NFL teams and fans enter the 2019 season with high hopes, but only one of the 32 teams will emerge as Super Bowl LIV champions. Here's a look at why each team has some reason to be optimistic about winning a championship this season and also reason to be pessimistic about its chances.
Why they will: New head coach Kliff Kingsbury is one of the brightest offensive minds in football, and Kyler Murray is one of the best athletes the quarterback position has ever seen. The sky is the limit on offense if the stars align.
Why they won't: The offensive line still looks bad despite some improvements on the right side, and the defense has serious talent deficiencies, especially early in the year without Patrick Peterson. Murray can be expected to help only so much as a rookie.
Why they will: Atlanta has elite offensive talent with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Co. and addressed the offensive line issues in the draft. The defense is healthy entering the year, which was an issue for most of last season.
Why they won't: Pass rush has been an issue for the Falcons, and they didn't do much to address that area in the offseason. The team also has secondary issues and allowed 423 points last year, fourth-most in the NFC.
Why they will: Lamar Jackson went 6-1 as a starter during the regular season last year and could make a second-year leap with improved offensive talent around him, led by Mark Ingram. Last year's defense was also No. 2 in points allowed.
Why they won't: Jackson had multiple small injuries that should be worrisome over a full season, and the defense has lost significant talent, including Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs, C.J Mosley and Za'Darius Smith.
Why they will: Buffalo added significant and impactful offensive talent in the offseason to complement second-year quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills also ranked second-worst in giveaways last season (32), a number that's bound to improve with more stable quarterback play.
Why they won't: Allen was still erratic last year, throwing 12 picks in 12 games and gaining only 6.5 yards per pass attempt. The offensive line has improved with new additions like center Mitch Morse, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough to help an offense that ranked 30th in points scored last season.
Why they will: Cam Newton fixed his shoulder in the offseason and has an impressive set of young weapons around him, including Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel.
Why they won't: Carolina's defense has regressed considerably, ranking only 25th in sack rate and 20th in points allowed last year. They've addressed that issue with the additions of Gerald McCoy and Brian Burns, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough. Newton is also becoming increasingly fragile, with a shoulder injury last season and foot injury during the preseason.
Why they will: Chicago returns a talented, young team that allowed the fewest points in the NFL last season and made huge strides on offense, led by Mitchell Trubisky. Rookie running back David Montgomery gives them another strong weapon.
Why they won't: The Bears have lost defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and remain in a tough NFC North division. Trubisky was solid but inconsistent in his second season, and last year's kicker issues could remain with the inexperienced Eddy Pineiro replacing Cody Parkey.
Why they will: Cincinnati has plenty of talent at the skill positions on offense with Joe Mixon, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. Andy Dalton remains capable when healthy, and the defensive line is a strength with Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and young Sam Hubbard.
Why they won't: The offensive line remains a major issue, and the defense didn't do much in the offseason despite allowing the most yards in the NFL during 2018. It could be a long year for first-year head coach Zac Taylor.
Why they will: The Browns won five of their last seven games last season with Baker Mayfield under center and were the talk of the offseason after adding Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson. They have blue-chip talent on both sides of the ball, and their path in the division is seemingly easier after the Steelers and Ravens lost talent in the offseason.
Why they won't: The Browns have major questions on the offensive line, and it's impossible to know what to expect from new head coach Freddie Kitchens. There's optimism Mayfield will take a step forward in his second season, but he still broke the 30-point threshold as a starter only twice last year.
Why they will: Dallas developed an elite defense last year, with top players at all three levels. The Cowboys won eight of their final 10 games with the help of wideout Amari Cooper. The Cowboys also still have a great running game, with Ezekiel Elliott ending his holdout before Week 1, and Dak Prescott does a great job taking care of the ball.
