Save your angry tweets. Log out of Facebook messenger. Find your pressure points and do a couple “woosahs.”
Let’s be blunt: Your favorite NFL team probably sucks.
As much as the idea of “any given Sunday” or “the one time” is cute, we can’t fool ourselves into believing that all 32 NFL teams have the same odds to win the Super Bowl as the teams at the top. Sorry, it’s simply not the case.
Sure, some of the NFL is getting hot and healthy at the right time — but if you stink for 13 weeks out of the 17-week season, then it really won’t matter much. Even with an expanded playoff picture in 2020, teams that have the opportunity to sneak in
So, without further ado, a message to the fans of these 10 NFL teams: your team might be good one day, but that one day definitely isn’t coming in 2020.
MORE NFL PREDICTIONS:
SN’s complete 2020 standings projections & playoff picks
New York Jets
2019 record: 7-9
Key additions: T Mekhi Becton (drafted), WR Breshad Perriman (signed)
Key subtractions: LB CJ Mosley (opted out), S Jamal Adams (traded)
Under the leadership of GM Joe Douglas, the Jets are, seemingly, maybe, possibly, quite likely heading in the right direction. Douglas did a bit to reinforce a horrendous offensive line this offseason and protect Sam Darnold, hoping to keep his promise to Darnold’s parents this offseason. The Jets drafted mountainous offensive lineman Mekhi Becton with the No. 12 overall pick, signed center Connor McGovern and tackle George Fant.
But there’s still a big question of depth all around the team, and the Jets are relying on hope of health and potential of second- and third-string players over actual, proven talent, which is a recipe for disaster in today’s league. Much like the last two seasons, the Jets’ biggest issue won’t be quarterback: it’ll be everything around him.
Could the Jets improve on a 7-9 season? Maybe. Are they legitimate Super Bowl contenders? Definitely not.
2019 record: 2-14
Key additions: QB Joe Burrow (drafted), CB Trae Waynes (signed, but injured), OT Jonah Williams (return from injury)
Key subtractions: QB Andy Dalton (released), TE Tyler Eifert
The Bengals could be much improved from a horrendous 2019 season that saw them end up with the No. 1 overall pick, winning the #BlowForJoe sweepstakes and keeping Ohio-born Joe Burrow in the the Buckeye State.
Operating term here: could. The Bengals could be much improved, but the division is still tough to navigate, and Cincinnati’s main focus in 2020 should be making sure Burrow has everything he needs to develop properly in the coming years as the Bengals’ promised prince. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Burrow will the decrepit franchise out of the dirt and breathe live into the franchise, but Super Bowl hopes are way, way down the road for Burrow, Zac Taylor et al. The team just isn’t that talented on either side of the ball.
2019 record: 3-12-1
Key additions: CB Jeff Okudah (drafted), OL Jonah Jackson (signed)
Key subtractions: OL Graham Glasgow (free agent), CB Darius Slay (traded),
A lot of what the Lions are going to be depends, as usual, on who Matthew Stafford is in 2020. Last season, he was on an MVP-level before getting hurt, and they were potentially in the hunt for an NFC wild-card spot. But then Stafford got hurt and the Lions’ season completely fell apart.
Detroit had a solid draft, opening it up with cornerback Jeff Okudah, adding to a defense that needed some help in the secondary and also giving Stafford a weapon out of the backfield in De’Andre Swift. While the team feels like it’s moving in the right direction, in Year 3 for Matt Patricia, there’s very little wiggle room for overt failure and any kind of regression could mean the unemployment line come January.
2019 record: 6-10
Key additions: Uh… TE Tyler Eifert?
Key subtractions: DE Yannick Ngakoue (traded), DE Calais Campbell (traded), RB Leonard Fournette (released)
Players don’t tank, but organizations do. The Jaguars are tanking — or “building towards the future” in GM-speak — just a few years since nearly unseating the Patriots in the AFC championship game.
Since then, they’ve traded or released: Calais Campbell, Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Fournette. (Sorry, Blake Bortles doesn’t make that list.) John DeFilippo is out as Jags’ OC and Jay Gruden is in, still under the leadership of head coach Doug Marrone. It’s not going to be fix or much better this offseason.
The Jags got surprisingly good production from Washington State product and mustached madman Gardner Minshew last season, but for some reason there’s a tentativeness to naming him franchise starter. With the way the Jaguars approached free agency this year and the trade market in the last few years, it’s pretty obvious that they are tanki- I mean, building towards the future.
2019 record: 5-11
Key additions: QB Teddy Bridgewater (signed), WR Robby Anderson (signed)
Key subtractions: QB Cam Newton (released), CB James Bradberry (free agent), LB Luke Kuechly (retired)
It’s the first year under the Rule of Matt Rhule with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater finally getting an opportunity as a team’s full-time starting quarterback once again, years after suffering a gruesome leg injury.
There are definitely some good vibes in North Carolina, but sorry, Panthers fans, this is going to be more of the Perry Fewell-led eight-game losing streak to end the season more than a renaissance of Panthers football.
Why? Because until we see what Rhule can put together, no one really knows what Carolina is going to be, and we won’t find that out in 2020.
For years, Carolina’s offensive identity was “pound the rock, play great defense,” and while the defense part is still part of the equation, maybe Carolina can take to the air a bit more this season. For years, the Panthers defaulted to the run over the pass, with their passing offense never really rising above middle of the pack during the Rivera/Newton era.
Carolina’s offense added Robby Anderson to the fold, a good deep-threat receiver who can take the top off a defense and also brought in Joe Brady, who was the architect behind LSU’s attacking natty-title winning offense. Their skill position group is still decent, but is it enough to win a Super Bowl? With a rookie head coach? And a roster in flux? Nah.
