Clay’s NFL projections and unit grades: Best, worst offenses and defenses, plus ranking all 32 teams

  • Fantasy football, NFL analyst for ESPN.com
  • Member of Pro Football Writers of America
  • Founding director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy
  • 2013 FSTA award winner for most accurate preseason rankings

Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season is just around the corner. What better way to raise — or temper — expectations than a complete breakdown of predictions and projections?

Below is a guide of what to expect once the season kicks off Thursday, from power rankings, to teams that will score the most points and defenses that will allow the least, to the toughest and easiest schedules, as well as predictions for the playoffs and Super Bowl LV.

I usually kick this thing off with a look at the best and worst positional units across the league, but I did an expanded version of that in August, so be sure to also check that out. Instead, let’s begin with a look at the schedule.

Easiest schedules

1. Miami Dolphins

The departure of Tom Brady from New England leaves the door wide open for a new champ in the AFC East. Though Miami has work to do in terms of roster construction (more on that later), the league’s lightest schedule will help the cause. Miami will benefit from six games against a division that got worse during the offseason (looking at you, Jets and Patriots), as well as unique games against the Bengals and Jaguars.

2. Indianapolis Colts

The combination of a quality roster and the league’s second-easiest schedule have the Colts primed for a run at the AFC South title. They’ll face off with both North divisions, and their unique AFC games are the underwhelming Jets and Raiders. At least prior to the playoffs, the Colts’ only “cold” game will be a Week 16 trip to Pittsburgh.

3. Detroit Lions

Similar to Indianapolis, Detroit has a shot at a division title after a strong offseason and thanks to a light projected schedule. The Lions will face off with the South divisions and their unique games are Arizona and Washington.

Hardest schedules

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