The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have all 22 starters back from last year's team when the 2021 NFL season kicks off, while the Kansas City Chiefs have overhauled an offensive line that cost them a chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions in February.
That's why it's easy to see them running it back again.
Bucs general manager Jason Licht has done an amazing job keeping his team together in this salary-cap era, where Super Bowl champs usually get picked apart like vultures tearing into a dead carcass on the side of the road.
With the entire starting 22 back for the Bucs, it meant this past weekend's draft was more about supplementing and the future. That's a heck of a luxury.
As for the Chiefs, general manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid weren't about to sit still after watching their offensive line get abused by Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. So now they might have five new starters when the season opens, including left tackle Orlando Brown, who they traded to get from Baltimore for draft picks, including this year's first-round pick.
Let's just say the Chiefs won't allow what happened to Patrick Mahomes against Tampa Bay to happen again the next time. That's why the Bucs and Chiefs remain one and two in my post-draft Power Rankings, which are really the first batch looking completely ahead to the 2021 season.
The real surprise with these rankings to many will be the Cleveland Browns in the fifth spot. I think the Browns have had a good offseason and a nice draft, adding to a team that played the Chiefs close in the playoffs last January. The Browns are my early pick to win the AFC North.
As for the bottom team, that's easy. It's the Houston Texans. With the uncertainty about Deshaun Watson's future, and a roster with a lot of holes, the Texans are No. 32 in these rankings. Who else could it be?
|They have the look of a repeat champion with Tom Brady and gang all back. But we know how tough it is to repeat in the modern NFL.||--|
|As long as Patrick Mahomes is slinging it -- and staying upright -- they are the team to beat in the AFC. They do need to generate more pressure on defense.||--|
|They addressed pass rush in the draft, which is what they had to do to try and get past the Chiefs. You can't beat Kansas City without knocking Patrick Mahomes around.||1|
|This is based on Aaron Rodgers playing in Green Bay, which I think happens. They won't trade him, nor should they. Without Rodgers, the Packers are near the bottom of this list.||1|
|Their roster is filled with talent, and they had a solid draft to add to it. If they get healthy seasons from Odell Beckham Jr., Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit, look out.||5|
|Even if it's Jimmy Garoppolo playing quarterback, the return of healthy players makes this a much better team than a year ago. Trey Lance might wait to play.||18|
|Adding a receiver in the first round in Rashod Bateman should help the passing game and Lamar Jackson. That's what's been holding this team back.||1|
|They've had a great offseason, one that puts them in the mix to be a deep-playoff team. It's all on Kyler Murray now.||8|
|Getting Matt Stafford to go with that dominant defense should help this team get in the playoff mix again. But will not having first-round picks for five years come back to bite this team?||3|
|Cam Newton is back, but first-round pick Mac Jones will present a nice challenge to be the starting quarterback. Whoever starts will be set up in a nice situation.||8|
|Getting Carson Wentz to replace Philip Rivers made sense, but he has to play better than he did last year. This is still a young team, with rising players, so it's all on him.||2|
|Have they really improved much since last season? I don't see it. There will be more pressure on Russell Wilson to carry this team.||7|
|I think they are the team to beat in the NFC East with their nasty defense. Ryan Fitzpatrick is good enough to get them to nine or 10 wins, which will win the division.||1|
|The Cowboys will be right there with Washington all season long. The Cowboys drafted mostly on defense, which was the right thing to do, but they need those players to be factors right away. Dak Prescott back healthy and happy matters in a big way.||9|
|They had a heck of a draft and can be a playoff team in 2021. That would mean big-time growth from Tua Tagovailoa. It's definitely possible.||--|
|The Vikings have had a good offseason re-stocking the roster. They're bigger on the offensive line -- which they had to do -- and they've added some nice pieces on defense. Mike Zimmer will have this team back in the playoff hunt.||4|
|After a good draft, the Broncos now have to hope either Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater is good enough to take the team to the postseason. Lock will get the first shot, and I think he will play well this season.||4|
|It's all about the quarterback position. It's Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill fighting for the job. The Saints fans better hope it's Winston who wins it.||12|
|They did a lot of good things to improve the offense around Justin Herbert, especially up front on the offensive line. There will be at least three new starters, which had to happen.||--|
|Ben Roethlisberger is back, but the offensive line has questions and the defense has some too (such as edge rush opposite T.J. Watt). I think they are the third team in the AFC North right now.||13|
|Every year we pick them in this area, then they somehow find their way into the playoffs. They will again be a tough, feisty team. Have they done enough to improve the defense?||10|
|They opted to keep Matt Ryan and try to win now, rather than building for the future. Adding tight end Kyle Pitts will make Ryan a happy man. The offense should be dynamic.||5|
|They traded up to land Justin Fields in the draft, which was a smart move, but the timetable for his play is the thing to watch here. Will it be Fields or Andy Dalton to open the season?||10|
|They are coming off a nice draft and a good offseason, which puts the focus clearly on Daniel Jones. He has to take big steps forward for the Giants to win the division.||2|
|They didn't have a great draft and they have issues at a lot of key spots. It's time for Jon Gruden to get this team to the playoffs or the talk about his job being in jeopardy might begin to bubble to the surface.||8|
|They have their franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, which means they won't be this low for too long. Urban Meyer will have this team moving up quickly.||6|
|Jalen Hurts takes over as the quarterback now with the trade of Carson Wentz. They added a nice weapon for him in receiver DeVonta Smith in the first round of the draft. But there are a lot of questions at other spots.||1|
|Sam Darnold is the new quarterback, but he comes with a lot of doubters. This will be a proving year for him, but the Panthers start the year clearly as the fourth team in the division.||3|
|Joe Burrow is coming off a major knee surgery, but he should be fine. They added some solid pieces in free agency and the draft, but I think they are a year away.||--|
|They have a new general manager, a new coach and a new quarterback in Jared Goff. They also drafted well. But this is a rebuild that is going to take time.||2|
|They have their quarterback of the future in Zach Wilson, but it might take time to get him going. Jets fans need to be patient -- which they've been hearing for years.||--|
|The situation with Deshaun Watson has them down here at the bottom. Nobody can predict if he will play or be suspended or be back. If he doesn't play, they are clearly the worst team in the league -- by far.||2|