Washington Football Team
2019 record: 3-13
Key additions: DE Chase Young (drafted), QB Alex Smith (return from injury)
Key subtractions: RB Derrius Guice (released), OT Trent Williams (traded), Josh Norman (free agent)
There is a lot riding on the line for Dwayne Haskins in 2020, but the rest of the organization sees the writing on the wall: Super Bowl aspirations are years away, with or without Haskins.
Why? Just look at the nonsense Ron Rivera has to navigate in his first year with WFT: rampant sexual harassment allegations against the organization, a franchise name change that came out nowhere and just the general circus of having Daniel Snyder as your owner.
These things have a way of bleeding onto the field, though Riverboat Ron will do his best — and probably earn a degree of success — to keep it them separate. Culture and stability aren’t built in an offseason, and neither are championship teams. While Rivera has a reputation of building cultures and discipline, he’s going to have to build a winning roster to get there first.
With Ryan Kerrigan, Chase Young and Montez Sweat rotational bookends the Washington defensive line, a new (and presumably more stable) offense for Dwayne Haskins to operate in, Washington will almost certainly be more competitive. That will result in a few more victories, moral or tangible, but no way does it get them near a Super Bowl.
New York Giants
2019 record: 4-12
Key additions: CB James Bradberry (signed); LT Andrew Thomas (drafted);
Key subtractions: CB DeAndre Baker (commissioner’s exempt list); T Nate Solder (opted out)
First-year head coach Joe Judge has come under a bit of unfair fire his first few months on the job, with critics vocal about his Bill Belichick-lite demeanor and strange practice procedures. That stuff is all good for WFAN talk show fodder, but we’ll see how it translates to the field.
Offensively, the Giants have just enough: quarterback Daniel Jones outplayed rookie expectations even with turnover problems, the offensive line was decent if not inconsistent and the team is entering the 2020 season with a generally healthy wide receiver corps, an area they had issues with last year.
If the Giants are going to go anywhere this year, they have to take a big step defensively: last year, they were one of the league’s worst scoring defenses, eventually resulting in the ousting of DC Jerome Bettcher. With James Bradberry signing into a CB spot and Blake Martinez bringing veteran leadership to the linebacking corps, the Giants seem like they’re heading for positive change.
Will that change result in a Lombardi Trophy? Definitely not. The Giants will outplay some expectations this year, but even if everything goes according to plan, they’re still the third-best team in their division and will be on the outside looking in come playoff season.
2019 record: 5-11
Key additions: QB Tua Tagovailoa (drafted); CB Byron Jones (signed); RB Jordan Howard (signed)
Key subtractions: CB Aqib Talid (free agent)
The Dolphins have their (hopeful) QB of the future in Tua Tagovailoa, and made several impressive signings this offseason to help reinforce their defense, including Byron Jones and Kyle Van Noy.
While the Dolphins will likely be a better squad overall, offensively they still have question marks as they try and ease Tagovailoa into the franchise driver’s seat. Outside of DaVante Parker, the Dolphins are pretty thin at wide receiver, something that’s sure to be alleviated in the coming years. Still there’s not much to say about the Dolphins other than: they’re getting there, but not quite there yet.
While their 2020 season showed them evolve from fish bait to pesky, and Brian Flores seems to have the team heading all in one direction. With no real detrimental departures this offseason, Flores will have another year to mold the team before really challenging for playoff spots in coming years.
Los Angeles Chargers
2019 record: 5-11
Key additions: QB Justin Herbert (drafted), CB Chris Harris Jr. (signed)
Key subtractions: S Derwin James (injured), RB Melvin Gordon (free agent)
Justin Herbert and the Chargers seemed destined for one another in the 2020 draft, but a Super Bowl still isn’t going to show up in the Magic 8-ball this year.
This season is very much a “see what Herbert can do” year, and he may not even win the job out of camp, as veteran journeyman QB Tyrod Taylor is set to start the season under center. Herbert has had no reps with the first-team offense during camp, which is either concerning or going to plan.
The Chargers still have to look up at the defending champion Chiefs and the up-and-up Broncos. The Raiders are always panning out to be better than the Chargers this year, too.
Losing Derwin James for the year is a tremendous blow to the Chargers’ defensive unit, which features one of the best secondaries in all of football. While the defense as a whole is still likely to play well, it’s hard to see this year going the Chargers’ way in terms of a Super Bowl as they figure out the quarterback situation.
2019 record: 8-8
Key additions: QB Nick Foles (trade)
Key subtractions: G Kyle Long (retired), S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (free agent), WR Tyler Gabriel (free agent)
When your quarterback room is Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles and Tyler Bray, your team might be hanging on a hope and a prayer.
The box-score take says that Trubisky actually isn’t that bad, but “isn’t that bad” doesn’t work when the level of play expected from quarterbacks in a pass-happy league is through the roof. Does every team need a Patrick Mahomes to win? Not at all. But you also need a quarterback who is able to elevate others and make plays when he needs to. Trubisky hasn’t exactly done either of those things in his career to this point.
The wild card in the entire Bears’ situation is Foles. Will Chicago get the backup-turned-starter extraordinaire who won Super Bowl 52 with the Eagles, or the barely replacement-level QB that Foles has been, well, everywhere else but Philly? The worst possible thing that can happen to Chicago is flip-flopping both QBs throughout the year and never finding continuity at the position, which is something that could absolutely happen.
The Bears’ defense is still legitimate enough to keep scoring low, but without having a solidified quarterback situation, it’s hard to see them making any kind of run at another division title, let alone a Lombardi Trophy.