Ideas

Projected Rankings For The NFL 2019 Season

Where does your team stand?

NFC Championship - Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints
Getty Images | Jonathan Bachman

The 2019 NFL season officially kicks off on Sept. 5 and we’re finally getting a good idea of what every team will look like for their first snap of the new campaign. We’ve already ranked every team’s starting quarterback and running back if you want analysis on those positions — but here we’re going to look at the entire team’s chances to succeed this season.

Using their performance from 2018 and the moves they’ve made in the offseason, we’ve predicted how every team will fare in the 2019 slate and ranked them based on their chances to make the playoffs. We urge you to take the exact win-loss predictions with a huge grain of salt because of the inherent randomness of football, but we are pretty confident in our picks for which teams will be the NFL’s best come the end of the year.

32. Miami Dolphins


2019 Prediction: 3-13

The Dolphins posted a surprising 7-9 record a year ago but the AFC East is still a one-team division and we see them really struggling this season. When your franchise’s two options at quarterback are Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen, it’s tough to be optimistic. The team had one of the game’s worst offenses a year ago and we’re not holding out hope that it will improve much this season. Running back Kenyan Drake will need to have a breakout season if the Dolphins are going to even come close to their record from last season.

31. Cincinnati Bengals


2019 Prediction: 3-13

The Bengals finally fired beleaguered coach Marvin Lewis after last season but new leader Zac Taylor has an uphill climb ahead of him. The team fielded one of the league’s worst defenses in 2018, allowing the most yards per game of any team.

On the other side of the ball, Andy Dalton enters his ninth season as the team’s starting quarterback and to say that fans are ready to move on would be an understatement. This is definitely a team that’s going to be figuring out its identity in 2019 — and the fact that the AFC North looks stiff as ever isn’t going to help their record.

30. Arizona Cardinals


2019 Prediction: 4-12

For the second year in a row, the Arizona Cardinals are betting their season on a new, rookie quarterback and we see the results being largely the same. Kyler Murray is obviously a very exciting addition but he’s going to have to be good in a hurry to turn this ship around from 2018’s 3-13 bomb.

The Cardinals fielded the NFL’s worst offense by far in 2018, averaging just 241.6 yards of total offense per game, and our bet is that Murray will need a little more time to improve that dismal performance.

29. Denver Broncos


2019 Prediction: 4-12

There are so many questions facing the Denver Broncos in 2019 and it doesn’t help that they have one of the hardest schedules of any team. The franchise is gambling a ton on new starting quarterback Joe Flacco, who proved capable of brilliance at times with the Baltimore Ravens but in recent years proved to be average at best.

The Broncos have been struggling to find their footing since Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset and new head coach Vic Fangio has his work cut out for him in 2019, especially in what should be one of the league’s toughest divisions in the AFC West.

28. Detroit Lions


2019 Prediction: 4-12

The NFC North is going to be owned by the Chicago Bears in 2019 and if the Minnesota Vikings live up to half of their potential, the Lions will find themselves scrambling for a few wins. The team was 6-10 last year and their only two divisional wins came against the Green Bay Packers, who we see improving slightly this season, so it’s going to be a tough year for Detroit. The offseason additions of T.J. Hockenson and Trey Flowers are solid but probably not enough to get them into contention.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers


2019 Prediction: 4-12

After a disappointing 5-11 season in 2018, we’ve got the Tampa Bay Buccaneers slipping a little further in 2019. The grim prediction comes because the team’s direction is in flux and its top two offensive playmakers, quarterback Jameis Winston and rusher Peyton Barber, are still largely unproven. New head coach Bruce Arians has worked wonders in his past jobs but this is his toughest gig yet. The Bucs also had one of the absolute worst defenses in football last season and added six new players to that side of the ball during the draft, but that unit has a lot of work to do.

26. Green Bay Packers


2019 Prediction: 5-11

The 2018 season was a very strange one for Packers fans, as they saw internal drama lead to the awkward firing of head coach Mike McCarthy and the offseason saw some aggressive moves, especially on defense. Aaron Rodgers continued to show his brilliance during that disappointing season but it didn’t lead to many wins for the team.

As new head coach Matt LaFleur implements his own style — it’ll be the first new system Rodgers has seen since his career started — there will be some growing pains. The fact that divisional rivals like the Bears and Vikings look so tough also doesn’t bode well for Green Bay in 2019.

25. Oakland Raiders


2019 Prediction: 5-11

The Oakland Raiders were one of the worst teams in football a year ago — and they still have a lot to prove heading into 2019. As coach Jon Gruden enters his second year with the team, he’s inherited one hell of a weapon with wide receiver Antonio Brown, but a receiver is only as good as the guy throwing him the ball.

