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Every NFL team’s biggest strength & weakness heading into the 2021 season

No team is perfect. As we get closer to the 2021 NFL regular season, here’s a look at the biggest strengths and weaknesses of all 32 teams.

 

Arizona Cardinals Strength: Passing Game

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Arizona ranked in the middle of the pack in passing last season but has high hopes entering Kyler Murray’s third season. Part of the optimism is the improved offensive line, led by center Rodney Hudson, as well as new wideouts A.J. Green and Rondale Moore. Added to DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk, Murray has an embarrassment of riches at receiver.

 

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Arizona Cardinals Weakness: Cornerbacks

Arizona Cardinals Weakness: Cornerbacks

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Arizona moved on from Patrick Peterson in the offseason, but it remains to be seen if their cornerback issues will be solved. Replacement Malcolm Butler struggled recently for the Titans, and Byron Murphy remains inconsistent on the opposite side of the field.

 

Atlanta Falcons Strength: Quarterback

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Atlanta shed a lot of talent in the offseason, but Matt Ryan is still around. The 2016 MVP continues to play at a high level into his mid-30’s, leading the league in completions in back-to-back seasons. The loss of Julio Jones will hurt, but Ryan could be kickstarted by rookie tight end Kyle Pitts and new head coach Arthur Smith.

 

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Atlanta Falcons Weakness: Secondary

Atlanta Falcons Weakness: Secondary

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The Falcons allowed the most pass yards in the league last year, due in large part to a leaky secondary. They’ve made some changes, but it remains to be seen if they’ve found any answers. The team will have three new starters joining 2020 first-round pick A.J. Terrell in what could be another long year for the defense.

 

Baltimore Ravens Strength: Running Game

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Baltimore showed an elite running game again last season, led by the dynamic wheels of quarterback Lamar Jackson. The team will employ the tandem of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards at running back this season, trying to match their impressive 192 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry from last season.

 

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Baltimore Ravens Weakness: Wide Receivers

Baltimore Ravens Weakness: Wide Receivers

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The team has tried to fix the wide receiver issue for the last several years, and hope this year’s efforts will make a difference. The Ravens signed Sammy Watkins and drafted Rashod Bateman in the first round. Unfortunately, Bateman is already slated to miss the start of the season due to injury, which could limit the passing game again.

 

Buffalo Bills Strength: Quarterback

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What a difference a year makes. Josh Allen became an elite quarterback in 2020, increasing his completion rate by more than 10% with the help of new wideout Stefon Diggs. He will try to show last year wasn’t a fluke.

 

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Buffalo Bills Weakness: Pass Rush

Buffalo Bills Weakness: Pass Rush

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The Bills defensive ends got old fast, ranking in the middle of the pack in sack rate last season. They addressed the issue by drafting Gregory Rousseau in the first round, but the pressure remains on Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison to produce.

 

Carolina Panthers Strength: Offensive Weapons

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Even after losing Christian McCaffrey to injury last season, the Panthers showed off a bevy of weapons last season. That continues this year with McCaffrey healthy, and the team drafting former LSU star Terrace Marshall to replace Curtis Samuel. D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson will remain stars if Sam Darnold can disperse the ball.

 

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Carolina Panthers Weakness: Defense

Carolina Panthers Weakness: Defense

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Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Panthers’ defense. They almost completely rebuilt the unit last year with new personnel, and it was a work in progress, allowing 25 points per game. They’ve addressed some needs in the offseason by adding Haason Reddick and Jaycee Horn, but there remain holes on all three levels. 

 

Chicago Bears Strength: Young Offensive Talent

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Bears fans finally have something to be excited about after the team selected former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the first round of the draft. He joins a core of young offensive talent that includes David Montgomery, Darnell Mooney, and Cole Kmet in what could be a budding offense under Matt Nagy.

