4 NFL teams who could surprise in 2020
The Lions are a long shot, but there’s some reason to believe. Detroit was actually competitive last year before Matthew Stafford missed the final eight games of the season. With Stafford now healthy, he has some weapons to work with in receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., tight end T.J. Hockenson and running backs D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson.
Additionally, the NFC North isn’t great. Most believe the Green Bay Packers will regress, the Minnesota Vikings are relying heavily on rookies and the Chicago Bears are watching Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles battle to start at quarterback.
This is basically every year, right? We all think Cleveland has some juice only to be proved wrong. However, the Browns are loaded with talent. Does that mean it all comes together in 2020? Maybe or maybe not, but there’s hope. Cleveland needs quarterback Baker Mayfield and first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski to work well, because the weapons are fantastic.
Few teams can match Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry on the outside, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the backfield, and Austin Hooper and David Njoku at tight end. Factor in an improved offensive line and a decent defense, and the Browns are intriguing.
This comes down to a pair of factors.
1) Can Tua Tagovailoa get under center and start making plays to begin the year? If we’re going to see Ryan Fitzpatrick for most or all of the season, Miami isn’t contending. Tagovailoa needs to come in and set the tempo, because after a good draft and great free agency, the roster has upside.
2) The AFC East being as wide open as we believe it to be. The New England Patriots signed Cam Newton but he’s surrounded by his own questions and a weak supporting cast. The Buffalo Bills are very skilled, but Josh Allen is a huge concern. The New York Jets are the Jets.
Watch out for the Cardinals. While the other three teams on this list are admittedly fighting an uphill battle, Arizona has a real shot to get into the playoffs and be a problem. The downside is the Cardinals are in the NFL’s best division, with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers being major problems.
However, the Cards are loaded with DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, Kenyan Drake, Christian Kirk and Kyler Murray dotting their offensive landscape. Defensively, Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones are All-Pro players, while rookie first-rounder Isaiah Simmons has absurd potential.