Despite a few COVID-19 outbreaks causing havoc on the schedule, the NFL’s 2020 season has mostly been a success so far. The presentation may look a little different than in years past, but the on-field action has largely remained untouched, giving football fans a welcome distraction from a challenging year.
We’re now past the halfway point of the schedule and are starting to get a clear picture of which teams will be capable of a run in the playoffs. Here are our complete power rankings across the NFL, with each team sorted from worst to best.
Updated: Nov. 10, 2020
32. New York Jets
The Jets have been a professional football team since 1959 but they’ve managed to make some significant history this season. The franchise had never started a season 0-9 — until 2020, that is. The hapless team was the only one in the NFL with a winless record after week nine and their point differential of -147 was the worst in the league by a margin of 61 points. The choices made by the front office and coaching staff all season long just makes it look like the Jets are tanking in order to get the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
Heading into week 10, the Jaguars were on a seven-game losing streak and looked completely aimless as a franchise. Reports that quarterback Gardner Minshew could be benched are only adding to the disarray, despite the fact that the second-year passer is arguably having a better statistical season than in 2019. Losses have come against bad teams like the Bengals, Lions and Texans (twice) and a look at the rest of their schedule shows it might be tough for the Jags to win another game this year.
30. Dallas Cowboys
It’s amazing how quickly the Cowboys went from looking like playoff favorites to one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. After the season-ending injury to Dak Prescott on Oct. 11, the team turned into a joke, struggling to do anything positive on either side of the ball. They’ve had more turnovers than any other team, giving the ball away 20 times in nine games, and their point differential of -86 is the second-worst in football. Not even perennial Pro Bowler Ezekiel Elliott has been able to make anything happen, averaging just 63.6 rushing yards per game through nine weeks for easily the worst season of his career.
29. New York Giants
The ineptitude of the entire NFC East as a division is the stuff of legend in 2020, with all four teams having a losing record and a negative point differential past the halfway point of the season. The Giants are contributing to that reputation by having the worst offense in the entire NFC. They are one of only two teams in the league that is averaging less than 300 yards of total offense per game and they’re one of just four teams averaging less than 20 points per game.
28. Washington Football Team
Next to the two teams that call New York home, no franchise in football has as weak an offense this season as Washington. The overall play of the Football Team has been as bland as its placeholder name, managing to muster barely over 300 total yards of offense per game at the halfway point in their schedule. They’ve had a revolving door of quarterbacks, with three different players starting under center this season. Of the trio, Kyle Allen was the only one to look halfway decent but a gruesome ankle injury ended his season as soon as it was taking off.
27. Houston Texans
A year after a 10-win season that saw them win the AFC South, the Texans look like one of the worst all-around teams in the NFL. To make matters worse, the franchise will have no first- or second-round picks in the 2021 draft, thanks to a trade with the Dolphins made by Bill O’Brien, who has since been fired. Deshaun Watson is doing everything he can and is actually having the best season of his career, in terms of passing figures, but he’s getting no help. Houston is one of only two teams in the NFL averaging less than 90 rushing yards per game and their defense is third-worst in the league, surrendering more than 416 yards per game.
26. Denver Broncos
The Broncos are another team that has had a revolving door at the quarterback position this season and it hasn’t helped them establish any kind of consistency on offense. Those passers have thrown a combined 12 interceptions to just 11 touchdowns and the team is -7 in turnover differential, which is worst in the AFC. It doesn’t help that their schedule has been vicious so far and six of their final eight games will be against teams that are above .500.
25. Detroit Lions
Another year and the story seems to be the same as always for the Lions. Despite having a passing offense that’s ranked in the top half of the league, the team remains mired in mediocrity and is bringing up the rear in the NFC North. Their ineffective defense is surrendering nearly 400 yards per game and has forced only seven turnovers through nine games, which is the worst among all teams that have played that many times. They are also one of only five teams allowing at least 30 points per game to opposing offenses.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Like the Lions, the Bengals are another team with an effective passing game that’s being undermined by other weaknesses. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow is throwing for more than 260 yards per game, which ranks Cincinnati’s passing offense in the top 10. However, their run game ranks in the bottom 10 and is adding barely over 100 yards each week to the total. The Bengals defense is also one of only seven in the NFL that’s allowing more than 400 yards per game and it got even worse as soon as they traded Carlos Dunlap at the deadline.
23. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles may have the easiest path to the playoffs of any team in the NFL this season. Despite having one of the worst offenses in the league and a -19 point differential at the halfway point, they are still the clear favorites to win the miserable NFC East. No quarterback has thrown more picks than Carson Wentz, who is having easily the worst season of his up-and-down career so far, boasting a 73.2 passer rating and completing just 58.4% of his throws.
