1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It's rare that the best team in all of football returns all 22 starters after hoisting the Lombardi trophy. Tampa Bay's quest towards back-to-back championships is going to be a long road that will require supreme health, but they have all the talent in the world to do it again. Everywhere you look on the field, there are superstars.
If you were to build a grocery list out of every team in order to find the highest quality recipes to cook up a championship roster, then Tampa Bay's would be the tastiest:
- The best receiving core in the league with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, Rob Gronkowski, and O.J. Howard.
- The most talented defense from front-to-back with a front-seven that makes opposing quarterbacks stutter
- Tom Brady
As long as they can remain moderately healthy, Tampa Bay is this year's Thanos-- they are inevitable.
2. Green Bay Packers
I'll just put it out there right now-- I'm taking Green Bay to win the Super Bowl. They've made it to the NFC Championship game two years in a row, they have the reigning MVP back with a vengeance, and their skill position players are only getting better.
Their defense remains one of the best units in the league led by Jaire Alexander, the "Smith Brothers," and Kenny Clark, but their safeties-- Adrian Amos, who is always solid, and Darnell Savage-- will be one of the best duos in the league this season.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City is entering this season with more questions than answers. What happens if Kelce or Hill goes down? Can their defense patch things up? What in the actual hell is this offensive line going to look like by Week 18? But above all else, the biggest question still remains: Can anybody keep up with them in a shootout? Mahomes is the best quarterback in all of football and consistently makes magic out of messiness, but the rest of the AFC is starting to nip at their heels more and more each season.
4. Cleveland Browns
Cleveland may have the most talented head-to-toe roster outside of Tampa Bay. Myles Garret's the second-best defensive player in the league behind a guy who frequently gets put in the same conversation as Lawrence Taylor, Denzel Ward's a dynamic cornerback who can give any number one option fits, John Johnson's a coach-on-the-field type safety who will elevate the backend defense to immeasurable levels, and we haven't even talked about their offense yet.
The Browns have the best offensive line in the league who are proud to pancake defenses in order to build holes for two of the ten best running backs in the league. Head coach Kevin Stefanski demonstrated a command of the offense by prioritizing the run and leaning on Baker Mayfield's talents in play action. Their wideouts aren't too shabby either. We'll see what OBJ can bring to the table after yet another injury, Jarvis is always a reliable and versatile option that plays all over the field, Donovan Peoples-Jones has flashed star potential, and Anthony Schwartz might be the fastest person I've ever seen not named Tyreek Hill or Usain Bolt.
5. Buffalo Bills
Is there going to be a more exciting offense in 2021 than the Buffalo Bills? Josh Allen throws the ball like it curb-stomped his father, Stefon Diggs just might be the best wideout in all of football and they've added Emmanuel Sanders to the mix to complement the rest of the receiving core. Their offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, will likely be hired as a head coach next season, so his experimentation this season's going to be fascinating to watch. Last year he only scratched the surface, this year he's going to bring the backyard football mentality to the forefront even more.
6. Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay's going to have so much fucking fun this year. I can't wait to watch him sprint up and down the sidelines as he watches Sony Michel burst through a hole that definitely shouldn't have been there considering some of their offensive line's struggles. Scheme God is going to bless all of us wannabe football nerds with zone run after zone run, only to sneak in a Stafford play-action toss to Cooper Kupp for a 48-yard dot.
The biggest question in LaLa Land is what will the Rams do without Brandon Staley as their defensive coordinator? Well, it's a good thing they still have Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, and Jordan Fuller to work with. Their new DC, Raheem Morris, is going to be the biggest X-Factor for them, but he has the talent to work with to keep them in the top five defense region of the league.
7. Baltimore Ravens
The same questions still remain in Baltimore: what the hell is going on with their passing attack? Can it be lethal enough to at least supplement an otherworldly rushing attack? Will they run more play action from under center or pistol sets? Can Bateman, Brown and Watkins elevate Lamar's ceiling? We know how forceful their defense is going to be, but this year's going to be about Greg Roman's willingness to modernize the offense with more dynamic passing concepts.
8. Los Angeles Chargers
Anthony Lynn is out and Staley Season is officially underway. Justin Herbert's ready for his second-year leap under Joe Lombardi's guidance. Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler are poised for career seasons. And that defense headlined by Joey Bosa and Derwin James is looking awfully tasty. The only concern with the Chargers all-new coaching staff is going to be able to succeed at a playoff-caliber level. The talent is there, but