The Chiefs won Super Bowl 54 and they’re also coming in at the top spot in our 2020 NFL Power Rankings with the 49ers and Ravens on their heels.
With Sunday’s 31-20 win in Super Bowl LIV at South Florida, the Kansas City Chiefs captured their second Lombardi Trophy and first since 1969. It also means it’s a total wrap on the NFL’s 100th season. Hence the final NFL Power Rankings for 2019, with a little bit of a look ahead (salary cap numbers via Spotrac) to the next decade.
Note: Win-loss records include playoffs.
32. Carolina Panthers (5-11)
4th Place, NFC South
Season Review: From losing their first two games to ripping off five wins in their next six contests to a season-ending eight consecutive defeats, the Panthers were non-competitive far too often the second half of the season and finished with their worst record since going 2-14 in 2010. Head coach Ron Rivera was dismissed after a Week 13 home loss to the Redskins and ironically enough, is now the new sideline boss in D.C. The club would go through three different starting quarterbacks, committed the second-most turnovers in the league with 35 turnovers and only three teams allowed more yards per game rushing.
2019 Turning Point: The Panthers lost their final eight games after a 5-3 start. That included a tough 34-31 loss at the Superdome in Week 12 to the NFC South rival Saints. Joey Slye missed a 28-yard field goal in the closing minutes that would have given Carolina the lead. Instead, the Panthers’ defense wilted late.
2020 Priorities: The new head coach is Matt Rhule (Baylor University). The future won’t include tight end Greg Olsen as he and the team opted to go part ways. As for free agency, Carolina would likely not want to lose tackle Daryl Williams, defensive tackle Vernon Butler and/or cornerback James Bradberry.
31. Detroit Lions (3-12-1)
4th Place, NFC North
Season Review: The second year of the Matt Patricia Era in the Motor City began with some promise. After a Week 1 tie with the Arizona Cardinals, the club came away with wins over the Chargers and Eagles. But the Lions would win only won more game the remainder of the season and closed 2019 with nine consecutive setbacks. This was one of many clubs that utilized three different starting signal-callers (Matthew Stafford, Jeff Driskel and David Blough) and regardless of who was throwing the ball, wideout Kenny Golladay enjoyed a Pro Bowl year. And Detroit’s defense disappointed throughout the season.
2019 Turning Point: A 23-22 loss at Lambeau Field on a Monday night in Week 6 had to be somewhat disheartening considering the Lions jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead and were dominating the eventual NFC North champions. But Patricia’s team couldn’t make the plays in the fourth quarter.
2020 Priorities: The decision was made weeks ago in terms of Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn and both are back for 2020. Some may question the decision on the former considering his 9-22-1 record in two seasons. And will the organization allow defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson to test free agency?