LA Chargers: Where the Bolts fit in the NFL power rankings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers leads his team onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 1, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 23-20. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers leads his team onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 1, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 23-20. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

2020 NFL Power Rankings: Super Bowl contenders

These teams have the best shot at hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the 2020 season.

6. 49. . . . Green Bay Packers

The Packers are a lower Super Bowl contender, but mostly because the NFC is just so stacked. Their defense is much improved from where it was a few years ago. With a top-five quarterback like Rodgers, Green Bay will always have some Super Bowl hope.

It sure would be nice if they got that “baaaad man” some help in the draft. The selection of Jordan Love will linger in the media, but Rodgers is still clearly the quarterback for at least the next two or three years. It seems like the Packers are throwing in the towel on him instead of giving him the help he needs.

. . Seattle Seahawks. 5. 36.

If Jacob Hollister gets a few inches closer to breaking the plane, the Seahawks may have very well found themselves facing the Chiefs in Super Bowl 54. Alas, that didn’t happen and their road through the playoffs would be as a wild card.

Expect Seattle and San Francisco to fight it out for the NFC West again. Both teams are mostly running it back in 2020 with a few tweaks here and there.

With Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, the Seahawks should still be in prime position to compete. The one questionable area on the team is the defensive line, especially without Clowney, but it’s still good enough to compete. They could certainly use more pass rush.

. San Francisco 49ers. 4. 42. .

The reigning NFC Champions are still an elite team. They might be better than they even were last year. Trent Williams was a great trade on day three of the draft. He’s going to make an instant impact on the line, especially with the retirement of Joe Staley.

The defense added Javon Kinlaw to a line that was already stacked. While there’s always a chance for defensive regression from year to year, the defense is still really young in most areas, especially at the first two levels.

The 49ers will go as far as Jimmy Garoppolo takes them. Can he be more dynamic in each game to overcome some of his duds, like the performance he put up in the Super Bowl? Garoppolo will eventually be tested in the playoffs and must answer the call in the Niners’ Quest for Six.

26. . . . Baltimore Ravens. 3

The season certainly didn’t end like the Ravens envisioned. The high powered offense came screeching to a halt as Lamar Jackson had a poor game with a ground attack that just couldn’t get going.

Jackson was a dramatically better passer in his second season. However, I’d like to see the Ravens mix it up a little more frequently and lean on his passing ability more. There needs to be a backup plan once Baltimore runs into teams with stout defensive lines and linebacker groups.

Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell were solid offseason pickups that will effectively reload the team’s defensive line. The Ravens also selected Patrick Queen, which was my favorite pick of the first round. I love the selection Kenneth Murray almost as much, but Queen’s fit with Baltimore is perfect.

New Orleans Saints. 2. 15. . .

The Saints went home surprisingly early last year after getting upset by the Vikings in the playoffs. Not many saw that one coming, including myself.

2020 is potentially the most vital year in franchise history. It’s fairly likely that this will be the last season for Drew Brees, and the Saints are going all-in as a result. Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins were two of the best signings in all of free agency. They got quite a discount on Jenkins too, relative to what his value was perceived to be.

Cesar Ruiz and Zack Baun will be able to contribute to the team immediately. Trading all those picks for Adam Trautman was a bit much, but it’s clear they see him as a future starting tight end.

With Michael Thomas and a loaded offensive side of the ball, New Orleans had the ability to throw everything and the kitchen sink at opposing teams in 2020. They do not want an early playoff exit in what could be Brees’ last ride.

. Kansas City Chiefs. 1. 124. .

The reigning Super Bowl champions are number one. As long as they have Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, the offense will remain fantastic.

Mahomes is a generational talent who has the opportunity to usurp every quarterback as the greatest of all time. He’s the most talented quarterback that I’ve ever had the opportunity of witnessing, personally.

The Chiefs are ultimately why everyone else in the AFC West is a wild card contender or a fringe playoff contender. The Chargers have to face them twice, which is no easy feat. They’ve been competitive against the Chiefs in recent years, but need to seal the deal in games if they want any chance to win the division.

The defense has steadily improved from where it once was. Tyrann Mathieu is one of the best free-agent signings of the last decade. Frank Clark and Chris Jones are monsters on the defensive line. Unfortunately, the days of a porous Chiefs’ defense with Orlando Scandrick playing a role are gone.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the name to watch this season. Reid has turned running backs into stars several times before, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him do it again.

Next. Grading the Chargers' defensive line

The LA Chargers came in at 16th in the power rankings for me. There’s some elite talent with great potential, but a lot will depend on the play of Taylor as well as the offensive line. Let me know where you have the Bolts in the comments below.