The 2020 NFL season is just around the corner. Several NFL teams who missed out last season will look to return to the NFL playoffs this year. The competition in the NFL this season is strong, especially in the NFC. With the addition of a seventh playoff spot in each conference, these teams will battle each other for that extra chance at the post-season. Here are five teams that could return to the NFL playoffs.
Five Teams That Could Return to the NFL Playoffs
The Dallas Cowboys finished ninth in the NFC for the 2019 NFL season. This comes with a disappointing 8-8 record. Quarterback Dak Prescott had an impressive season statistically, but it did not translate into a playoff birth for Dallas. The Cowboys lost star cornerback Byron Jones this off-season but drafted Trevon Diggs from Alabama in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. They made several other good additions to their defense via free agency.
Dallas signed veteran defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe to fill the middle. They also signed safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who had a great 2019 with the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys return a similar offense with a change at wide receiver from Randall Cobb to first-round rookie CeeDee Lamb. They will be without center Travis Frederick permanently following his retirement from football. However, if Dallas can play to their full potential, they can easily reach 10 wins and secure themselves a playoff spot in 2020.
The Rams were the seventh team in the NFC in 2019. This would put them in the playoffs with the new format for 2020. They had nine wins and missed out due to the six 10-win teams in the NFC last season. The Rams had an underwhelming year but still managed to win nine games. If they can improve their consistency in 2020, they should be able to secure a playoff spot. They moved on from Todd Gurley this off-season and replaced him with rookie Cam Akers in the second round.
They also traded receiver Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans but replaced him with rookie Van Jefferson in the second round. The Rams looked to add some youth to their roster that still boasts several top players including Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Jared Goff. Hopefully, for the Rams, they will be able to return to their 2018-19 form which led them to the super bowl.
The Steelers were the seventh team in the AFC in 2019. This would put them in the playoffs if it were 2020. They managed to win eight games last season despite losing their longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in week one. The Steelers had more quarterback trouble throughout the season seeing Devlin Hodges start six games for them. Pittsburgh got to eight wins off the backs of their defense. The Steelers’ defense has several fantastic players including T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Cameron Heyward. The Steelers led the NFL in total sacks and were a top-five defensive unit overall. With the return of Ben Roethlisberger and a full off-season for their stars to get healthy, the Steelers should find even more success in 2020. If Pittsburgh can stay healthy through the season, they should have no problem finding a playoff birth.
The Buccaneers finished the 2019 NFL season eleventh in the NFC. They had seven wins and looked to be lost behind the dominant teams of the NFC. However, the Buccaneers had a drastic change this off-season and now feature an offense of Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski. The Bucs’ passing offense is incredible and could be the best unit in the NFL this season. Both Evans and Godwin made the pro bowl last season with quarterback Jameis Winston throwing for over 5,000 yards on the season.
Winston is now the Saints’ backup after the Bucs let him go due to his lack of progress as a former first overall pick. His 30-interception season also contributed to his departure and they managed to fill the hole well with a future hall-of-fame quarterback, Tom Brady. The Bucs also have a talented young defense that will continue to improve each season. These additions should take them from the NFC’s basement to the top floor. Look for Tampa Bay to increase their win total by at least two games in 2020.
The Denver Broncos are an interesting team with an underrated roster. Their offense is young and unproven, but the draft stock behind their players shows that they have the potential to be special. Drew Lock showed promise in his few starts for the team last season and wide receiver Courtland Sutton has become a pro bowl caliber player. They already had a talented backfield with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman but added pro bowl caliber running back Melvin Gordon in free agency. They used the draft to add more weapons to their offense with receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler in rounds one and two respectively. With a defense that contains recently acquired defenders A.J. Bouye and Jurrell Casey along with Von Miller, Denver has a chance to earn a playoff spot in 2020.
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