The NFL 2020 season is still down the road, but after free agent frenzy and the NFL Draft, some teams are looking to prove themselves in the upcoming year. It is not in question that each team is looking to prove themselves next year (aside from one; cough cough, Jacksonville), but some have more reason and passion than others. These are those teams!
The Dolphins tanked for Tua I guess. But overall not only did they get their quarterback of the future, but they added quite a few pieces to a very blank squad from last year. The additions of running backs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida will finally help their run game. Their offensive line got a boost as well with Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras, as well as draft picks Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt. The defense also spiked with the additions of Byron Jones and Kyle Van Noy. They have to have a better record though in order for them to prove themselves as contenders.
10.) Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are moving to a new area and need something going into this season. Gruden and Mayock have to be putting their faith in their draft picks chosen to lead them to the promise land. This team actually did pretty well in 2019 considering most of their team is made up of rookies and young guys. Derek Carr has to be a little nervous though as I’d argue his job may be on the line if they don’t succeed this year. Who knows? Marcus Mariota could replace him. You never know. Just look at Ryan Tannehill man.
9.) Tennessee Titans
The Titans made a huge splash in the puddles of many teams this year which took all of us as fans by surprise. Highlights from this past year included a win over the New England Patriots in the Wild Card and another win over the dominant Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. The Titans now have to prove it wasn’t a fluke. You paid Tannehill and franchised Derrick Henry. You better hope this team does well, or in my mind Derrick Henry is gone.
8.) Arizona Cardinals
While their record may not have been the best, I thought the Cardinals had a great showing in their first stage of their rebuild. Kyler Murray (despite being sacked a lot last year) proved to be a very capable quarterback for Arizona. Now they have some decent moves in the offseason and draft to compel them to a great record. DeAndre Hopkins will be Kyler Murray’s best friend as the elite receiver makes his way to Arizona. They also acquired Jordan Phillips and Devon Kennard, as well as Isaiah Simmons and Josh Jones in the draft. They are a dark horse team with something to prove this upcoming season.
7.) Buffalo Bills
The Bills played very well last season even making it to the wild card. They did fall to the Houston Texans, but now they have a chance to finally win their division. With Tom Brady gone from the Patriots, the Bills will look to grab the AFC East by the horns and ride the wave of momentum. With their new receiver in Stefon Diggs, who could argue with that. The Bills have a chance to prove they are the real deal in 2020.
6.) Green Bay Packers
Packers fans were shocked to discover the drafting of quarterback Jordan Love and to make matters worse, the Packers didn’t draft a single wide receiver to compliment Davante Adams. If I was Aaron Rodgers, I’d sit out the season, but he probably won’t do that (he should). The Packers now go into battle in 2020 with essentially the same setup that got them a record of 13-3, but all the pressure will now once again be on Aaron Rodgers. Can he avenge the crapshoot that was the NFC Championship game last year?
5.) Dallas Cowboys
One of the biggest decisions of this offseason has been the questioning of Dak Prescott’s contract. The Cowboys haven’t been able to finalize a contract with him, and they just signed Andy Dalton as a backup for insurance purposes. They also got CeeDee Lamb as another weapon for Prescott to use. This year will be the year for the Cowboys because if they flop, Prescott will be gone because the Cowboys will take it out on him like they’ve been doing. He will sign with another team and maybe Dalton will take over. They have to prove themselves this year.
4.) New Orleans Saints
This could possibly be the Saints’ last chance at grabbing the brass ring. Drew Brees has signed a two year extension, but I don’t believe he will play up to his potential with his age getting up there. Therefore, the Saints have to prove themselves a contender for the Super Bowl this year. No more softening on the defense, no more flag issues. Just win the big one guys. This team honestly deserves it.
3.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have done quite a few things in the offseason to make them a huge contender. They got a nice veteran quarterback in Tom Brady, they have an elite receiver core in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, they got a nice running back duo of Ronald Jones and newly drafted Ke’Shawn Vaughn, a nice O-line with the addition of Tristan Wirfs, and an elite defense with the addition of Javon Kinlaw. All of these additions make me feel like the Bucs have a lot to prove after their interception filled 2019 season.
2.) New England Patriots
Coach Belichick got what he wanted. Tom Brady is no longer the quarterback of the New England Patriots. Now they have to prove they can win without him. With not getting any dependable receivers to help them out, the Patriots will roll with Jarrett Stidham and hope for the best. For me personally though, I hope they crash and burn.
1.) The Entire AFC North
This might be cheating a little bit, but honestly every single one of these teams has something to prove in a very competitive division for the 2020 NFL season. You can’t say that in any other division that every team in it has something to prove, but the AFC North does. Here’s why…
The Steelers almost made the playoffs last year with a horrible quarterback rotation. Now Big Ben is back and apparently healthier than he’s ever been. With the additions of Chase Claypool and Anthony McFarland Jr. coupled with the defense and Ben’s return, Steelers fans finally have the momentum to shut the haters up.
The Ravens started off hot and heavy, but crashed and burned against the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs. With the additions of draft picks Patrick Queen and J.K. Dobbins, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will not only try to retain their reign on the AFC North, but prove their loss against the Titans was a fluke.
The Browns tried to prove they deserved the glory last season, but it went in the opposite direction and they finished with sad results. Now with acquiring new members like tight end Austin Hooper, offensive tackle Jack Conklin, backup quarterback Case Keenum, and draft picks Jedrick Wills and Grant Delpit, the Browns will look to make another run and try not to end up humiliated once again.
The Bengals finished miserably last year, but are hoping their number one draft pick; quarterback Joe Burrow can make good things happen for Cincinnati. They also got A.J. Green back along with another receiver to boot in Tee Higgins from the draft. Signing some key pieces on defense also makes it interesting with cornerback Trae Waynes, defensive end D.J. Reader, and strong safety Vonn Bell. The Bengals will look to prove themselves a contender once again not just in the AFC North, but the entire NFL as well.