 

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Chicago Bears Weakness: Offensive Line

Chicago Bears Weakness: Offensive Line

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Chicago’s line is worrisome, to say the least, entering the year. Cody Whitehair and James Daniels are solid options at guard, but the tackle spots are unsettled entering the year. The team did address that area in the draft with second-round pick Teven Jenkins, but blocking could be a problem this season.

 

Cincinnati Bengals Strength: Offensive Weapons

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Cincinnati’s last franchise player A.J. Green in the offseason, but given his recent struggles, there’s a strong argument that the Bengals’ weapons are even better in 2021. The team drafted former LSU star Ja’Marr Chase in the first round, joining established wideouts Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Joe Mixon also continues to be one of the most dynamic running backs in the league.

 

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Cincinnati Bengals Weakness: Run Defense

Cincinnati Bengals Weakness: Run Defense

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The entire defense was a problem last season, but particularly stopping the run. The Bengals allowed 5.1 yards per carry, second-worst in the league, along with 148 yards per game. Linebacker remains an issue for the team, though the middle of the defensive line is improved after adding Larry Ogunjobi from the rival Browns.

 

Cleveland Browns Strength: Running Game

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The only thing better than one elite running back is two, and the Browns have a legitimate claim between Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The Browns averaged 4.8 yards per carry last season with the help of that back tandem and an excellent offensive line.

 

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Cleveland Browns Weakness: Quarterback

Cleveland Browns Weakness: Quarterback

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Baker Mayfield wasn’t bad last year, but he was also far from elite. The former No. 1 overall draft choice had a mediocre 223 yards passing per game and a 7.3 yards per attempt. The good news was that he only threw eight interceptions, but the Browns likely need more from Mayfield to advance further this season.

 

Dallas Cowboys Strength: Offense

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The Cowboys were banged up in almost every area last season, and that was particularly felt on the offensive line as well as at quarterback after Dak Prescott was injured. Despite a shoulder scare in training camp, Prescott looks primed for a rebound and has a strong line in front of him. The weapons in Dallas are also as good as any team in football, including Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup.

 

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Dallas Cowboys Weakness: Defense

Dallas Cowboys Weakness: Defense

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As good as the Cowboys’ offensive potential looks this year, their defense could be in for another long season. Dallas allowed 29.6 points per game last season, fifth-worst in the league. The team did add Micah Parsons in the draft, but will mostly be looking for improved contributions from their incumbent talent along with a better scheme from their new defensive coaching staff.

 

Denver Broncos Strength: Secondary

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There’s a lot to like from Denver’s defensive talent, and the secondary looks particularly strong. Justin Simmons could be the best safety in football, and the team has an excellent quartet of cornerbacks in Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Patrick Surtain II, and Bryce Callahan. It’s a good thing given the quarterback talent in the AFC West.

 

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Denver Browns Weakness: Quarterback

Denver Browns Weakness: Quarterback

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Quarterback has been the biggest issue holding the Broncos back since Peyton Manning’s departure, and it’s not clear they have improved this year. There is a preseason fight between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting job this season, but neither quarterback has shown upper echelon ability.

 

Detroit Lions Strength: Offensive Line

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The Lions have a roster set up to ground and pound opposing defenses after drafting Penei Sewell in the first round of the draft. He joins an impressive group that includes Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow, which should help establish the tough identity of new head coach Dan Campbell.

 

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Detroit Lions Weakness: Defense

Detroit Lions Weakness: Defense

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The Lions allowed the most points and yards in football last season. While they have a new coaching staff, the defense still lacks talent at all three levels with numerous holes. It’s likely to be another long year.

 

Green Bay Packers Strength: Quarterback

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Aaron Rodgers is back! After an offseason of drama, he will start under center for at least one more season. At age 37, Rodgers continues to play at an elite level and gives the Packers a chance at another championship.

 

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Green Bay Packers Weakness: Offensive Line

Green Bay Packers Weakness: Offensive Line

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The Packers were able to lock up left tackle David Bakhtiari last season, but their line took a major hit for the second consecutive offseason after losing center Corey Linsley. The team will be undergoing a shuffling on the interior, and also had a downgrade at right tackle last year after losing Bryan Bulaga.