Quarterback Derek Carr is trying to get back in the good graces of Oakland fans and we see him playing more like his old self in 2019 but there are still plenty of factors holding the Raiders back from greatness. They had one of the league’s worst defenses in 2018 and they face the league’s hardest schedule in 2019.

24. San Francisco 49ers


2019 Prediction: 5-11

The 49ers saw their hopes for a great season dwindle when starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hurt his knee in the third game of 2018. That team went 4-12 but Garoppolo is expected to be ready for the first game of 2019 — the only problem is that he’s still never proven himself as a starting quarterback for an entire season. That, plus the fact that the 49ers had one of the least effective defenses in football last year — they only forced two interceptions all season — means we’re not expecting much from the team. We’re expecting the Rams and Seahawks to trample the NFC West in 2019.

23. Carolina Panthers


2019 Prediction: 5-11

For a team that hasn’t made many major changes since 2018, there’s still plenty of mystery surrounding the Carolina Panthers for 2019. We’re predicting the team will slip a bit from its already lackluster finish from last season, largely because of QB Cam Newton needing shoulder surgery at the end of the year. Newton didn’t really look like himself last season and there’s no reason to think he’ll be back to MVP-level play.

Running back Christian McCaffrey will likely be relied upon even more heavily than usual and if he gets hurt, it’s going to be a rough go. The team also lost Julius Peppers to retirement so it remains to be seen who will step up to lead the defense.

22. Washington Redskins


2019 Prediction: 6-10

The Redskins had a tough 2018, thanks to the shocking loss of quarterback Alex Smith, but still managed to pull together a 7-9 record. Despite having the league’s easiest schedule in 2019, we see the team dropping a bit mostly because they have the unenviable task of figuring out who will be their starting QB.

The team drafted Dwayne Haskins, who was completely brilliant at Ohio State, but proven starter Case Keenum will probably get the job to begin the year. Throw in the fact that rusher Adrian Peterson is yet another year older and it’s tough to think the Redskins will make much noise in 2019.

21. Buffalo Bills


2019 Prediction: 6-10

We’ve got the Bills repeating their awful record from a year ago, but they could add a few wins thanks to having one of the league’s easiest schedules in 2019. The team had a solid offseason, adding talented wide receivers and offensive linemen to help quarterback Josh Allen in his second year, but there’s plenty of work to be done.

In 2018, the Bills had one of the league’s worst offenses but their defense stepped up and allowed less than 300 yards per game. If they do that again, they could finish second in what is, unfortunately, still a one-team division in the AFC East.

20. New York Jets


2019 Prediction: 6-10

Speaking of terrible defenses, the Jets had one of the worst in all of football in 2018, allowing a ton of points in every game. Their offense was dreadful as well, with rookie QB Sam Darnold throwing way too many interceptions.

For 2019, they’ve picked up Le’Veon Bell, who is arguably the best running back in football. So Jets fans are right to have much higher expectations headed into this season but it’s all going to come down to the improvement of Darnold and seeing if Bell has shaken the rust off of sitting at home for the past year. We don’t see the Jets challenging the Patriots just yet for AFC East bragging rights.

19. New York Giants


2019 Prediction: 6-10

The New York Giants offense was pretty atrocious when it came to scoring points in 2018, and that was when they had Odell Beckham Jr., so it’s probably nuts to expect more wins from them in 2019. We’ve got them improving ever so slightly because of the incredible Saquon Barkley, who will be focused on so much by opposing defenses that Eli Manning may have better opportunities to show he’s not washed up yet. If Barkley gets hurt, however, the Giants could be lined up for a number-one overall draft pick by the end of the season.

18. Atlanta Falcons


2019 Prediction: 7-9

In the two years since that magical run to the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons have looked like anything but championship contenders. They hired a new offensive coordinator to combat those seasons of dismal scoring, but that means a new system, and those can take time to blossom.

Matt Ryan is still unquestionably one of the best quarterbacks in the league and Devonta Freeman can be a beast from the backfield but it remains to be seen how he’ll bounce back from his season-ending injury last year. The Falcons are one of the toughest teams to predict because they should easily be a nine-win team but they often play like a sub-.500 one.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars


2019 Prediction: 7-9

The AFC South is undoubtedly the most difficult division to pick because all four teams are capable of making the playoffs and they typically just spend the whole season beating up on one another. We’ve got the Jaguars finishing last in another tight division race this year, because they have more questions than the Colts, Texans and Titans.

