It's really tough to stay at the top at a constant level in the NFL because of the way the league works with the salary cap and the draft order.
The NFL salary cap stops teams making more money than others because of their home markets, and then spending more on free agency, while the worst NFL teams from a given season have the highest draft picks the year after. That way, the league remains balanced and every team has a chance to rebuild and compete, even if it takes more than just a single season.
With so much change at the top, every year there are new playoff teams compared to the year before, whether that's because the roster was not good enough and they reinforced it, or because injuries played a part in the bad season. Check out 5 NFL teams who can bounce back from a bad 2020 and compete for a playoff spot.
5 NFL teams on the verge of a bounce-back season
#1 - San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were set to compete for the NFC title once again in 2020 before so many of their stars got injured early in the season. The team brought back most of its free agents and they also have the Trey Lance deal to show as a sign of strength in depth.
There were important losses, none more important than Robert Saleh flying over to New York to become the head coach of the Jets. But with the returns of Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, plus a healthier offense with Raheem Mostert, Jimmy Garoppolo and Deebo Samuel all starting week 1, we can see this team going back to the top of the NFL.
#2 - Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers were a better team last year than their 7-9 may show. With the coaching staff changing, they are now looking for one of the AFC's wild card spots, and even the division title if Justin Herbert continues to progress and develop into a superstar quarterback.
The offensive line was reinforced throughout free agency and the draft, and the return of Derwin James is massive for the secondary. Look out for this team making a deep run in the NFL playoffs if they manage to stay healthy.
#3 - Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins, aside from his vaccination status, has silently been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the last two years. He couldn't take the Vikings to the playoffs last year because the defense was mainly playing in a cover-two scheme with third-stringers, but a quarterback of his level can always be playing in January.
But the reason the Vikings should bounce back is because their defense, when healthy, can be way better than the sad thing we saw in 2020. All three levels should improve from last year, and the offense will be good enough to take the team to the postseason.
#4 - Miami Dolphins
Brian Flores and Chris Grier have had a fantastic rebuild over the last three years. The Dolphins were a single win away from the postseason last year, and they had the luxury of picking twice in the top 20 of this year's draft.
Tua Tagovalia impressed in the NFL preseason, and while it's tough to draw any conclusions from August games, his evolution will be the key to whether Miami gets a postseason berth or not.
#5 - Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys were on pace to have one of the best NFL offenses ever last year until Dak Prescott went down with a serious injury. Now, with their main star healthy, look for Kellen Moore's offense to pick up exactly from when Prescott went down.
Their defense was also a big problem, but with a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn and a cover-three scheme that fits the roster better, this will be a bounce-back season for both sides of the ball.