Why they won't: Cooper is also fighting a foot injury that probably won't heal significantly during the season. The offense ranked 21st in points last season and had issues moving the ball before he was acquired. If Cooper isn't the same or has other offensive challenges, the Cowboys will have a tough time keeping up with the rival Eagles and other top NFC offenses.
Why they will: Most of the defensive strength remains intact, led by pass rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, and it could get even better with defensive mastermind Vic Fangio taking over as head coach. The running game was elite last season with the young duo of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Joe Flacco has Super Bowl experience under center.
Why they won't: Flacco has been mediocre in recent seasons with Baltimore, and the talent around him in Denver isn't better than what he had in Baltimore. While he could be an improvement over Case Keenum, Denver is asking a lot of a quarterback who has averaged a terrible 6.2 yards per pass attempt over the last three seasons. The AFC West also remains rough with the Chiefs and Chargers at the top.
Why they will: Head coach Matt Patricia is finally getting his players into the system, signing Trey Flowers for big money and adding corners Rashaan Melvin and Justin Coleman. The offense has underrated talent with Matthew Stafford, Kerryon Johnson and strong wideouts.
Why they won't: Despite the offensive talent, the Lions ranked 25th in points last season. There are still major questions at linebacker, and the NFC North is arguably the toughest division in football with the Packers, Bears and Vikings all having a real shot at making the playoffs.
Why they will: Anything is possible with Aaron Rodgers, and he seems happy for the first time in a while after the team hired Matt LaFleur to run the team. Green Bay also addressed its pass rush issues in the offseason with the additions of Preston Smith, Za'Darius Smith and Rashan Gary. Rookie safety Darnell Savage Jr. could also add a spark.
Why they won't: The recent offensive issues have been blamed on Mike McCarthy, but maybe the problem was the talent on the field? Green Bay has seen some major turnover at receiver, and going into the year only Davante Adams can be considered reliable. The defense allowed the 11th-most points last year and still has big questions at all three levels.
Why they will: Houston has built elite offensive talent led by Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans got a nice jolt before the season started by acquiring Duke Johnson, Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills. The defense rebounded last year to rank fifth in points allowed, with J.J. Watt showing up as an elite player again.
Why they won't: The offensive line still has major issues despite Tunsil's addition, and the defense is less potent after losing Jadeveon Clowney and Tyrann Mathieu. Cornerback could also be an issue with several new faces. The AFC South is wide open after Andrew Luck's retirement, but it also won't be an easy road with all four teams having a viable shot entering the year.
Why they will: Indy has quickly built an elite offensive line, and the defense also made huge strides last year, ranking eighth in points allowed last season. The additions of Devin Funchess, Justin Houston and several talented rookies complete a roster that is one of the deepest in the NFL.
Why they won't: The retirement of Andrew Luck took the team by surprise and put it in a real bind. Jacoby Brissett has talent but is unproven. Typically, teams that have a breakout season like the Colts did in 2018 see some regression the following year, and this situation has the features of a similar outcome.
Why they will: The Jags are just one year removed from making it to the AFC championship and finally have a viable quarterback after signing former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Even after regressing slightly last year, the defense still ranked fourth in points allowed.
Why they won't: The talent around Foles still isn't great, with Leonard Fournette averaging fewer than 4 yards per carry in consecutive seasons and major questions at wideout. The defense also lost some talent from last year's roster, including Telvin Smith, Tashaun Gipson and Malik Jackson.
Why they will: The Chiefs were the top offense in football last year, and Patrick Mahomes is just entering his second year as a starter. The offensive talent is arguably better after signing LeSean McCoy and drafting the speedy Mecole Hardman. The defense has transitioned to a 4-3, which is a better fit for linebacker Anthony Hitchens, and it got a boost in talent with the additions of Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu, among others.
Why they won't: The defense is still a work in progress as it transitions to a new system with many new faces. It's been rare for an elite offense like the 2018 Chiefs to repeat its results. The naysayers also point to coach Andy Reid's track record in the playoffs, failing to reach the Promised Land despite some great teams in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
Why they will: The Chargers have one of the deepest rosters in football, and Philip Rivers has never played better than he is now, in the twilight of his career. The defense remains extremely talented, with elite pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, along with an elite cornerback duo in Casey Hayward and Desmond King.