Nick Foles will be the team’s new starter and we’ve seen what he’s capable of but the sample size was pretty small and he was playing for an Eagles team that was already firing on all cylinders. The Jaguars offense was dreadful in 2018, only scoring 15.3 points per game, so he’ll have to do plenty to get them back in the playoff hunt.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers


2019 Prediction: 8-8

As is typically the case in Pittsburgh, the Steelers played great defense in 2018 and ended up going 9-6-1. Of course, they also had Antonio Brown to throw passes to and he’s long gone. Cleared of all the distractions the Steelers faced a year ago, you might expect them to be even better but we see them slipping to mediocrity in 2019.

The AFC North is stout once again, making it a legitimate three-team fight for the top. We just don’t see Ben Roethlisberger or James Conner being able to put together the kind of numbers they did a year ago leading the offense. The Steelers have simply lost too many weapons.

15. Houston Texans


2019 Prediction: 8-8

The Texans are easily capable of being a 10-win team but, thanks to playing in a very tough division and the uncertainty that still plagues QB Deshaun Watson, seem to underperform. He is like a microcosm of the team itself: capable of true greatness but not always proving it.

We’ve put the Texans right in the middle because they play a tough schedule — they have road games against the Saints, Chargers, Ravens and Chiefs — and it remains to be seen if Watson will become the next Patrick Mahomes or if he’ll find himself sidelined with injuries.

The Texans’ defense was fantastic a year ago, so if that keeps up, this could easily be the team that wins the AFC South playoff lottery.

14. Philadephia Eagles


2019 Prediction: 8-8

We’re more than a year removed from the Eagles winning a Super Bowl and they don’t look to be in the hunt for another title right now. The team is definitely talented but so much weight of their season is on quarterback Carson Wentz and he just hasn’t proven himself to be up for the challenge of playing a full season yet. Injuries have cut his past two seasons short and now that his gifted backup Nick Foles has moved on to his own starting job in Jacksonville, the pressure is squarely on Wentz.

This Eagles team has the capabilities to be a playoff team but we’ve got them narrowly missing out on a wild card berth.

13. Tennessee Titans


2019 Prediction: 10-6

We’ve got the Tennessee Titans as the last team out of the playoffs in the AFC but they are certainly capable of making it into the postseason. Once again, the AFC South proves itself to be a tough division and the Titans will be in the thick of the race as long as quarterback Marcus Mariota stays healthy and running back Derrick Henry keeps up the momentum he built up as the league’s best rusher in the final month of 2018. The Titans also boasted a great defense last year, so if that remains the case, expect them to make plenty of noise in the postseason race.

12. Seattle Seahawks


2019 Prediction: 9-7 (NFC Wild Card)

After being a wild card team a year ago, we’ve got the Seattle Seahawks repeating that bid and sneaking into the playoffs again. The bottom of the NFC West is so weak that you can virtually pencil in at least three wins from there, if not four.

Russell Wilson has given us no reason to doubt him as he continues to be one of the game’s best passers although losing wide receiver Doug Baldwin may hurt his numbers this season. Expect the Seahawks to run the ball a ton, rely on Wilson’s excellent care of the ball and count on a stout defense to make it back to the playoffs.

11. Minnesota Vikings


2019 Prediction: 10-6 (NFC Wild Card)

Finishing the year at 8-7-1 was seen as a huge disappointment for a team with deep playoff expectations in 2018. We see the Vikings bouncing back to the form they showed in 2017 and taking a spot in the playoffs. Kirk Cousins played as advertised from the quarterback position but his offensive line gave him virtually no protection, so that’s something the team has beefed up during the offseason.

The team’s rushing attack also suffered greatly from that lack of blocking upfront, so we’d expect running back Dalvin Cook to look much better in 2019. If the Chicago Bears didn’t look so tough, we’d see the Vikings winning the NFC North instead of being a wild card berth.

10. Cleveland Browns


2019 Prediction: 10-6 (AFC Wild Card)

The Browns are definitely back and will be a legitimate playoff contender in 2019. We see the AFC as a tougher overall conference than the NFC this year, thus a 10-6 record will only get the Browns in as a wild card.

The team boasts one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL, especially with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. If the team’s larger-than-life personalities, in OBJ and Baker Mayfield, end up clashing, this could be one hell of a train wreck but we see the Browns living up to their potential and earning the team’s first playoff bid since 2002.

9. Indianapolis Colts


2019 Prediction: 11-5 (AFC South Champions)

The Colts were one of the league’s biggest surprises as a wild card team in 2018 and we’ve got them improving even more as AFC South division champs in 2019. That division is probably the league’s only legitimate four-team fight but the Colts have proven to be more dependable than the others, especially when Andrew Luck stays healthy.

The team didn’t make any blockbuster moves in the offseason — and they didn’t really need to — but they added Justin Houston to make their defense even better. Expect another solid season in Indianapolis and their first division title since 2014.

