The 2020 NFL regular season is winding down. By now, teams have separated themselves as Super Bowl contenders, playoff contenders, and well, already eyeing what to do in the upcoming draft.
There have been historically good teams this season. There’s also been historically bad. Here are the best and worst teams in the NFL, ranked 1-32.
Tier 1 — Super Bowl Contenders
Teams that have a legitimate shot at winning the Lombardi Trophy.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-1)
The Chiefs have won seven straight games. They are the defending Super Bowl champs. And they have the MVP favorite in quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Simply put, Kansas City is the most complete team in the NFL. The offense is spoiled rich with weapons while the defense is No. 6 in points allowed (21.2).
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1)
Pittsburgh is no longer undefeated. The Steelers suffered their first loss of the season on Monday against Washington. Even when undefeated, Pittsburgh had some detractors saying the team had yet to own a statement win. Before the loss to Washington, Pittsburgh barely edged teams like Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, and Denver. Well, now the Steelers have a chance to prove how good they are on Sunday against the 9-3 Buffalo Bills.
3. New Orleans Saints (10-2)
The New Orleans defense has been solid all season and ranks No. 4 in scoring defense (20.1). The unit has especially stepped up with Drew Brees sidelined the last three games. New Orleans has allowed nine, three and 16 points in those three games as its win streak extends to nine. Brees is hoping to return to the starting lineup before the regular season ends, making the Saints even more dangerous for a long playoff run as the NFC’s top team.
4. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
Seattle’s defense has been worrisome all season and could be what prevents this team from achieving its ultimate goal. But recently, the offense hasn’t been at its best either. The Seahawks have averaged just 19.8 points per game in the last four contests. This is still a dangerous team that has big-time potential in the playoffs. It’s go-time now to break out of this offensive slump.
5. Green Bay Packers (9-3)
The Packers are another team with issues on defense. Yet having Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs can make up for a lot of team deficiencies. Green Bay has a favorable final four-game stretch and could jump New Orleans for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Give this team home-field advantage along with Rogers wanting to add a second ring as his career winds down, and the Packers look to be in the mix for the Super Bowl.
Tier 2 — Playoff Contenders
Teams firmly in the playoff picture that are good enough to win a postseason game or two.
6. Buffalo Bills (9-3)
Besides a 42-16 loss to the Titans back in October, Buffalo has had solid performances all season. The other losses came against Kansas City and Arizona on a Hail Mary. Josh Allen has proven to be a franchise quarterback, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,403 yards, 26 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
7. Cleveland Browns (9-3)
This Browns team is charismatic and fun to watch. Cleveland builds more confidence as its win streak extends to four games. The defense is a concern, especially if this team makes it deep into the playoffs and faces an elite offense. But running back Nick Chubb and quarterback Baker Mayfield has this offense playing at a high level.
8. Tennessee Titans (8-4)
What a tremendous career turnaround Ryan Tannehill has had. Of course, having an elite rushing attack led by Derrick Henry helps. But Tannehill has played a pivotal role in turning this Titans team into a contender. Do they have enough juice to make a run for the Super Bowl? We’re skeptical there, although Tennessee did reach the AFC Championship last season.
9. Los Angeles Rams (8-4)
The Rams are stout on defense, ranking No. 2 with 291.3 yards allowed per game. When the offense is clicking, this is a very balanced team. The key word there is when. Los Angeles has been inconsistent offensively, and quarterback Jared Goff has been up-and-down with 17 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. The unit still has big-play potential, but a deep playoff run seems unlikely.
10. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
The Colts have had some impressive wins in the second half of this season, defeating teams like Green Bay and Tennessee. Indianapolis is building a lot of momentum toward the playoffs and have a great shot at winning at least three of its final four games (Las Vegas, Houston, Jacksonville). A Dec. 27 matchup with Pittsburgh will tell us a lot about this team.
11. Miami Dolphins (8-4)
Miami finished 5-11 last year. Now the Dolphins are riding an 8-4 record down the final stretch of this season. With Tua Tagovailoa returning last week from a thumb injury and throwing for a season-high 296 yards, the Dolphins eye a strong finish to the season and a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. From there, can Miami win a playoff game for the first time since 2000?
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
The bye week came at a good time for the Bucs. They lost two straight games to the Rams and Chiefs to drop to 7-5. Tampa Bay had Super Bowl aspirations entering this season with the arrival of Tom Brady. The current record probably isn’t where many expected it to be at this point in the year. This team definitely has the players and coaches in place to make a run. With the Vikings, Falcons, Lions, and the Falcons again remaining on the schedule, our confidence can grow with the Bucs if they enter the playoffs with an 11-5 record.
Tier 3 — Filling Out The Playoff Bracket
Teams in position to make the playoffs, but aren’t expected to do much if they are in the postseason.
13. New England Patriots (6-6)
After what looked like this season was going to be a rebuilding one for the Patriots, they have won four of their last five games to position themselves for the playoffs. Several other teams are hovering around .500 as well. Three of the final four opponents are against teams higher up in these rankings (Rams, Dolphins, and Bills). The playoffs would be weird without New England involved. It’s right on the cusp of making its 12th straight postseason appearance.
14. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)
The Ravens haven’t lived up to preseason expectations. They could still make the playoffs, but don’t appear to be a serious threat to make a championship run. While the defense has been lights out, allowing 19.3 points per game to rank No. 3 in the NFL, the offense just isn’t as explosive as it was last season. Baltimore has scored 17 points or fewer in three of the last four games.
15. Las Vegas Raiders (7-5)
If not for a Hail Mary touchdown pass in the final seconds, the Raiders would have handed the Jets their first win of the season. Las Vegas is allowing more points (28.9) this season than scoring (26.9), yet still sits nicely in the playoff picture at 7-5. After a 43-6 loss to Atlanta and the near-debacle against the Jets, how does Las Vegas finish in the last quarter of this regular season?
16. New York Giants (5-7)
The NFC East has gotten its fair share of criticism this year, seeing as no team is above .500. But the Giants are making a run down the stretch here with four wins in a row and could be a dangerous team in the postseason. Quarterback Daniel Jones looks about ready to return to the starting lineup after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury.
17. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
Minnesota needed overtime to beat the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars. Once 1-5 this year, the Vikes can’t complain too much about being 6-6. But the last three weeks (loss to Dallas, narrow win against Carolina, narrow win against Jacksonville) doesn’t create a lot of confidence in this team. If they do make the playoffs, don’t expect the Vikings to do much.
18. Arizona Cardinals (6-6)
Arizona has now lost three straight games to drop to 6-6. The blueprint to stopping this offense has been established: stop the read-option by implementing a five or six-man front, and then force Kyler Murray to stay in the pocket to make throws. Arizona is still in the hunt for the playoffs, but those chances are hanging on by a thread.
19. Washington (5-7)
Washington is still very much in the playoff picture, tied with the Giants at 5-7 in the NFC East and winning three straight games. Seeing Alex Smith back on the field is a feel-good story and it would be cool to see him lead this team to the playoffs. But it’s hard to put a lot of faith in this franchise finding a way to win the division. New York looks like the stronger team right now and is 2-0 against Washington.
Tier 4 — We’re On To 2021
Teams that are eyeing the future.
20. San Francisco 49ers (5-7)
The 49ers are at the bottom of the tough NFC West division. They could make the playoff bubble very interesting down the stretch with winnable games against Washington and Dallas. And then the last two games are against divisional opponents Arizona and Seattle. But for any of those upsets to happen, the offense needs a big spark.
21. Carolina Panthers (4-8)
Carolina lost five of its last six games entering last week’s bye. This is still a tough out for its remaining opponents on the schedule. The Panthers play hard, but the pieces aren’t there in 2020.
22. Atlanta Falcons (4-8)
For having notable names and weapons on offense, Atlanta just doesn’t have it this season. Matt Ryan’s career is winding down and the future of the quarterback spot is something the franchise should address in the draft.
23. Detroit Lions (5-7)
Detroit has been quite average this season. Not terrible, but not good enough to keep head coach Matt Patricia. There’s a chance the season could end on a sour note, though, as the Lions face four straight playoff-caliber teams: Packers, Titans, Bucs, and Vikings.
24. Chicago Bears (5-7)
A 5-1 start was followed by a six-game losing streak for the Bears. Near the bottom of the league in offense, Chicago has plenty of fixes to address in the offseason.
25. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8)
The Eagles technically aren’t out of playoff contention just yet. They are looking for any kind of spark to end the year, going as far as benching franchise quarterback Carson Wentz and inserting Jalen Hurts.
26. Dallas Cowboys (3-8)
Just like the Eagles, the Cowboys are “in the hunt” for a playoff berth. But really, does anyone see Dallas finishing strong to win the NFC East?
27. Los Angeles Chargers (3-9)
The Chargers have found their guy in rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. That gives plenty of hope for the future as there is a lot to work with on this roster.
28. Denver Broncos (4-8)
This offense is in serious need of help. Denver scores the second-fewest points per game this year with 18.8. The quarterback struggles are real here.
29. Houston Texans (4-8)
Deshaun Watson is one of the most fun players to watch in the league. But he needs help in Houston, both in weapons and protection.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-9)
With just about nothing to work with, Joe Burrow showed flashes in his rookie season. That is until the rookie tore his ACL, adding one more sour note to a forgettable year for the Bengals.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11)
Jacksonville showed some life by taking Minnesota to overtime last week. Rookie running back James Robinson is an absolute beast and a bright spot for this team. But overall, this has been a huge disappointment of a season for Jacksonville, featuring the worst defense in the league.
32. New York Jets (0-12)
The Jets nearly won their first game of the year last week. But a head-scratching blitz allowed Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs to get behind the defense for a 46-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the game. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was fired soon after the game. So there’s the 2020 Jets for you.
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Sam Herder is a writer for BetMGM and HERO Sports. A North Dakota State journalism grad, he spent several years in the print media industry before writing for online outlets. Sam has covered sports at all levels — high school, college, and professional — since 2011.