As we get closer to the 2020 season, questions still surround each NFL team. Less than four months from the scheduled kickoff to the regular season, these pressing issues remain to be addressed for the 32 franchises.
The Cardinals offense could take off this year with Kyler Murray entering his second season and having the help of DeAndre Hopkins at wideout. The defense has much more ground to cover, however, after finishing fifth-worst in points allowed and dead last in yards allowed last year. The addition of rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons should help, but the defense needs to hold up for Arizona to compete for a playoff spot in a tough division.
With tough cap decisions, Atlanta's offense has shed talent over the last year. First was the trade of wideout Mohamed Sanu last season, and the team parted with longtime running back Devonta Freeman and tight end Austin Hooper this offseason. Todd Gurley should be able to replace Freeman's subpar 2019 production, but newcomer Hayden Hurst's potential is an open question. The core of the offense remains with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and a strong offensive line, but the changes could hinder the offense in an abbreviated offseason.
Jackson proved himself by winning the MVP last year, yet he had a nightmare playoff performance for the second consecutive season. It's unclear if Jackson just had a bad game or postseason games have found a secret recipe to beat the versatile signal-caller, but the questions will continue to be asked until Jackson wins in the playoffs. With key additions like Calais Campbell and rookie Patrick Queen on defense, the Ravens do look primed to give Jackson another opportunity.
Buffalo has made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons under head coach Sean McDermott and certainly look to be on a positive trajectory. The last time the Bills won the AFC East was 1995, as New England has been dominant over the last two decades. However, things could change in 2020 with the Pats moving on from Tom Brady. With the addition of Stefon Diggs, the Bills have all the pieces they need on paper.
The Panthers underwent a rebuild in the offseason, beginning with the hiring of head coach Matt Rhule. They will enter 2020 with a new quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater and almost an entirely new defense. The NFC South also looks like one of the toughest divisions in the league after Tampa Bay's offseason additions, so anything close to a .500 season would be a coup for Rhule and Co.
Mitchell Trubisky enters his fourth season after a disappointing 2019, and the Bears have added competition by trading former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. That's not to say Foles is the new starter, but the team is paying him a significant amount of money and already declined Trubisky's fifth-year option. Chicago's potential rebound could rest on one of the quarterbacks emerging to have a bounce back 2020 season.
Burrow is coming off one of the greatest seasons by a quarterback in college football history en route to winning the Heisman Trophy and national championship. He was a shoo-in as the first overall pick in the draft, but the NFL presents a much more difficult task for the LSU alum. He does have some great weapons to work with in Cincinnati with Joe Mixon, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and fellow rookie Tee Higgins, so there's hope for a strong rookie season.
Mayfield's sophomore season couldn't have gone much worse after showing flashes in his rookie year with Cleveland. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes while throwing 21 interceptions despite the addition of Odell Beckham, and the Browns made a coaching change as a result. Stefanski comes over from Minnesota, where he was the offensive coordinator, and he is hoping to get Mayfield and the offense back on track.
The Cowboys and Prescott have failed to come to a long-term contract agreement for more than a year. Speculation ensued when Dallas signed longtime Bengals starter Andy Dalton following the draft, but the team still seems confident it will sign Prescott. The clock is ticking.
Lock impressed late in his rookie season, and the Broncos built around him in the offseason with the additions of Melvin Gordon and rookie wideouts Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. However, there are still questions as to whether Lock is the quarterback to lead the Broncos into the future. Those questions could be answered sooner with the help Denver has provided him, adding to Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant.
Patricia was supposed to fix Detroit's defense after coming over from New England in 2018, but the Lions only got worse last year, ranking 26th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed. The Lions have seen significant personnel turnover in the offseason, losing corner Darius Slay but adding Jamie Collins, Desmond Trufant and rookie Jeff Okudah. This could be Patricia's final shot.
The Packers fell short in the NFC championship last year, and for much of the season, it seemed that Rodgers had only Davante Adams as a viable target. This offseason the Packers lost disappointing tight end Jimmy Graham, and their only major addition was wide receiver Devin Funchess. With timing running out for Rodgers at age 36, the Packers spent their first-round pick on another quarterback. It remains to be seen if Rodgers has what he needs to make a Super Bowl run.
O'Brien has made waves over the last year, acquiring Laremy Tunsil, David Johnson, and Brandin Cooks in trades while arguably sacrificing his franchise's future and DeAndre Hopkins. The goal is clear that O'Brien wants to win now in Deshaun Watson's rookie contract, but anything short of that could be considered a failure.
After the shocking retirement of Andrew Luck in the preseason last year, the Colts added longtime Charger Philip Rivers to help the team rebound. They used the draft to surround the veteran quarterback with talent, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough. The lack of receiving weapons was a huge issue last year, and while T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle remain, the team is also counting on unproven weapons like Parris Campbell, Michael Pittman Jr., and Jonathan Taylor. If those young players don't emerge quickly, Rivers could have a hard time, given the struggles he had in L.A. last year with great weapons like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry.
The Jaguars traded Nick Foles and failed to draft a quarterback in the first round, a clear endorsement of Minshew in his second year. The surprising sixth-round pick played well last year, but it remains to be seen if he's long-term starter material.