8. Kansas City Chiefs


2019 Prediction: 12-4 (AFC Wild Card)

After a remarkable 12-4 season in 2018 that saw them as the best team in the AFC, we’ve got the Chiefs repeating that record but only earning a wild card spot in 2019. The Achilles heel of the Chiefs is their defense, which allowed the second most yards per game of any team in 2018 but that offense is pure magic.

If MVP Patrick Mahomes can be half as good as he was a year ago, the Chiefs will easily be near the top of the AFC West. Running back Damien Williams has a ton to prove but with Mahomes keeping defenses on their toes, he should find some good openings.

7. Baltimore Ravens


2019 Prediction: 12-4 (AFC North Champions)

The AFC North is going to be fun to watch in 2019 and we see the Ravens repeating as division champs and getting even more sure about their strange offensive style.

The team’s season is going to fall squarely on the legs of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who proved to not be much of a passer but an incredible rusher in 2018. The team looked virtually unbeatable when Jackson was their starter, until he ran out of gas in the playoffs.

Adding veteran rusher Mark Ingram to the mix and continuing to have arguably the league’s best defense will ensure another playoff run in Baltimore, even if Jackson doesn’t improve much as a passer.

6. Los Angeles Rams


2019 Prediction: 13-3 (NFC West Champions)

Questioning the Los Angeles Rams after a magical run to the Super Bowl in 2018 has been pretty popular this offseason, but we see them heading back to the playoffs again as NFC West champions.

The health of running back Todd Gurley was in question at the end of the season but we see him again being one of the league’s best rushers and giving Jared Goff the room to put up more huge passing yards. The team also parted ways with Ndamukong Suh, which might actually make their defense even sharper.

5. Chicago Bears


2019 Prediction: 14-2 (NFC North Champions)

The Bears were one of the most dominant teams on both sides of the ball last year and if not for a painful missed field goal, they could’ve made a deep playoff run. We’ve got the Monsters of the Midway having an even better 2019, winning 14 games and taking the NFC North crown again.

They could easily see themselves playing in the Super Bowl this year, especially if that punishing defense repeats its performance, which saw the team lead the NFL in points allowed per game and interceptions. As long as Mitchell Trubisky keeps up the progress he’s made as a starting quarterback, there’s nothing holding back the Bears.

4. Dallas Cowboys


2019 Prediction: 12-4 (NFC East Champions)

The combination of Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott has proven to be lethal over the past few years and there’s no reason to see them slipping in 2019. After the team’s 10-6 season in 2018, which saw them clinch the NFC East, we see them repeating as division champs and adding two more wins.

Expect more fireworks from Prescott and Amari Cooper, especially under creative new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. The additions of Jason Witten and Randall Cobb should make their offensive even more explosive.

3. New England Patriots


2019 Prediction: 13-3 (AFC East Champions)

The Patriots are another team that we see improving on an already stellar 2018 regular season. We don’t see them repeating as Super Bowl champs but we see them easily winning the AFC East yet again and winning as many as 13 games, thanks to having the easiest schedule in the entire conference.

Tom Brady’s main man, Rob Gronkowski, will not be returning but we’ve seen the GOAT quickly move on from great receiver relationships in the past without breaking a sweat.

Pick against New England at your own peril because they’ve fooled us into thinking they were weak too many times.

2. New Orleans Saints


2019 Prediction: 12-4 (NFC South Champions)

The Saints’ season in 2018 was truly special, seeing them match the league’s best record at 13-3 and Drew Brees putting together a record-breaking, MVP-level campaign. We recently picked Brees as the league’s best starting quarterback heading into the 2019 season and that’s one main reason why we see them winning the NFC South and representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Their point differential of +151 a year ago was the NFL’s best, and there’s no reason to think they aren’t capable of that type of dominance again, especially having Alvin Kamara in the backfield. The return of Ted Ginn Jr. and addition of Jared Cook as tight end certainly won’t hurt their chances.

1. Los Angeles Chargers


2019 Prediction: 15-1 (AFC West Champions — Super Bowl Champions)

The Chargers look fit to dominate the NFL in 2019. It looks ridiculous, but after going through their schedule, a 15-1 year seems entirely possible and we like their chances to win the Super Bowl.

Philip Rivers just needs to keep doing what he’s been doing his entire career and with receivers like Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, it should be no problem. Add in Melvin Gordon, who is unquestionably one of the game’s best rushers, and you’ve got an offense that is capable of topping anyone.

If that’s not enough for you, the Chargers already had a top-10 scoring defense last season and they added pass rushing whiz Jerry Tillery in the draft so they’ve got a real chance to embarrass their opponents this season.