With organized team activities still on hold, we might as well speculate on and analyze the NFL’s 32 teams. Here’s one big question surrounding each of them.
Arizona Cardinals: Can Kyler and Kliff take off together? — It’s Year 2 for Murray and Kingsbury, neither of whom had NFL experience before promising debuts in 2019. This time, they will have DeAndre Hopkins at their disposal.
Atlanta Falcons: Was the second half of 2019 a fluke? — Atlanta hasn’t been particularly good since Super Bowl LI, but the Falcons woke up and finished 6-2 down the stretch last year. Are they back?
Baltimore Ravens: Can Lamar avoid regressing? — Jackson had a uniquely unreal MVP season, but it probably wasn’t totally sustainable. He might regress in some ways, but he could still grow as a passer. It’s a huge year.
Buffalo Bills: Can Josh Allen take off? — The Bills are semi-stacked on paper, but they will need more consistency and progress from their franchise quarterback. Year 3 will be telling if Buffalo is ever going to win its first 21st-century playoff game.
Carolina Panthers: Is Teddy a franchise quarterback? — Bridgewater’s trying to fill a former MVP’s shoes, but he hasn’t been a starting NFL quarterback since 2015. Carolina can’t succeed if that check bounces.
Chicago Bears: Can Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles emerge? — If neither does, the otherwise talented Bears might be looking at a rebuild.
Cincinnati Bengals: Is Joe Burrow the real deal? — The hype is there and nobody has patience these days. The No. 1 overall pick will have to show signs of progress quickly.
Cleveland Browns: Do they finally have the recipe? — They lacked the right coach and protection for young quarterback Baker Mayfield last year, but they might have it right with Kevin Stefanski, Jack Conklin, and Jedrick Wills.
Dallas Cowboys: What’s the deal with Dak? — Will he get his deal? Will he hold out? And if/when he takes the field, can he take the next step? It probably depends on that in Dallas.
Denver Broncos: Is Drew Lock the answer? — He won four of his five starts as a rookie and looked impressive in doing so, but that’s a damn small sample. The Broncos desperately need the 2019 second-round pick to be the solution under center.
Detroit Lions: Does Matthew Stafford have it in him? — The veteran quarterback was having the season of his career before a bad back shut him down midway through. If the back can hold up and he can produce as he was, the Lions have a shot. Otherwise, nope.
Green Bay Packers: Is Aaron Rodgers toast? — The highest-rated passer in NFL history hasn’t been the same since suffering a collarbone injury in 2017. If he doesn’t get it together in 2020, he might not have a lot left.
Houston Texans: Can they somehow make progress without DeAndre? — Hopkins has been a first-team All-Pro in three consecutive seasons, but Stafford was better after Calvin Johnson retired. The Texans are in trouble, but Deshaun Watson is a stud. You never know.
Indianapolis Colts: What does Philip Rivers have left? — The old man’s rate-based numbers plummeted in his age-38 season, but he’ll at least have a stronger offensive line in Indy.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Can Gardner Minshew II actually be the guy? — It’s extremely rare for a quarterback to succeed after being drafted beyond Round 4, but the sixth-rounder had some magic moments in 2019. The semi-gutted Jags can’t succeed if Minshew does not.
Kansas City Chiefs: Can they become the first repeat champion since 2004? — It’s so damn hard to defend a championship these days, but the Chiefs look wildly well-positioned after an offseason that contained few major losses.
Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Carr or Marcus Mariota? — Or neither? While Carr is the top dog, he never felt like Jon Gruden’s guy. It would be surprising if Mariota didn’t get a shot at some point.
Los Angeles Chargers: When will Justin Herbert take over? — Tyrod Taylor won’t sell a lot of tickets or attract a lot of television viewers in L.A.
Los Angeles Rams: Do they have enough talent left to compete? — They have lost Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Dante Fowler Jr., Eric Weddle, Cory Littleton, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and LaMarcus Joyner in the last 15 months, and that division is so damn strong.
Miami Dolphins: Are they ready? — Or more precisely, is Tua Tagovailoa? If not, they will likely need another year in rebuild mode.
Minnesota Vikings: Did they lose too much talent? — The cap-strapped Vikes will have to try to compete without Stefon Diggs, Everson Griffen, and their top three cornerbacks from 2019.
New England Patriots: Is the dynasty over? — With sophomore middle-round pick Jarrett Stidham taking over for Tom Brady and several key cogs departing on defense, it will be hard for the Pats to keep it going following a 4-4 conclusion to 2019.
New Orleans Saints: Does Drew Brees have at least one more year in him? — For what it’s worth, the 41-year-old had the highest-rated season of his career in 2019.
New York Giants: Can Daniel Jones take the next step? — The 2019 first-round pick’s rookie campaign was a roller-coaster ride. If he can take off, the Giants have the offensive talent to make a playoff push.
New York Jets: Same question regarding Sam Darnold — He’s flashed when healthy in short spurts in his first two seasons, but the 2018 first-rounder has yet to totally take control. The Jets absolutely have the talent to win if their young quarterback can show more.
Philadelphia Eagles: Can Carson Wentz stay healthy? — It hasn’t happened in a while, and they’re unlikely to be bailed out by rookie Jalen Hurts.
Pittsburgh Steelers: What does Ben have left? — Roethlisberger led the league in interceptions in 2018 and was off to a terrible start in 2019 before an elbow injury ended his season. Now he’s 38. The Steelers need a bounce back.
San Francisco 49ers: Which way will Jimmy Garoppolo go? — Could his Super Bowl experience cause the same problems Jared Goff’s did? Jimmy G has to be better for San Francisco to get back to that game.
Seattle Seahawks: Who will step up on defense? — They simply need more than Russell Wilson and the offense and are without Jadeveon Clowney now too.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Can Tom and Gronk put them over the top? — Brady struggled mightily in the second half of his age-42 season, and Rob Gronkowski wasn’t the same even before retiring for a year.
Washington Redskins: Is Dwayne Haskins the guy? — He struggled quite a bit as a rookie, but the 2019 first-round quarterback did post a 131. passer rating in his final two starts.