Just moments after the Patriots wiped away the first specks of confetti that fell in conjunction with their sixth Super Bowl win, oddsmakers were busy projecting the next champion. The Pats were, of course, enticing for early Super Bowl odds in 2019 via Mytopsportsbooks.com, and became the outright favorites at +650. At +700 the Chiefs are not far behind, though they do have to tangle with a much tougher division that includes the Los Angeles Chargers and a now Joe Flacco-led Denver Broncos. With a wrap on last season and the NFL’s future hierarchy top of mind, here is our VERY early look at how all 32 teams stack up for 2019.
1) Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs could use some young defensive help in the draft or free agency and do need to secure a reliable back to replace Kareem Hunt. But this roster is STACKED, particularly on offense. There’s no reason that won’t continue with Patrick Mahomes still on a rookie deal.
2) Chicago Bears
The Bears were one less double doink away from going who knows how far. The foundation has been set for success. Even with the departure of Vic Fangio, Chicago’s defense should strike fear in everyone.
3) New England Patriots
No, Julian Edelman, saying you’re poised to be the third best team in the NFL doesn’t make you scrappy underdogs. Speaking of Edelman, he’s the only known receiver who will be back next season and Rob Gronkowski’s future remains a burning question. But as long as the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick marriage continues any holes will be filled with suitable players and the Patriots will go deep again.
4) Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have an exciting foundation with Andrew Luck on offense and Darius Leonard on defense with one of the league’s best coaches on the sideline in Frank Reich. If they can keep the offensive line largely in tact and add an upper echelon wideout after TY Hilton, the sky’s the limit.
5) Los Angeles Rams
How McVay and Jared Goff respond to the Rams embarrassing performance in Super Bowl LIII will set the tone for next season. But Goff could be dealing with a revamped offensive line and his own limitations as a quarterback.
6) New Orleans Saints
The Saints need help in the secondary and more depth on its offensive line but the nucleus of this team will remain in tact. As long as the Drew Brees-Sean Payton partnership continues, the Saints are contenders.
7) Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens should invest a lot in building around Lamar Jackson, now the face of the franchise. Hopefully they keep C.J. Mosley as well. John Harbaugh’s coaching prowess will help them repeat as division champions.
8) Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks seem to be more written off each season yet they haven’t lost less than nine games since 2011. With Russell Wilson and a young, improving defense, expect to see more of the same.
9) Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have a terrific core with Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Zeke Elliott on offense and Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch wreaking havoc on defense. We might rank them even higher if Jason Garrett wasn’t the head coach.
10) Houston Texans
The Texans have the luxury of $78 million in cap space. Even if they don’t sign free agents Tyrann Mathieu and Jadaveon Clowney, which they should, they will still be able to elevate their roster. DeAndre Hopkins remains one of the most lethal receivers in football.
11) Los Angeles Chargers
As long as Philip Rivers is under center and Derwin James is disrupted on the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers should be contenders. We’d probably have them higher if they weren’t so injury prone.
12) Cleveland Browns
Cleveland strangely won’t be picking in the top 10 anymore due to an incredible improvement with Baker Mayfield. The team already has much of the defense solidified and adding another wideout to compliment Jarvis Landry could pay dividends.
13) Tennessee Titans
All the Titans know how to do is go 9-7, which they have for the past three seasons. Protecting Marcus Mariota’s health is crucial and Tennessee is likely to invest in upgrading its pass protection which finished 30th last season
14) Minnesota Vikings
Forget the Kirk Cousins takes. This team can build around Dalvin Cook and still boasts one of the NFL’s top defenses.
15) Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Foles appears to be a goner and Carson Wentz looked pretty shaky in his return from ACL surgery. There are also questions at running back and the defensive line, where Brandon Graham and Chris Long are unrestricted free agents. But Doug Pederson is truly one of the NFL’s best coaches and has created a healthy culture.
16) Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers finally gets a new coach in Matt LaFleur but even with a boost the Packers probably won’t be able to fill enough of their many holes to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers
With Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown seemingly off the roster it’s hard to see this team on any kind of upward trajectory, especially as the division gets stronger.
18) Miami Dolphins
Brian Flores should infuse this squad with a much needed vision and team finally appears ready to move on from Ryan Tannehill. But who out there is enough of a game changer to catapult this team much above .500?
19) Detroit Lions
Detroit has an exciting wide receiver duo and a somewhat reliable quarterback in Matthew Stafford. But there are a lot of key needs like cornerback and tight end, and Matt Patricia did not exactly appear to be the next Bill Belichick in his first season as Lions head coach.
20) San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco’s success will be predicated on a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo and adding a big play receiver. Could it be Antonio Brown? Kyle Shanahan’s play calling will be a boost no matter who takes the field.
21) Washington Redskins
The loss of Alex Smith was massive for Washington and it doesn’t appear he’ll take the field in 2019. Washington would need to make a lot of splashy free agent signings to catapult their odds but they simply don’t have the cap space to do so.
22) Denver Broncos
John Elway will have do a lot better than Joe Flacco if the Broncos are going to improve upon their 6-10 record from 2018.
23) Atlanta Falcons
Expect a massive roster turnover in Atlanta this offseason. There are several free agents out there like Brandon Graham who could solidify the Falcons’ many holes.
24) Cincinnati Bengals
What the Bengals need most is a head coach who inherently commands respect. Not convinced that Zac Taylor, who failed miserably in getting Jared Goff ready for the Super Bowl, is that guy.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars
We have no idea who the quarterback will be (Blake Bortles? Nick Foles?) But we do know John DiFillippo will be the OC which should boost the offense. Add in the dynamic corner tandem of A.J. Buoye and Jalen Ramsey and this should be a slightly improved squad. But until they have a viable quarterback
26) Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen has shown flashes but the Bills need a lot to improve an offense ranked 30th in 2018. They also need a new locker room leader to fill the massive void left by the retiring Kyle Williams.
27) Carolina Panthers
If Cam Newton misses the 2019 as is being speculated after his shoulder surgery, our appreciation of Newton is likely to skyrocket. His diverse skill set simply can’t be replicated by anyone on the current roster.
28) New York Jets
The Jets should be very active in free agency, have the no. 3 pick and one of the most exciting young arms in football. But they still have a lot of holes to fill.
29) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Love the Bruce Arians hire but it’s hard to have much faith in Jameis Winston at this point, and this team have a plethora of holes that won’tbe resolved in year one.
30) New York Giants
Last season was truly a matter of Saquon Barkley and no one else. Hard to believe that even with the no. 6 overall pick the Giants amass enough talent to make a splash.
31) Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals would be smart to use its no. 1 pick on a pass rusher to pair opposite Chandler Jones. But that’s not enough and the hiring of Kliff Kingsbury doe little to inspire confidence.
32) Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have three first round picks and a ton of cap space but there isn’t a nucleus of offensive talent to make noise in a very stacked division, especially with the franchise’s 2019 in flux.