Football is finally back with the 2019-20 NFL season kicking off on Thursday.
Each week, we will be breaking down the top five teams in the league and top contenders for the 2020 Super Bowl in our official Power Rankings.
The first edition will draw heavily from last season's performances, offseason moves and how teams looked in the preseason.
1. New England Patriots (0-0)
2018-19 Record: 11-5
Week 1 Opponent: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0)
The Patriots said goodbye to some top-level talent after the conclusion of another Super Bowl-winning season and replaced them with players that can fill the void without as big of a cap hit. With defensive end Trey Flowers leaving to sign with Detroit, New England brought in veteran end Michael Bennett to try and mimic some of the explosive pass rusher's production. Left tackle Trent Brown signed a mega contract with the Raiders, leaving Isaiah Wynn, who missed last season with a torn achilles, with big shoes to fill on Tom Brady’s blindside.
We knew the Patriots would be without the newly retired Rob Gronkowski, but now they may have lost center David Andrews as well. Andrews could miss the entire 2019 season with a blood clot in his lungs, which forced the Patriots to quickly trade for center Russell Bodine from Buffalo last week. The new-look offensive line will force a 42-year-old Brady to be at his best in Week 1, but he'll thankfully have newly reinstated receiver Josh Gordon back.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
2018-19 Record: 12-4
Week 1 Opponent: at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
The Chiefs offense could single-handedly propel Kansas City back into Super Bowl contention this season. Reigning league MVP Pat Mahomes returns behind center for head coach Andy Reid's offense, with familiar faces in tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill lining up. The frightening offense added another talented playmaker this past week, with running back LeSean McCoy reuniting with Reid after being cut by the Bills. McCoy joins a backfield with Damien Williams, who proved himself last season as a triple threat option in the trenches, running off tackle or branching out on swing routes.
3. New Orleans Saints (0-0)
2018-19 Record: 13-3
Week 1 Opponent: vs. Houston Texans (0-0)
It's no secret that the Saints success over the past decade has fallen directly on the performance of quarterback Drew Brees. While this still is mostly true, New Orleans has formed a foundation around their quarterback over the past few seasons to carry some of the load. The rise of running back Alvin Kamara and the jump to stardom for receiver Michael Thomas has turned the Saints offense into a three-headed monster and helped them stay a contender even as their quarterback sits at 40-years old. The Saints also have offensive threat Taysom Hill, who head coach Sean Payton says will continue to be implemented into the offense in unique and effective ways.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)
2018-19 Record: 9-7
Week 1 Opponent: vs. Washington Redskins (0-0)
Philadelphia is officially in the post-Nick Foles era, which should be a positive for quarterback Carson Wentz's confidence. While injuries continue to plague the North Dakota State product, Wentz is now in full command of the Eagles offense and says he's made the lifestyle choices necessary to improve his health for a 16-game regular season. Philadelphia added to Wentz’s bag of toys this offseason by signing wide receiver DeSean Jackson and trading for running back Jordan Howard from Chicago.
While the exits of Chris Long and Michael Bennett left holes in the defense, the signing of defensive tackle Malik Jackson should keep the Eagles stable in the trenches.
5. Los Angeles Rams (0-0)
2018-19 Record: 13-3
Week 1 Opponent: at Carolina Panthers (0-0)
Last season's NFC Champions didn't make a lot of noise this offseason compared to the headlines they created in the previous summer, but still opened and closed the door on some of the biggest stars on the defensive side of the ball.
The Rams said goodbye to defensive force Ndamukong Suh, but re-signed defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and brought in veteran safety Eric Weddle to solidify and already stacked secondary.
The buzz heading into Week 1 for head coach Sean McVay's team is that his elite offense that ran rampant in the NFC last year is back to full health. Slot receiver Cooper Kupp, who tore his ACL last November, should be back in the mix of quarterback Jared Goff's arsenal in Week 1.
Running back Todd Gurley will be back at full health, as his production was stifled for most of last season because of a nagging knee injury. McVay has hinted at a potential three running back rotation to start the season with Gurley, Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson Jr.
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