22. Los Angeles Chargers
The 2020 Chargers have to be one of the best teams to start 2-6 in NFL history. All six of their losses in the first nine weeks came by seven points or fewer and all by a combined margin of 24 points, including two that came on the last play of the game. Quarterback Justin Herbert has firmly inserted himself into the conversation for rookie-of-the-year honors, ranking only behind Russell Wilson among active quarterbacks in passing yards per game. Their defense also ranks in the top half of the league, so this is a team that is far better than its record would indicate.
21. Carolina Panthers
Panthers fans were thrilled to see All-Pro rusher Christian McCaffrey rejoin the team after a minor injury but they’ve had a rough stretch of games recently. After winning three straight games, Carolina went on a four-game losing skid in which every game was decided by a single score, including a 33-31 heartbreaker against the Chiefs in week nine. Teddy Bridgewater has looked great under center, ranking in the top five for total passing yards and ranking behind only former teammate Drew Brees in completion percentage.
This is another team that’s playing better football than you’d know by looking at their record.
20. New England Patriots
Ever since Cam Newton’s COVID-19 diagnosis, the Patriots have looked like a shell of what they showed in the first few weeks of the season. Their passing game is virtually nonexistent and their games have been a slog to sit through. This team is averaging just 20.8 points per game at the halfway point, which is fifth worst in the league. It’s been a long time since New England finished in the bottom half of the AFC East standings but that looks like a real possibility in 2020.
19. San Francisco 49ers
Nobody expected the 49ers to be at the bottom of the NFC West a year after they were the best team in the entire NFC but 2020 has not been kind to them. Injuries have decimated this roster more than any other team, with a league-high 14 players on injured reserve accounting for more than $55 million in salary. All things considered, it’s remarkable that they’ve been as competitive as they have, ranking in the top half for total offense to go along with a top-10 defense.
18. Chicago Bears
When the Bears started 2020 at 5-1, many people were skeptical and that wariness proved to be accurate. Chicago would lose three straight following that excellent start, with their anemic offense being completely exposed by better teams. The team ranks in the bottom four for total offense and points per game. While you’d think the quarterback carousel of Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky would be to blame, it’s actually been the running game that has let the Bears down most. They are averaging a league-worst 82.3 yards on the ground per game.
The great Gale Sayers is rolling in his grave right now.
17. Minnesota Vikings
Past the halfway point of 2020, the Vikings are finally starting to look like the team everyone expected them to be. Despite the uncharacteristically careless play of quarterback Kirk Cousins, the team has ridden running back Dalvin Cook to within striking distance in the NFC North standings. Cook has been superhuman this year, piling on 122.6 rushing yards per game to go with 12 rushing touchdowns, both of which lead the league by a considerable margin. If their defense can stop giving up more than 412 yards per game, this team has a real chance to go from worst to first in their division.
16. Atlanta Falcons
You always expect Matt Ryan to have some of the league’s top passing figures but not many were expecting Todd Gurley to be back near the top of the league’s rushing touchdown figures this season. The veteran running back found the end zone nine times in nine games, ranking second in the league in ground scores. Ryan has been doing his thing as well, throwing for 290 yards per game, which ranks the team’s passing offense third in the league. If not for three losses that were decided by four points or less, and playing in a tough NFC South, the Falcons could easily be in the playoff hunt.
15. Cleveland Browns
The Browns remain a difficult team to nail down. You never know which team you’re going to get on a week-to-week basis and now that they’ve lost Odell Beckham Jr. for the season, there are even more questions. However, the return of Nick Chubb to the backfield will take some of the sting away, adding a valuable option to what is already a top-five rushing attack. But until Cleveland beats a great team, it’ll be hard to take them seriously, as only one of their five wins at the halfway point has come against a team with a winning record.
14. Las Vegas Raiders
Along with the Browns and Bears, the Raiders are one of only three teams in the NFL with a winning record and a negative point differential this season. That’s because all but two of their games have been close and they’ve been on the wrong side of both of those blowouts. Wins over the Browns, Chiefs and Saints give them one of the better resumes among the mid-range teams in the league and the back half of their schedule is full of winnable games, making them a likely playoff contender. Quarterback Derek Carr deserves a ton of credit for having the fifth-best passer rating in the league and taking excellent care of the ball.
13. Miami Dolphins
All the headlines coming out of the AFC East this preseason revolved around the Bills and Patriots but the Dolphins have emerged as one of the best surprises of 2020. At the halfway point of their season, Miami had won five of their last six games and was exploding on offense every week. Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took over after veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick’s admirable start to the year and he’s looked comfortable, not throwing a pick in his first three appearances. The Dolphins rank fourth in point differential, holding an astounding +61 in that category through eight games.
12. Indianapolis Colts
While the Colts offense remains mired among the middle of the league in terms of output, their defense is doing enough to make them truly dangerous. Led by All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard, that unit has been arguably the best in football all season. Opponents of Indianapolis have been earning just 290 yards of offense and 20 points per game, which takes a lot of pressure off veteran quarterback Philip Rivers.
