.1 yards per game). In Jimmy Garoppolo’s first full season at quarterback, he threw for 3978 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The running game was a 3 man committee of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Matt Breida. George Kittle is one of if not the best tight ends in the NFL with 85 receptions and 1053 yards in 2019. Deebo Samuel was one of the biggest steals of the 2019 Draft with 57 receptions, 802 yards and 6 total touchdowns. The road back to the Super Bowl won’t be easy, but San Francisco is going to be in the championship conversation in 2020. They are just too talented.
2. Baltimore Ravens
Not going to lie, I wasn’t very high on the Ravens going into 2019. I didn’t even have them as a playoff team. Well slap me across the face and call me an idiot cause WOW did the Ravens prove me wrong. Lamar Jackson and the offense put on a show in 2019 and was the talk of the league this year. So much so Jackson took home MVP honors and rightfully so. 3127 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 1206 RUSHING yards, 7 rushing touchdowns. Jackson was a BEAST in 2019 and has emerged as a superstar in the NFL. But Jackson isn’t the only reason why the Ravens will be contenders in 2020.
While we were all focused on Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram had a solid year running the ball going over 1018 yards and 10 touchdowns along with adding 5 receiving touchdowns to his total. If you like tight ends the Ravens are your team. Mark Andrews (852 yards & 10 touchdowns), Nick Boyle (321 yards & 2 touchdowns) and Hayden Hurst (349 yards & 2 touchdowns) are a triple threat at that position. Oh and you can’t forget receivers like Marquise Brown (584 yards & 7 touchdowns) and Willie Snead (339 yards & 5 touchdowns). The offense returns pretty much, well everyone and that’s scary for all 31 other teams.
The Ravens also will have a strong defense for 2020. The Ravens were 4th in total defense (300.6 yards allowed per game) and 5th in rushing defense (93.4 yards allowed per game). The biggest strength of the Ravens defense comes in their secondary with Marlon Humphrey (65 tackles & 3 INT’s), Earl Thomas (49 tackles & 2 INT’s) and mid season acquisition Marcus Peters (39 tackles & 3 INT’s). Cornerback Jimmy Smith is a free agent but bring him back and you got one of the most feared secondary’s in the NFL. The biggest hurdle for the Ravens is well… actually winning in the postseason. Lamar Jackson is still searching for his 1st career playoff win. But with the way this team continues to improve, don’t expect Jackson to be winless in the playoffs for much longer.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
If you want to be the champs, you have to beat the champs. It kind of goes without saying that the Chiefs are the obvious favorites to win it all again in 2020. Vegas has them in a three way tie with the Ravens and 49’ers to win it all next season with 7/1 odds. Patrick Mahomes at just 24 years old already was won MVP and a Super Bowl. To say the sky is the limit for the Chiefs is insulting to the sky itself.
You know all the weapons around Mahomes with Tyreek Hill (860 yards & 7 touchdowns), Travis Kelce (1229 yards & 5 touchdowns), Sammy Watkins (673 yards & 3 touchdowns), Mecole Hardman (538 yards & 6 touchdowns) you get the picture. The Chiefs made it a point to bolster the defense in 2019 and it showed. Whether it was Tyraan Mathieu (75 tackles & 4 interceptions) or Frank Clark (37 tackles and 8 sacks) paired with guys like Chris Jones (36 tackles and 9 sacks) and rookie Juan Thornhill (57 tackles and 3 INT’s) they got the job done this year.
The scariest thing about Kansas City is that they aren’t losing anybody this offseason. The “biggest” free agents for the Chiefs are cornerback Bashaud Breeland and running back LeSean McCoy. The Chiefs can live to let guys like that walk in free agency. But with the core of both of the offense and defense returning for 2020, we may be looking at the potential start of a new dynasty in the new decade.