Why they won't: As usual, injuries are already a major factor for the Chargers. They've lost star safety Derwin James and left tackle Russell Okung for significant time, and Melvin Gordon's status is also up in the air as a holdout, and trade rumors swirling around him. They could ill-afford these issues while competing with the Chiefs in the AFC West.
Why they will: The Rams finished second in points scored last year and now return Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp. The defense added former Pro Bowlers Eric Weddle and Clay Matthews to a talented group that includes Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, Cory Littleton and Marcus Peters.
Why they won't: There are major questions about Gurley's knee, and backup rookie Darrell Henderson is unproven. The offensive line also has some new faces. While the defense has a lot of talent, things could go south quickly if Weddle, Matthews and Aqib Talib start to show their ages.
Why they will: New head coach Brian Flores comes from New England and certainly has experience winning. Even after trading Kenny Stills, Miami still has talent at the offensive skill positions, and the defensive secondary also has ability, led by Reshad Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Why they won't: The Dolphins are clearly tanking. They traded Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills and Kiko Alonso just before Week 1 and are going into the season with a shaky quarterback situation. Miami is far more likely to get the No. 1 pick in the draft than win the Super Bowl.
Why they will: The Vikings remain highly talented, with strong weapons on offense in Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, along with an improved offensive line after using three draft picks in that area. The defense also remains strong, finishing last year 10th in points allowed and fourth-best in yards allowed.
Why they won't: There are still questions about whether Kirk Cousins is more than a .500 quarterback, based on his history in Washington and Minnesota. The team ranked a mediocre 18th in points scored last season and also play in a difficult division with Green Bay, Chicago, and Detroit.
Why they will: The combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick has already won six Super Bowls, including last year. Even with some major personnel losses in the offseason, the defense remains talented and the offense has plenty of running back depth. The weak AFC East could help New England get home-field advantage in the playoffs again.
Why they won't: The Patriots lost significant talent on both sides of the ball, including Rob Gronkowski and Trey Flowers. Brady is entering his age-42 season, an age when no other quarterback in history has seen significant success.
Why they will: The Saints were just a pass interference no-call away from advancing to the Super Bowl last year and return most of that roster. That includes future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and a defense that has rapidly improved after some strong drafts. The team also added tight end Jared Cook to its offensive weapons.
Why they won't: Brees is approaching age 41 and has already seen signs of decline with his arm strength. The team struggled to stop the pass last year and remains in a difficult division with Carolina and Atlanta. Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Dallas also remain major obstacles in the conference.
Why they will: The Giants have addressed their offensive line with the addition of Kevin Zeitle, and have a superstar in running back Saquon Barkley. Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls in New York.
Why they won't: New York has won a grand total of eight games over the last two seasons, and the team lost significant talent in the offseason, including Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon. The Giants could struggle to spread the field without Beckham and also have some clear defensive issues ahead, particularly in the front seven.
Why they will: The Jets had a busy offseason, adding significant talent with Le'Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, C.J. Mosley and first-round pick Quinnen Williams, as well as offensive line help. Sam Darnold showed flashes in his rookie season, and recent NFL history shows second-year quarterbacks making a major jump.
Why they won't: There's still a long way to go for the young roster, and Adam Gase didn't find much success in his first head coaching job in Miami. Darnold's upside in his second year remains to be seen, and the defense is trying to improve from allowing the fourth-most points in football.
Why they will: Oakland addressed most areas of need. They added Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams at wideout, drafted running back Josh Jacobs, improved the offensive line and spent four picks in the first four rounds on defensive players. Derek Carr has shown he can be a playoff quarterback in the past, going 12-3 as the starter in 2016.