11. Arizona Cardinals
In his second year in the NFL, Kyler Murray contributed an astounding 24 total touchdowns in the first eight games. The young Cardinals quarterback is certainly one of the league’s fastest-rising stars and he’s surrounded by one of the most talented offenses in football. DeAndre Hopkins is the third-leading receiver in the league on a yards-per-game basis and rusher Kenyan Drake ranks inside the top 10 at his position.
10. Los Angeles Rams
The only defense that might be better than the Colts this year is that of the Rams. L.A.’s defense is the only other one allowing fewer than 300 yards per game and they’ve been allowing just 19 points per game to go along with that paltry yardage allowance. Five-time All-Pro Aaron Donald leads the NFL in sacks and is striking fear in every quarterback that he lines up against. The fact that the Rams offense is averaging nearly 400 yards per game makes them look like the total package.
9. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have beaten the teams they should’ve this year but have struggled to top the better squads on their schedule. Much of the problem lies with their defense, which is easily the worst in the entire league. No other team is coming close to matching the 455.8 total yards Seattle is surrendering each week and they are the only team with a winning record that’s allowing more than 30 points per game. However, their offense — led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson — is wrecking opposing defenses. Seattle’s average of 34.3 points per game is also easily the best in the NFL.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Speaking of the total package, the Buccaneers have lived up to every bit of hype thrown at them this offseason. Two losses to the Saints show that they still aren’t quite on the level of that NFC South rival but, to be fair, not many teams in the league are. Tom Brady is on pace to have his best passing season since his last All-Pro selection in 2017 and he’s surrounded by one of the most talent-loaded groups of receivers in NFL history. They’ve also got the best rushing defense in football and a top-ten defense overall.
7. Baltimore Ravens
Watching a Ravens game in 2020 is like taking a trip back in time to the time when the forward pass was illegal. They are one of only two teams averaging less than 180 passing yards per game — the other is the winless Jets — yet they’ve got the second-best point differential in the league at +85. The secret behind their unusual success is a suffocating defense and a relentless running game. They’re allowing a league-best 17.8 points per game and are picking up a league-best 170.1 rushing yards per game. That’s old-school football at its best.
6. Green Bay Packers
No team has been able to control the clock better than the Packers this season. They hold the ball for more than 33 minutes per game, which is the best in the league. Their offense ranks in the top 10 for both passing and rushing yards per game, with Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones having become one of the best backfield tandems in the game; they’ve combined for 33 total touchdowns in the first eight games of 2020. That’s not even mentioning Davante Adams, who is the only receiver in the NFL averaging more than 100 yards per game.
5. Tennessee Titans
Aside from simply being great teams, the Titans and Packers have a key thing in common this season: they take better care of the ball than anyone. No team in the AFC has committed as few turnovers as Tennessee this season, with just four of them on the ledger through eight games. What makes the Titans even better is that their defense is forcing a lot of miscues for opposing teams, giving this team the best turnover differential in the NFL. The offense is built on the legs of Derrick Henry, who is carrying the ball more times than any other rusher this season and is one of only two backs averaging more than 100 yards per game on the ground.
4. Buffalo Bills
We had our doubts about Josh Allen as the future of the Bills heading into this season but he’s proven us wrong at every turn this year. Only Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson have accounted for more touchdowns in 2020, putting the young quarterback in elite company. They look like one of the few locks to win a division crown at this point in the season, with their 4-0 record against AFC East foes being the best mark any team had against its division as of week nine.
3. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have been on the right side of four one-score games this season and have rattled off five straight wins following a 1-2 start. Two wins over the much-hyped Buccaneers will go a long way in securing another NFC South crown at the end of the season. Their offense has been as dynamic as expected, lifting it to one of just four teams averaging more than 30 points per game. Drew Brees is once again the most accurate passer in the game, completing a ridiculous 74% of his throws.
When you consider that their defense is ranked in the top three, you’ve got arguably the best all-around team in the league right now.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Speaking of all-around greatness, the Steelers have managed to be the last undefeated team in the NFL in 2020, holding an 8-0 mark at the halfway point. The wins haven’t all come easily and haven’t all been pretty but this team’s prowess is impossible to deny. They are allowing just 20.1 points per game on defense and have taken the ball away an AFC-best 15 times. Their schedule is pretty friendly down the stretch but Pittsburgh fans just have to hope the aging Ben Roethlisberger can stay upright for the rest of it.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Nearly a year removed from their Super Bowl win, the Chiefs look every bit as good as they did in 2019, if not better. No team is regularly smacking around its opponents as often as this one, with a +103 point differential that’s easily the best in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes is averaging nearly 300 yards passing per game and has thrown a mind-blowing 25 touchdowns to just one interception. His favorite target, Tyreek Hill, has caught a league-best nine touchdowns and his rookie rusher, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, ranks fourth in total rushing yards.
They are going to be a very tough out once the playoffs arrive.