The Super Bowl Champs return most of their 2019 roster, but one big question remains. Star defensive tackle Chris Jones held out of offseason workouts last year, and he's still looking for a long-term contract after being franchised. It's unclear what will happen if team and player can't agree on a contract before training camp.
The Raiders were in a bad spot last year when the Antonio Brown debacle ended. Tight end Darren Waller did emerge, but Tyrell Williams struggled as the team's No. 1 wideout. To address that need, the Raiders signed Nelson Agholor and drafted speedy Henry Ruggs in the first round. Derek Carr certainly has more to work with now, but it's unclear if it will be enough to make him the productive signal-caller we saw earlier in his career.
The Chargers turned the page on Rivers after 16 seasons, and go into 2020 with veteran Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert in a quarterback competition. Rivers will be tough to replace, even with his struggles last season, but there's plenty of talent on the Chargers roster in support of the new quarterback.
With so much money tied up in Jared Goff, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, the Rams didn't have cap space for many more expenditures. That was part of the reason they cut Gurley and traded Cooks during the offseason. L.A. goes into the year with a three-headed monster at running back and has promoted Josh Reynolds to be the No. 3 wideout. There remains a lot of potential on the team, especially with the remaining wide receiver duo of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, but the losses could prevent a full rebound after a disappointing 2019 season.
Miami was accused of tanking last year, trading several of its most valuable pieces like Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick for draft capital. The Dolphins were aggressive in the free agent market with notable additions like Jordan Howard, Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy, and Byron Jones, and the team also had three first-round picks, including quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The future looks bright in Miami, but it remains to be seen if the Dolphins are ready to compete this year in a wide open AFC East.
After Diggs seemed unhappy last season, the Vikings traded him to Buffalo this offseason for major draft capital. They used one of their first-rounders on Jefferson, who Minnesota hopes can replace Diggs immediately. That will be a difficult task, though there might not be as much pressure this year if Adam Thielen can put an injury-plagued season behind him.
The Patriots moved on from Tom Brady but bypassed many of the available quarterbacks on the market and will apparently turn to Stidham. The second-year signal-caller had a strong college career, but he's unproven as a pro. Added is the concern of his weapons, which Brady struggled with last season.
Drew Brees has returned for at least one more season after the Saints were disappointingly ousted in the wild-card round last year, and the team has added veterans Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins to help. Last year seemed like an all-in season for the Saints, and they're taken it to another level this season.
Jones showed some flashes in his rookie season, but he also made far too many rookie errors. The Giants new coaching staff needs to do something about Jones' risky play, with 12 picks, 11 fumbles lost and 38 sacks taken in only 13 games. For all he did to help the team, Jones is unlikely to be a consistent winner unless he gets the detrimental plays in check.
The Jets hired Adam Gase to help develop Darnold in his second year, but the results are inconclusive so far. Darnold missed time early last season with mono and had some ups and downs afterward, going 7-6 as a starter. The Jets lost Robby Anderson in the offseason, which could be a setback as Darnold tries to fully establish himself in Year 3.
Wentz played his second 16-game regular season in four years in 2019, but he was knocked out early in his only playoff appearance with a concussion. Staying on the field has been a bit of an issue for Wentz, and it's probably no coincidence that the Eagles selected Jalen Hurts in the second round to serve as his backup. Wentz is still trying to shed the injury-prone label, and at least this year the Eagles need him to stay healthy to reach their goals.
The Steelers lost Roethlisberger in Week 2 last year, effectively ending their hopes of a great season. He returns at age 38 without a good supporting cast in Pittsburgh, as he is without Antonio Brown and is working with some receivers he's unfamiliar with, including newly acquired tight end Eric Ebron and 2020 draft pick Chase Claypool.
The defending NFC champs emerged last year in large part thanks to their defense, which finished eighth in points allowed and second in yards. In particular, the defensive line was terrific with the additions of Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. However, the 49ers traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, hoping to replace him with rookie Javon Kinlaw. Matching last year's standard could be difficult in the loaded NFC West, but San Francisco's defense might need to keep up the momentum to reach its goals again.
Seattle struggled to rush the passer last year, and it could be even more difficult this year if the team loses Jadeveon Clowney in free agency. The Seahawks are hoping for a rebound season from Jarran Reed and for second-year defensive end L.J. Collier to emerge, or it could be a long year on the defensive side of the ball.
No team has made more headlines this offseason than the Bucs, after adding Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Tampa Bay instantly became a top contender in the NFC as a result of those moves, and there's also hope that the defense will make further progress under Todd Bowles.
The Titans surged last season when Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota, going 7-3 with Tannehill as a starter and advancing to the AFC championship. He led the league in yards per attempt and passer rating, showing great ability after an unsatisfying six seasons in Miami. Now the Titans just need Tannehill to show that last season wasn't a fluke.
Washington has a new coaching staff led by Ron Rivera, who is hoping to get the team on the right track after a terrible 2019 season. Haskins is entering his second season and hoping for better success, though Washington didn't add much help for him in the offseason. If Haskins doesn't show improvement, Washington could be looking at another quarterback in 2021.