Why they won't: The Raiders had significant distractions during training camp and face an uphill battle with their pass rush after accumulating only 13 sacks last season. Carr has regressed considerably over the last two years and seemed uncomfortable in the Jon Gruden offense last year. The AFC West also remains tough with the Chiefs and Chargers leading the way.
Why they will: Philadelphia has only improved its talent around Carson Wentz, with Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders at running back as well as DeSean Jackson at wideout. The defense also ranked ninth-best in points allowed last year and return the majority of last year's unit.
Why they won't: Wentz has grown a reputation as injury prone during his first three NFL seasons, and backup Nick Foles is gone. The defensive line also lost Michael Bennett and Chris Long, which could really hurt the pass rush. Dallas remains a significant obstacle within the NFC East that could hurt Philly's playoff positioning.
Why they will: Despite the loss of Antonio Brown, the Steelers have a strong offense led by Ben Roethlisberger, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner. The defense showed an elite pass rush last season and increased its talent by signing Steven Nelson and Mark Barron as well as by drafting linebacker Devin Bush.
Why they won't: Brown was a major distraction, but he also was arguably the best wideout in football. His loss will certainly be felt on offense, and the defense's issues against the pass could remain despite the additions. The AFC North also looks tougher after Cleveland's additions.
Why they will: Jimmy Garoppolo is back healthy, and the team made significant offseason additions, including Tevin Coleman, Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Nick Bosa. Kyle Shanahan has proved to be a terrific offensive play-caller.
Why they won't: Garoppolo is still unproved over a full season as an NFL starting quarterback, and the defense has a long way to go after allowing more than 27 points per game last season. San Francisco still has to compete with the talented and well-coached Rams and Seahawks in the NFC West.
Why they will: Seattle made their balanced offense work last season, ranking seventh in points, and still have a great back duo of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Russell Wilson also remains one of the best and most efficient quarterbacks in the game, and the defense was solid last season (13th fewest points allowed) despite a youth movement.
Why they won't: Seattle has suffered key losses for a second straight season with Frank Clark going elsewhere and Doug Baldwin retiring. It added Jadeveon Clowney before Week 1 to fill Clark's void, but that will be difficult. Star defensive tackle Jarran Reed is also suspended for the first six games of the season.
Why they will: New head coach Bruce Arians made Arizona relevant again by fixing Carson Palmer, and he's been tasked with doing the same for Jameis Winston. The Bucs do have plenty of weapons still intact for Winston with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard. The defense struggled last year but has upgraded the talent with a new linebacker corps and Ndamukong Suh.
Why they won't: Winston has struggled protecting the ball, and the Bucs did little in the offseason to address their running back issues. The defense allowed the second-most points in the league last year and was last in red-zone defense, so despite the additions new coordinator Todd Bowles will have to work some magic to make significant strides.
Why they will: Tennessee's defense made huge strides under Mike Vrabel last season, ranking third-best in points allowed. The running game was elite late in the year as a result of Derrick Henry's emergence, and the team has added weapons to help Marcus Mariota with Adam Humphries, A.J. Brown and a healthy Delanie Walker.
Why they won't: Mariota's recent play has been mediocre, at best, with only one more touchdown pass than interception over the last two years. He's also had trouble staying healthy, and left tackle Taylor Lewan's early-season suspension won't help that cause. The AFC South looks wide open after Andrew Luck's retirement, but Houston and Jacksonville have added talent.
Why they will: Washington's defense was a strength last season and added star safety Landon Collins to the fold. The front seven has plenty of talent with significant recent draft investment and star veteran Ryan Kerrigan. The running game could take a step forward if Derrius Guice proves healthy.
Why they won't: The team enters the year with Case Keenum under center after rookie Dwayne Haskins didn't look ready in the preseason. His weapons don't look great, and Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams' holdout complicates things even more. The team scored fewer than 18 points per game last year, and it's hard to see this personnel improving much upon that.
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