2020 NFL Power Rankings: True wild card contenders
These are teams with more concrete chances to potentially hone in on a wildcard spot and have a playoff run.
Don’t look now, but the Cardinals are ascending. Last year, I was admittedly pretty skeptical of Arizona. Kliff Kingsbury seemed like a rough hiring on paper, but he showed some promise in his first year. Kyler Murray also took home Rookie of the Year honors, and looks to be very, very promising as a pro prospect.
Landing DeAndre Hopkins was just one great move during Arizona’s offseason. Isaiah Simmons might be the most dynamic defensive player in the draft and he fell right into their laps at eighth in the draft. Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence were also very solid additions for a team that really needed help on the line. If Vance Joseph takes advantage of these defensive additions, Arizona could feasibly be a wildcard team.
The Steelers had truly terrible quarterback play last year. Whether it was Mason Rudolph or Devlin Hodges, they simply couldn’t rely on a quarterback. Despite that, they managed to go 8-8 and came very close to getting the wild card. Under the new playoff format, the Steelers would’ve been in.
Pittsburgh has the roster and coaching to do well regardless of quarterback play. While I’m concerned about how healthy Ben Roethlisberger will be when evaluating them, it feels like they can get to .500 or close to it with or without him returning to great play. As long as Mike Tomlin is there and the defense is healthy, Pittsburgh figures to be in the mix for a wild card.
Drew Lock played very well in the last month of the season. There will be questions about whether he’s ready to carry a team for a full 16 games in his second year, but nothing so far would suggest he isn’t. They’ve certainly surrounded Lock with the weapons he needs to succeed by drafting Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, as well as acquiring Melvin Gordon in free agency.
Other than finding out whether Lock is the franchise quarterback, another key piece is the secondary. Harris was a huge loss in free agency, and I’m not sure A.J. Bouye past his prime and Isaac Yiadom are ready to replace him.
Without further ado, next up on the rankings is….