 

Houston Texans Strength: Running Back

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Houston lost significant talent in the offseason, but they didn’t leave running back to chance. The team added Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, and Rex Burkhead to David Johnson, making for one of the deepest backfields in the NFL.

 

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Houston Texans Weakness: Everything Else

Houston Texans Weakness: Everything Else

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The holes in Houston are many after the team lost their two faces of the franchise in Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt. Tyrod Taylor is nothing more than a game manager at quarterback, and the defense ranked near the bottom of the league in most categories last year. Houston has many problems.

 

Indianapolis Colts Strength: Offensive Line

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While they have some injury issues entering the year, Indy should have a dominant line again in 2021. The team is counting on Pro Bowlers Quenton Nelson and Eric Fisher to return early in the year from injury, while Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith have enough ability to hold down the fort in the meantime.

 

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Indianapolis Colts Weakness: Quarterback

Indianapolis Colts Weakness: Quarterback

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The Colts hoped they fixed their quarterback issues by acquiring Carson Wentz in the offseason, but his history of injuries has also popped up again following foot surgery. Even after he returns, his recent decline is worth noting, averaging only 6.4 yards per pass over the last two seasons.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Strength: Offensive Weapons

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Taking Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall was a foregone conclusion for the Jaguars, but they’ve done a nice job building around him. They added weapons Travis Etienne, Marvin Jones, and Phillip Dorsett to D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and James Robinson. If the offensive line can hold up, Jacksonville should be able to move the ball this season.

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars Weakness: Defense

Jacksonville Jaguars Weakness: Defense

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The Jags allowed the second-most points and yards in the league last year, and rebuilding the unit is going to take him. The team did address some needs to the draft and sign corner Shaquill Griffin, but they need more production across the board.

 

Kansas City Chiefs Strength: Offense

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The Chiefs have sported an elite offense for the last four seasons, and there’s no sign of the unit letting up after the team addressed their offensive line issues in the offseason. Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce remain arguably the best players in the NFL at their respective positions, and the team expects big things out of youngsters Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Mecole Hardman this year.

 

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Kansas City Chiefs Weakness: Cornerbacks

Kansas City Chiefs Weakness: Cornerbacks

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Cornerback isn’t a problem area for the Chiefs, but they do have some unknown after letting veteran Bashaud Breeland walk in free agency. Charvarius Ward and L’Jarius Sneed are solid young contributors, but the team is counting on unproven talent behind them, including first-round retread Mike Hughes.

 

Las Vegas Raiders Strength: Passing Game

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Derek Carr has shown solid improvement under Jon Gruden, with 7.9 yards per attempt in consecutive seasons. The wide receivers are still a work in progress, but in the meantime, Darren Waller has developed into one of the premier receiving tight ends in the game.

 

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Las Vegas Raiders Weakness: Defense

Las Vegas Raiders Weakness: Defense

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The Raiders had an aggressive offseason on defense, adding Yannick Ngakoue and Casey Hayward, along with second-round pick Trevon Moehrig. Those were necessary additions after the team allowed 30 points per game last year, third-worst in the league.

 

Los Angeles Chargers Strength: Quarterback

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It didn’t take long for the Chargers to find a franchise quarterback after moving on from Philip Rivers. Justin Herbert had a terrific rookie season, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, and has a chance to build on that campaign in 2021.

 

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Los Angeles Chargers Weakness: Durability

Los Angeles Chargers Weakness: Durability

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The Chargers have built a talented roster, but the durability of several key players is in question. Star safety Derwin James missed all of last season, and defensive end played only 12 games. Running back Austin Ekeler managed to play only 10 games in his first season as a starter, as well.

 

Los Angeles Rams Strength: Passing Game

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The Rams expect a big rebound on offense after acquiring Matthew Stafford from the Lions. The team had one of the top offenses in the league upon Sean McVay’s arrival, but Jared Goff’s struggles have sent the team in the wrong direction. With the help of a talented wide receiver corps, led by Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, LA’s passing game should be elite again.

