Updated: Jan 14, 2022
March 11, 2021
Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for winning Super Bowl LV. Now that this game is in the books, we want to take a look at how the teams stack up for next season. Who are the real contenders?
Who will be drafting back at the top next year? The new league year and free agency officially start on March 17, but teams have already begun moving players and a number of high profile QBs have demanded trades.
Here’s how we see the teams stacking up heading into next season:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
We’ve seen a few power rankings that have the Chiefs at the top and just don’t understand it. Tom Brady, and his 2-0 record against Mahomes in the post-season, quarterbacks the best team in football until we see otherwise.
2. Kansas City Chiefs.
Mahomes and the Chiefs are still dominant in their own right. Compiling a 26-6 regular season record over the last two seasons is nothing to think little of. As long as he can stay healthy, Mahomes will be right there at the top competing for his next ring.
3. Green Bay Packers.
Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers led his team to the NFC Championship game before suffering defeat to Brady and Bucs. Getting that far has never been the Packers’ issue.
The biggest question heading into next season is how the Packers get over that hump.
4. Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo fell one win short of making their first Super Bowl Appearance since 1993. They will have some salary cap decisions to make this offseason, but a bulk of their young core, including rising star QB Josh Allen, will be back to make another run.
5. Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams made another blockbuster move, sending out Goff and more first round picks to acquire QB Matthew Stafford. The Rams are clearly in win now mode and it will be interesting to see what Stafford has left and what this team is capable of once McVay has his guy at QB.
6. Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens present a tricky situation. There are many who love Lamar Jackson, but the Ravens will have to address offensive skill positions to improve from the league’s last ranked passing attack.
7. Seattle Seahawks.
Since drafting Russell Wilson, the Seahawks have not signed a single offensive lineman to a second contract. For whatever reason that may be, Seattle will need to focus on getting Russ more protection if they have any hopes of squashing his request to be traded.
8. Indianapolis Colts.
Frank Reich and Carson Wentz are reunited in what looks like a great trade for the Colts. Last season, under Phillip Rivers, this team reached the playoffs. In such a weak division, it would be hard to expect any less from them.
9. San Francisco 49ers.
The biggest thing holding the 49ers back last season was injuries. Since joining the team, Jimmy Garoppolo is 22-8 as the starting quarterback. If San Francisco can keep Garoppolo healthy, we like Shanahan to get this team back near the top.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers.
For now, it seems like Ben Roethlisberger will spend another year as the Steelers QB. While some speculate that this could keep a ceiling on their potential, it’s hard to imagine how much worse off they would be without him. One thing is for certain, Pittsburgh needs to start looking for Ben’s successor.
11. Tennessee Titans.
Vrabel has impressed during his short tenure as an NFL head coach. Tannehill has proven he can win football games as well. If this team can sure up the defensive side of the ball, Tennessee should be in the mix to make a playoff run that lasts more than one game.
12. Cleveland Browns.
It is hard to believe that the Browns rank this high, but it’s true and some sites will even rank them higher. For all of Baker Mayfield’s shortcomings, he plays well with a lead and his teammates seem to want to play for him. If the Browns can improve on defense, they will see themselves back into the playoffs. Odell has to go.
13. Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins were better than most expected in 2020. They have already named Tua as their starting quarterback in 2021, but questions remain whether he is the right guy. It will hard to know what management truly thinks until we see what happens with Deshaun Watson in Houston.
14. New Orleans Saints.
Drew Brees is expected to retire after 15 seasons with the Saints. Now, New Orleans must decide if they should bring back Winston or start a guy (T. Hill) who they are paying over $16 million next season. The Saints are not in a great cap situation, so it will be interesting to see how they handle this offseason.
15. Los Angeles Chargers.
Justin Herbert, the Offensive Rookie of the Year, has solidified himself as the Chargers’ quarterback. Understanding the value of winning behind a quarterback on his rookie deal, the Chargers wasted no time bringing in a new head coach, Brandon Staley. Notably, Hunter Henry is a free agent and we are sure he will be a priority.
16. Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr was not the problem, it was the defense. The Raiders have already replaced their defensive coordinator with Gus Bradley. Now, they need to spend their offseason accumulating some defensive talent. Vegas will need it if they hope to slow down Mahomes and Herbert next season.
17. Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals started the season strong, but went 3-6 on the back end. Part of their struggles can be attributed to Kyler Murray’s health. Sure they signed J.J. Watt but that isn’t worth a bump up in the rankings. If Arizona fails to make the playoffs again, Kingsbury may be on the hot seat.
18. Minnesota Vikings.
Minnesota is another team that seems to have their quarterback in place. Their struggles come on the defensive side of the ball and their inability to get to opposing quarterbacks. The return of Danielle Hunter will be huge for them, but they still need more help on the pass rush.
19. Chicago Bears.
After just missing the playoffs again, Matt Nagy will be given another chance to find his guy at quarterback. What the Bears decide to do at that position will be a big question this offseason, with a lot of big name quarterbacks seemingly available.
20. Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons have their offensive core intact, but they could be part of the problem. They are more than $40 million over the salary cap for next season and it may be time to unload a key piece to save the team. The Falcons will need to get creative this offseason if they want to keep Julio Jones in town.
21. Dallas Cowboys.
There is always drama in Jerry World. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are yet to agree to a deal. Only Jerry knows what the team plans to do at quarterback, but he can’t be excited about the $37+ million it will cost to tag Prescott again. Somehow, the Cowboys are still the clear favorites in their division.
22. New York Giants.
Joe Judge was well received in his first year as the Giants head coach and he will be given another chance to develop young quarterback Daniel Jones. GM David Gettleman will have some cap space to work with this offseason as he looks to bring in more “playmakers”. The top of the division is not too far ahead.
23. New England Patriots.
One year into the split with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick appears to be losing the divorce. That doesn’t mean he and the Patriots will go down without a fight. New England needs to find their next quarterback ASAP.
24. Washington Football Team.
Washington are another team with no clear quarterback heading into next season. After trying to trade for Stafford, it’s clear that Rivera would not mind another vet. If Washington can address this glaring hole, this team will be in the hunt to repeat as division champions.
25. Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles fired Doug Pederson and traded away Carson Wentz for a second round pick and a paper clip, or something. Now they are left with Jalen Hurts, who many believe is not a franchise quarterback. If we were sold on him, the Eagles would be ranked higher.
26. Carolina Panthers.
There’s a common theme among these teams near the bottom: quarterback issues. Nobody knows what the Panthers plan to do at QB next season, but Bridgewater seems out the door. The question remains whether they are able to find an upgrade.
27. Cincinnati Bengals.
Before getting injured, Joe Burrow looked like the real deal at quarterback in his rookie season. That gives the Bengals a leg up on the other bottom dwelling teams. However, if they can’t find more protection for their franchise quarterback, things will not get any better in Cincinnati.
28. Denver Broncos.
The Broncos tried and failed to acquire Matt Stafford. It looks like Drew Lock’s job at quarterback for now, but with all the big names up for grabs, it will be interesting to see what the Broncos decide to do. The Broncos are also not doing great with the reduced salary cap, and could be forced to let Von Miller walk.
29. Detroit Lions.
New head coach Dan Campbell is excited to be there, that’s for sure. The question remains whether he can pass that excitement off onto his team. Having just traded away their franchise quarterback with no clear replacement, the Lions hopes for next season are fading quickly.
30. Houston Texans.
Apparently refusing to take trades for disgruntled Deshaun Watson, teams are allegedly leaving voicemails with trade offers for the Texans ownership. J.J. Watt was let go for nothing. There are doubts surrounding new head coach David Culley. The Texans need to figure something out quickly if they plan to win football games moving forward.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jacksonville got their coach in Urban Meyer and potentially have a star quarterback in Trevor Lawrence coming in the draft. Both Meyer and Lawrence have enjoyed success wherever they’ve been. That’s enough for us to bump them up a spot.
32. New York Jets.
Robert Salah seems like a good hire for now, as he is well liked among the defensive stars that he has worked with. Time will tell, however, if the Jets made the right decision bringing in a defensive mind to help develop young quarterback Sam Darnold. There are reports that Watson wanted the Texans to hire Salah. If his hiring somehow helps the Jets land the QB, watch them fly up our rankings.