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Welcome back, football — we missed you.
The 2019 NFL season starts on Thursday night as the Green Bay Packers head to Soldier Field for a matchup with the Chicago Bears. From there, every game will get us one step closer to the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami.
Every week, HOF Experiences is releasing a power ranking of the top five teams in the league as the road to Miami rolls on and our picture of the league’s top teams gets clearer.
For the first edition of the season, we’ll look at the top teams in the league based on last season’s performance, offseason moves and how they looked in the preseason.
So strap in and get ready. It’s going to be another long and exciting season in the National Football League.
1. New England Patriots (0-0)
Week 1 Opponent: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0)
As has become tradition, the Patriots said goodbye to some top-level talent after the conclusion of another Super Bowl-winning season and replaced them with players that they hope can fill the void left at half the cost. With defensive end Trey Flowers leaving to sign with the Detroit Lions, New England brought in veteran end Michael Bennett to try and mimic some of the explosive pass rusher production. Left tackle Trent Brown signed a historic contract in Oakland, leaving Isaiah Wynn, who missed last season with a torn achilles, with big shoes to fill on Tom Brady’s blindside.
We knew the offense would be without recent-retiree Rob Gronkowski this season, but now it may have lost center David Andrews as well. Andrews could miss the entire 2019 season with a recently discovered blood clot in his lungs, which forced the Patriots to quickly trade for center Russell Bodine from Buffalo last week. The new-look offensive line will force a 42-year-old Brady to be at his best in Week 1, but he'll thankfully have newly reinstated receiver Josh Gordon back.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
Week 1 Opponent: at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
The Chiefs offense could single-handedly propel this team back into the AFC Championship Game this season. Reigning league MVP Pat Mahomes returns behind center for head coach Andy Reid's offense, with familiar faces in tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill lining up. The already-explosive offense added another weapon this past week, with running back LeSean McCoy reuniting with Reid after being cut by Buffalo. McCoy joins a backfield with Damien Williams, who proved himself last season as a great option both in the trenches, running off tackle or branching out on swing routes.
Week 1 will be our first look at the new defensive philosophy under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who installed a 4-3 scheme over the offseason after former coordinator Bob Sutton was fired following last season.
3. New Orleans Saints (0-0)
Week 1 Opponent: vs. Houston Texans (0-0)
It's no secret that the Saints success over the past decade has fallen directly on the performance of quarterback Drew Brees. While that still rings true, New Orleans has built a foundation around their quarterback over the past few seasons to carry some of the load. The rise of running back Alvin Kamara and the jump to stardom for receiver Michael Thomas has turned the Saints offense into a three-headed monster and helped them stay a contender even as their quarterback sits at 40-years old. And don't forget about hybrid offensive threat Taysom Hill, who head coach Sean Payton says will continue to be implemented into the offense in unique and effective ways.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)
Week 1 Opponent: vs. Washington Redskins (0-0)
Philadelphia is officially in the post-Nick Foles era, which should be a positive for the confidence of quarterback Carson Wentz. While injuries continue to plague the North Dakota State product, Wentz is now in full command of the Eagles offense and says he's made the lifestyle choices necessary to improve his health for a 16-game regular season. Philadelphia added to Wentz’s bag of toys this offseason by signing wide receiver DeSean Jackson and trading for running back Jordan Howard from Chicago.
While the exits of Chris Long and Michael Bennett left holes in the defense, the signing of defensive tackle Malik Jackson should keep the Eagles stable in the trenches.
5. Los Angeles Rams (0-0)
Week 1 Opponent: at Carolina Panthers (0-0)
The reigning NFC Champions remained relatively quiet this offseason compared to the commotion they caused the previous summer, but still opened and closed the door on some of the biggest stars on the defensive side of the ball.
They said goodbye to defensive stalwart Ndamukong Suh, who signed in Tampa Bay, but re-signed defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and brought in veteran safety Eric Weddle to solidify their secondary.
The buzz heading into Week 1 for head coach Sean McVay's team is that his elite offense that ran rampant in the NFC last year is back to full health. Slot receiver Cooper Kupp, who tore his ACL last November, should be back in the mix of quarterback Jared Goff's arsenal in Week 1.
Running back Todd Gurley should also be back in full force, as his play was stifled for most of last season with a nagging knee injury. McVay has hinted at a potential three running back rotation to start the season with Gurley, Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson Jr.
The journey to the 2020 Super Bowl officially kicks off this week. You can secure your spot in Miami for the biggest game of the season with a 2020 Super Bowl Ticket Package from Hall of Fame Experiences. Packages include a game ticket, access to the Saturday Gold Jacket Autograph Session, Gold Jacket Club and much more!
The Gold Jacket Club is a 3-hour pre-game party hosted by NFL legend and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, featuring appearances from Gold Jackets, current players and other NFL legends.
2020 Super Bowl PACKAGES