 

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Los Angeles Rams Weakness: Offensive Line

Los Angeles Rams Weakness: Offensive Line

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The Rams line has held its ground recently, but they are taking some risks this year. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth turns 40 in December, while the interior also has some questions. With Matthew Stafford’s recent injury history, fans do have reason for concern.

 

Miami Dolphins Strength: Secondary

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Miami’s turnaround in 2020 was miraculous, and it was partly driven by the team’s great secondary. Xavien Howard and Byron Jones have become arguably the best cornerback tandem in the league, and the team added Jason McCourty and second-round pick Jevon Holland to help at safety.

 

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Miami Dolphins Weakness: Quarterback

Miami Dolphins Weakness: Quarterback

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Is Tua Tagovailoa the answer at quarterback? The Dolphins are betting on it after allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to walk in free agency, but the former Alabama star’s play in his rookie season was inconsistent. The team did add Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle to help.

 

Minnesota Vikings Strength: Offensive Weapons

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Minnesota’s identity has transitioned from defense to offense recently, and the offensive weapons are a big reason. The Vikings have a collection of stars with Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen, while tight end Irv Smith Jr. could also take a big step forward in his first season as a starter.

 

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Minnesota Vikings Weakness: Secondary

Minnesota Vikings Weakness: Secondary

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Minnesota has swung and missed multiple times at cornerback in the draft and is relying on veterans Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland this year. The team also allowed safety Anthony Harris is walk in the offseason after a disappointing 2020. After allowing 7.7 yards per pass last year, the team needs to quickly show improvement.

 

New England Patriots Strength: Coaching

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The Patriots’ playoffs streak ended last year, but Bill Belichick remains the best coach in NFL history without great debate. After spending big in the offseason, the team is hoping to rebound in 2021.

 

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New England Patriots Weakness: Continuity

New England Patriots Weakness: Continuity

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While the Patriots needed their offseason influx of talent, it could create an adjustment period. New England has new, prominent players in nearly every position group, and rookie Mac Jones could soon take over at quarterback. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Pats get off to a slow start this season, as a result.

 

New Orleans Saints Strength: Run Defense

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The Saints defense has leaned on stopping the run over the last several seasons, and limited opponents to only 3.8 yards per carry last season. The defense has seen some major losses upfront in the offseason but should remain stout against the run, led by middle linebacker Demario Davis.

 

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New Orleans Saints Weakness: Receivers

New Orleans Saints Weakness: Receivers

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The Saints wideouts already looked like a mess before it was announced that Michael Thomas would miss the start of the season due to ankle surgery. There isn’t much-proven talent on the team beyond Thomas, which is especially concerning with the team having a new starting quarterback.

 

New York Giants Strength: Offensive Weapons

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There are no excuses for third-year quarterback Daniel Jones this season after the Giants added Kenny Golladay, Kyle Rudolph, and Kadarius Toney. With Saquon Barkley also returning from injury, the Giants’ weapons are as imposing as any team in the league.

 

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New York Giants Weakness: Quarterback

New York Giants Weakness: Quarterback

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Daniel Jones has shown flashes in his first two seasons, but he’s also been a turnover machine. Over 27 career games, Jones has thrown 22 picks and fumbled 29 times. New York won’t win consistently if Jones can’t protect the ball.

 

New York Jets Strength: Defensive Line

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There’s a lot to rebuild in New York, but the Jets’ defensive line looks strong. The team added Carl Lawson, Vinny Curry, and Sheldon Rankins to young star Quinnen Williams, creating the ability to dominate at the line of scrimmage.

 

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New York Jets Weakness: Offense

New York Jets Weakness: Offense

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The Jets made some sound moves in the offseason, but it could be time for them to mesh. Zach Wilson will start under center in his rookie season, and the team is still building their receivers and offensive line with additions like Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Alijah Vera-Tucker.

