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Ranking The Top 10 NFL Teams With The Brightest Five-Year Windows

Just because an NFL team is currently a powerhouse doesn't mean they'll still be a feared team five years down the road. Contract limitations, performance fluctuations, salary cap restrictions, and other factors all contribute to the NFL power dynamic morphing every year.

This offseason, we think we have a good sense of which teams are poised for the most success over the next five years. Some of these teams are perennial Super Bowl favorites, like the Kansas City Chiefs, while others are up-and-coming teams stocked with talent and draft capital, like the Chicago Bears.

Which NFL teams are poised for the most success over the next five years? Can some of the NFL's up-and-coming teams take that next step?

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Honorable Mentions

  • Indianapolis Colts: This team almost made the playoffs without Anthony Richardson. Imagine what they could be with Richardson healthy and a full offseason to prepare for a playoff push.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: This Jaguars team has plenty of talent, including Trevor Lawrence. However, they won't crack the top 10 until they can get over the hump.
  • Green Bay Packers: The Packers are right on the fringe of being placed within the top 10. For now, though, the jury is still out on how this team will perform as their defense gets older. The same concern exists in the backfield with Aaron Jones. Plus, Green Bay doesn't have a dominant WR1.

 

10. Chicago Bears

The Bears are trending in the right direction and should be able to reach the playoffs soon. Their defense started to turn heads in the back half of the 2023 season, largely thanks to standouts like Montez Sweat, Jaylon Johnson, and Tyrique Stevenson. Not only can this unit hold its own, but it is also young, presumably keeping its core in place for years to come.

Chicago's front office finds itself in a very favorable position ahead of a quarterback-heavy draft. The Bears have the luxury of deciding whether they want to spend the No. 1 pick on a quarterback (Caleb Williams) and trade Justin Fields for additional capital, keep Fields and trade the pick for a haul of future selections, or keep Fields and trade back a few spots so that they can still fetch a top playmaking talent, such as Marvin Harrison Jr. Having this flexibility is huge for the Bears. Chicago football fans should be excited.

 

9. Dallas Cowboys

Nobody can deny that the Cowboys have a very good team on paper. This roster is full of star players left and right, with Micah Parson anchoring the defense and perennial Pro Bowl candidates Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb on offense. This Dallas front offense is aggressive, and they've also shown a tendency to hit on draft picks.

The main reason why they fall to No. 9 in this ranking is a failure to win when it matters. Dallas' lack of playoff success in recent years is well documented, and it's time to start questioning whether head coach Mike McCarthy is the right man for the job. Plus, could a record-breaking deal for Prescott limit the Cowboys' spending on key additions?

 

8. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles endured a shaky 2023 season that saw them go from the league's best team to a Wild Card spot to an early elimination in the playoffs. This team has plenty of talent on offense and some young standouts on defense, but questions exist about the future of their aging offensive line and subpar secondary.

The coaching staff is a whole separate topic of discussion. Nick Sirianni has not proven he should be locked into a long-term deal, and there are concerns on both sides of the ball after Philadelphia moved on from its offensive and defensive coordinators. There is real talent on this team, but the front office and coaching staff need to figure some things out quickly.

 

7. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were one of the most intimidating teams in football this past season; nobody would have been surprised to see them defeat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship and advance to the Super Bowl. Playoff breakdown aside, the Ravens are a team that will continue to compete for a Super Bowl berth in years to come.

They're left outside the top five here because of some clear holes on the roster. It's hard to feel great about their wide receiver corps, their running back room is arguably a disaster, and the front office will have to be picky about re-signing defensive standouts. On a positive note, fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that Lamar Jackson is finally signed long-term.

 

6. Buffalo Bills

There's some adversity facing the Bills, including Gabe Davis' impending departure, Stefon Diggs' odd 2023 campaign, and a defensive decline that saw the unit drop from second in DVOA in 2022 to 12th in 2023. The Bills are going to remain perennial playoff contenders and potential Super Bowl candidates for a while.

Plenty of credit goes to Buffalo's front office and coaching staff for building a deep, talented team. Locking up Josh Allen long-term was key, and he has plenty of talent around him in Diggs, James Cook, and Dalton Kincaid. Meanwhile, as much as the defense did flash some concern in 2023, the unit still has the potential to be very good. Look no further than the Bills' 31-10 beatdown of the Cowboys in which they held Dallas to just 134 passing yards.

 

5. San Francisco 49ers

Claims that the 49ers' window is closing are simply befuddling. Sure, it would have been nice to see Kyle Shanahan not fall to 0-2 in Super Bowls as San Francisco's head coach, but this is still a very talented team and their playoff woes don't compare to a team like the Cowboys or Dolphins. We can still trust them to dominate on the big stage as they showed while going toe-to-toe with the Chiefs just a few weeks ago.

The 49ers do have some aging players, and it's fair to wonder just how long someone like Christian McCaffrey can remain a workhorse back. With that said the San Francisco front office has been afforded plenty of flexibility thanks to Brock Purdy's cheap contract, which will pay him a little more than $2 million over the next two years combined. Having an affordable yet talented quarterback is a godsend, and the 49ers' window is still wide open.

 

4. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals' 2023 season can be defined by two sequences: a slow start and Jake Browning's time under center. Cincinnati tends to struggle early in the year, which can put them in a bit of a hole. While they are usually able to dig themselves out, that wasn't the case this past year because Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending wrist injury.

It has become clear that keeping Burrow healthy isn't easy, but if he can stay on the field for a full year, there's no reason why Cincinnati can't make the Super Bowl. In terms of long-term outlook, the Bengals will have to do some cap gymnastics when they re-sign Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, but it helps that they already have Burrow signed long-term and can reset the financial clock at running back next offseason.

 

3. Detroit Lions

The Lions were a candidate for No. 1 on this list, largely due to the dominant youth movement that is brewing. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Sam LaPorta are all superstars on offense. Aidan Hutchinson is a pure game-wrecker on defense. Detroit might actually be the team with the highest ceiling.

It feels weird to say Jared Goff is holding the Lions back, but there's also no denying that he's not in the top two tiers of quarterbacks. He does his job quite well, but looking over a five-year window, it's unclear for how long he can be dependable. Detroit can take its time finding a new quarterback, but they will need to answer that question eventually, unlike the rest of the top-five teams here.

 

2. Kansas City Chiefs

Some people might argue that the Chiefs aren't going to be a weekly favorite in 2024, and while that may be true, their window is far from closed. Patrick Mahomes is going to keep this team competitive for at least eight more years, and the Chiefs have to feel good about the weapons around him in Rashee Rice, Isiah Pacheco, and a solid offensive line. Travis Kelce's career won't last forever, but there's no doubt he has a few more years left in the tank if he wants to keep playing.

The salary cap is always going to be an area of concern for the Chiefs, and that will be re-ignited this spring with Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed headed for free agency. However, general manager Brett Veach has shown he is capable of playing cap gymnastics, and the Chiefs can also create space by restructuring contracts like Mahomes'.

 

1. Houston Texans

You'd be hard-pressed to find a team that had more fun and showed more promise than the 2023 Texans. C.J. Stroud silenced the haters with his Rookie of the Year campaign, and the Texans showed they have unlocked something special with the likes of Will Anderson Jr., Tank Dell, and Nico Collins.

The Texans' ceiling is incredibly high. They have draft capital, they have financial flexibility, and they have a very smart, young coaching staff. 2023 was merely a small glimpse into what this Houston football team can deliver in years to come.



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