Better, worse or the same: Stacking up NFL teams' progress in 2020

Will the Cowboys make the NFC title game in the next three years? (1:44)

Marcus Spears shocks the panel by saying the Cowboys won't make the NFC title game in the next three seasons because of defensive struggles against top quarterbacks. (1:44)

Better, worse or the same? That's the question that many fans are wondering about their respective teams for the 2020 NFL season after an offseason of free agency, the NFL draft, retirements of star players and virtual meetings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rather than offering an overarching answer about each roster as it stands, it's more telling to examine it piece by piece, position by position.

Here's a look at NFL Nation teams, listed in alphabetical order, in which reporters have tried to answer the better, worse or the same question for offense and defense:

Jump to:

Atlanta Falcons

Offense: The Falcons and coach Dan Quinn enter a pivotal, must-win season coming off back-to-back, 7-9 campaigns. If the Falcons hope to be contenders, a potentially high-powered offense led by QB Matt Ryan, WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and RB Todd Gurley has to do its part. Read more

Defense: The Falcons made some big investments in their pass rush after posting just 28 sacks in 2019. Will Dante Fowler Jr. and rookie Tyeler Davison make a big enough difference? Read more

Baltimore Ravens

Offense: The Ravens boast the league MVP in quarterback Lamar Jackson and the deepest running back corps, led by veteran Mark Ingram. So what's stopping a march to the Super Bowl? Read more

Defense: Coming on Saturday.

Cincinnati Bengals

Offense: The Bengals have a new face of the franchise in rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, but his new offensive line remains a big question. Read more

Defense: After a 2-14 season, Cincinnati made an extensive effort in overhauling the defensive roster by shelling out top dollar for players in hopes of improving a unit that ranked 25th in points allowed per game in 2019. Read more

Cleveland Browns

Offense: Despite entering last season with plenty of hype, the Browns faltered to a 6-10 finish, extending the NFL's longest playoff drought to 18 years. Are the Browns better, at least on paper? Read more

Defense: Cleveland's new regime in the front office and coaching staff was busy this offseason, making upgrades on the margins to buttress a young core while using all three of its Day 2 draft picks on defense. Read more

Dallas Cowboys

Offense: The Cowboys added legitimate insurance to the quarterback position by bringing in veteran Andy Dalton, but how does the unit look as a whole given its bounty of stars? Read more

Defense: Defensive end Aldon Smith is one of the biggest wild cards for the Dallas defense, which will employ a 4-3 scheme and multiple looks under coordinator Mike Nolan. Read more

Denver Broncos

Offense: The Broncos were one of the most active teams in a stay-at-home offseason, but it will take a little more than on-paper sunshine and rainbows to shake off four consecutive playoff misses and three consecutive losing seasons. Read more

Defense: If things go as the Broncos hope on defense in whatever becomes of the 2020 season, the two starters they traded draft picks for will have to have a big impact. Better injury luck would help, too. Read more

Green Bay Packers

Offense: For a team that was one game away from the Super Bowl last season, how did the Packers address the offense this offseason? Hint, they didn't draft a receiver. Read more

Defense: When last anyone saw the Packers' defense, it was run over by the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game to the tune of 285 yards rushing. Has the unit improved any since that dreadful performance? Read more

Houston Texans

Offense: While trading DeAndre Hopkins was the most shocking change the Texans made on offense this offseason, another switch could end up making just as big an impact -- coach Bill O'Brien giving up playcalling duties. Read more

Defense: The last time the Texans' defense was on the field, they blew a 24-0 lead in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs against the Chiefs. Has Houston done enough this offseason to improve the unit? Read more

Indianapolis Colts

Offense: The Colts went the free-agency route in signing veteran Philip Rivers to a one-year, $25 million deal in March. But quarterback wasn't the only pressing need for Indianapolis. Read more

Defense: Teaming Pro Bowl linebacker DeForest Buckner up with Justin Houston should make the Colts' pass rush a lot more formidable in 2020. Xavier Rhodes should help at cornerback, too. Read more

Jacksonville Jaguars

Offense: If the Jaguars are going to have any chance at competing for the AFC South title in 2020, they're going to have to figure out how to be more effective with pretty much the same personnel. Read more

Defense: Jacksonville lost DT Calais Campbell and might not have DE Yannick Ngakoue because of a holdout, but have made some acquisitions to fill those gaps up front. The secondary is a different situation, however. Read more

Las Vegas Raiders

Offense: In terms of how general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden have addressed their personnel this offseason following a 7-9 finish in 2019, things look on the upswing. Read more

Defense: After finishing No. 19 in total defense, and just 24th in points allowed, adjustments had to be made on the Raiders' defensive side of the ball this offseason. And they were. Read more


Will the move to Las Vegas affect the Raiders negatively?

Doug Kezirian, Joe Fortenbaugh and Preston Johnson are betting under the Raiders' win total of seven because of their new circumstances in Las Vegas.

Los Angeles Rams

Offense: A stacked tight ends room could play an increased role on the Rams' offense this season with the departure of wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Read more

Defense: The Rams didn't make many big splashes on defense this offseason, but unexpectedly getting defensive tackle Michael Brockers back could be huge moving forward. Read more

New England Patriots

Offense: Few, if any, are buying the Patriots as a clear-cut Super Bowl LV contender, nor even the favorite in the AFC East division they have dominated for most of the past two decades. But, is it an accurate assessment? Read more

Defense: The Patriots took some big free-agent hits, with three of their best defenders -- Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins Sr. and Danny Shelton -- landing with new teams. How will this unit rebound? Read more

New York Jets

Offense: The 2019 Jets were historically bad on offense. They finished last in total yards for only the third time in the past 49 years, and general manager Joe Douglas used this offseason to rebuild that side of the ball. Read more

Defense: Depending on how the Jamal Adams situation plays out, this will be a fascinating season for the Jets' defense, which overachieved in 2019 against a favorable schedule. Read more

Philadelphia Eagles

Offense: For a team that shocked the world by drafting a first-round quarterback in Jalen Hurts, there's plenty to consider when questioning if the Eagles' offense improved this offseason. Read more

Defense: Philadelphia moved in the right direction by trading for three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, but in fixing one problem area, did it create an even bigger issue at another? Read more

Pittsburgh Steelers

Offense: The Steelers' offense ranked 30th in yards per game and 27th in points per game a season ago. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's return should solve some of those problems, but only if his September elbow surgery restores him to his 2018 form. Read more

Defense: The Steelers' defense enters the 2020 season with a chance to be better than a year ago thanks to the return of one starter from injury and the unit's overall continuity. Read more

Seattle Seahawks

Offense: The Seahawks hope that a reshuffling of the offensive line and tweaks to the skill positions allow their offense to excel in 2020. Read more

Defense: Seattle's defense underachieved across the board in 2019, with the exception of forcing turnovers. It's why general manager John Schneider made notable -- even if not marquee -- additions at every level. Read more

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Offense: The additions of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski propelled the Buccaneers from relative obscurity to Super Bowl contenders, but those weren't the only moves they made to boost an offense that looks vastly improved this season. Read more

Defense: The Buccaneers might have had one of the splashiest offseasons of any NFL team, but what about their defense? Did they make enough moves to be a legitimate playoff contender despite adding few new players? Read more

Tennessee Titans

Offense and defense: The Titans lost some key leaders from 2019, especially on defense with defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, linebacker Wesley Woodyard and cornerback Logan Ryan. The Titans also lost leaders in tight end Delanie Walker and quarterback Marcus Mariota. Were the Titans able to upgrade in the offseason? Read more