 

Philadelphia Eagles Strength: Offensive Line

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Philly’s offensive line was one of the big reasons they won a Super Bowl four years ago, and its injury issues were a big reason for their decline. The unit is healthy in training camp, with Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson back from injury. A dominant line gives the Eagles a chance to bounce back quickly.

 

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Philadelphia Eagles Weakness: Quarterback

Philadelphia Eagles Weakness: Quarterback

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The jury is still out on Jalen Hurts as a starter in the NFL, but it’s his team in 2021. His play was up and down when he saw an opportunity late last season, and the team is hopeful that DeVonta Smith will help him reach his potential.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Strength: Defense

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Pittsburgh’s defense was dominant again last season, allowing only 21 points per game while finishing first in sack rate. There have been some changes in the secondary, but the Steelers still have a host of elite talent on defense, including T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, Devin Bush, Joe Haden, and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

 

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Pittsburgh Steelers Weakness: Offensive Line

Pittsburgh Steelers Weakness: Offensive Line

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The offensive line was a problem for Pittsburgh last year, and it remains a concern in 2021. Almost the entire unit has been replaced, and the Steelers are lacking many proven players to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

 

San Francisco 49ers Strength: Running Game

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After a disappointing 2020 season due to injuries, the 49ers expect their offense to get back on track with the strength of the running game and Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling. The additions of center Alex Mack and running back Trey Sermon could also go a long way in fixing that area.

 

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San Francisco 49ers Weakness: Secondary

San Francisco 49ers Weakness: Secondary

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The 49ers were lucky to get great play out of Jason Verrett last season after Richard Sherman was injured, but Verrett’s injury history makes relying on him a huge risk. San Francisco has also seen inconsistent play at safety and had a tough time finding interceptions last season.

 

Seattle Seahawks Strength: Offense

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Seattle had another solid year on offense with the elite play of Russell Wilson, averaging 28 points per game and nearly five yards per carry on the ground. The team still wasn’t satisfied, making a switch at offensive coordinator and improving their offensive line during the offseason.

 

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Seattle Seahawks Weakness: Pass Rush

Seattle Seahawks Weakness: Pass Rush

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Paying Russell Wilson elite quarterback money has required the Seahawks to cut corners in other areas. The team is taking a big risk after moving on from Jarran Reed in the offseason. They did add Kerry Hyder and brought back Carlos Dunlap, but getting to the quarterback could be difficult.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Strength: Talent

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The Bucs brought back all 22 starters from their Super Bowl team, and seemingly have elite talent at every position. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Antonio Brown helped put the finishing touches on a great roster last year, and the team even added third-down back Giovani Bernard in the offseason.

 

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Weakness: Age

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Weakness: Age

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The risk of bringing back this Super Bowl roster is that the decline could start quickly due to age. Tom Brady is the most obvious candidate to decline at age 44, but Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Pierre-Paul, Lavonte David, and Ndamukong Suh are also long in the tooth.

 

Tennessee Titans Strength: Offensive Weapons

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After losing Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis in the offseason, Tennessee quieted the doubters by acquiring Julio Jones from the Falcons. He joins A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry to give the Titans truly elite weapons on offense.

 

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Tennessee Titans Weakness: Secondary

Tennessee Titans Weakness: Secondary

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The secondary was an obvious weakness for Tennessee last season, allowing 271 passing yards per game. They addressed that area by replacing Malcolm Butler with Janoris Jenkins, but it remains to be seen if the change will help.

 

Washington Football Team Strength: Defense

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Years of early-round draft picks and spending on defense has created one of the best defenses in the league. Washington allowed only 21 points per game last season and has clear star power with Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Da’Ron Payne, and Landon Collins.

 

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Washington Football Team Weakness: Offensive Line

Washington Football Team Weakness: Offensive Line

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Washington’s quarterbacks were running for their lives last year. To the team’s credit, they worked to improve that area by adding two new tackles while also bringing back Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff. The line’s play could determine if the team returns to the playoffs this season.




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