The NFL is officially back. With COVID-19 protocols and testing set in place, the 2020 NFL season is set to kick off on September 10 when the Houston Texans square off against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. After a busy and eventful offseason, many teams have loaded up in preparation for a potential Super Bowl run this year. With this in mind, here are the top four Super Bowl contenders heading into the 2020 NFL season.
Kansas City Chiefs
The defending champions return with a roster very similar to 2020’s Super Bowl-winning team. Everybody already knows about the Chiefs’ explosive offense headlined by superstars Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. With a solid big-play defense led by Tyran Mathieu and Chris Jones, the Chiefs look poised to make another deep run this season. As long as they have Andy Reid and Mahomes together, the Chiefs should always be in the Super Bowl hunt. The team just needs to stay healthy and catch a few breaks along the way in order to defend their title and repeat as champions in 2020.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have a very well-rounded roster and are once again considered one of the top teams in the NFC. Although the last three seasons have ended in disappointment, the Saints still have all of the pieces in place to make a deep Super Bowl run. New Orleans can pass the ball, stop the pass and rush the passer, three extremely important facets of winning football games. Led by the trio of Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, the Saints have one of the most lethal offensive attacks in the league. All the Saints need now is the ability come up big on both sides of the ball when the games matter most. There is not much time left in the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer Brees’ career, so the Saints’ quest to win one more Super Bowl before he retires is one of the biggest storylines for the 2020 NFL season.
The Ravens have one of the most lethal attacks in the league, with an offense built to superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson’s strengths. Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens look to convert many 4th down chances, playing to win rather than simply not to lose. Baltimore has the best rushing offense in the NFL led by Mark Ingram and the 2019 NFL MVP. Tight end Mark Andrews and receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown help stretch the field through the air as Jackson’s primary receiving targets. On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens play a unique brand of attacking defense that utilizes many blitz schemes. The pieces are in place for another great season, hinging on Jackson being able to replicate much of the success from his MVP-winning season. Now, the Ravens just need to prove they can get the job done in the playoffs after two consecutive first-round exits.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers exploded onto the scene in 2019, winning games in a wide variety of ways before coming up short in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs. While losing some solid pieces in the offseason, San Francisco made sure to replace them with similar talents through the draft and free agency. The main question is if the Niners are able to repeat their success from 2019 in an always loaded NFC. The key to San Francisco’s Super Bowl hopes this year is if quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense (headlined by star tight end George Kittle) are able to take another step forward after a solid 2019 season. Additionally, the Niners’ elite defense led by Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman must build off of their success last year in order for the team to make another deep run in 2020. San Francisco’s secondary posted a league-leading 92.9 PFF coverage grade and the defensive line finished tied fifth in the NFL with 48 sacks in 2019.