Opinion: 10 Bold Predictions for the Upcoming NFL Season

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Opinion: 10 Bold Predictions for the Upcoming NFL Season

Owen Stewart, Staff Reporter

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Believe it or not, football season is coming upon us again. Training camp starts up soon, and the NFL Draft is already in the books. Last season was full of twists and turns, ending in a Broncos Super Bowl victory, coming (somewhat) behind the arm of Peyton Manning. Now, Manning is retired, and the Broncos currently don’t seem to have a solution at QB. The offseason provided many other twists, such as Eagles running back DeMarco Murray signing with the Titans and then the Titans traded their number one pick to the LA Rams, who just moved there from St. Louis. With all of those offseason headlines and more, here are my ten bold predictions for the upcoming NFL season.

 

  1. The Broncos will still make the playoffs, despite starting Mark Sanchez/Paxton Lynch at QB.

Coming off of a Super Bowl championship, the Broncos look depleted at QB. They lost future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning to retirement, and Brock Osweiler signed with the Texans in free agency. Many people are expecting a big dropoff, but with the strength of Denver’s defense, they’ll hang in there. Their division means they will play Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego twice, which should lead to at least four wins right there. While the beginning of their schedule is tough, it weakens out later on. The defense plus the schedule should equal a playoff berth, although it may not be as the division champion.

 

  1. The Patriots will go 0-4 during Brady’s suspension.

With the recent news that Tom Brady’s four game suspension for Deflategate has been reinstated, Patriots fans are going ballistic…again, and they have reason to. In those four games, the Patriots play the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills, all teams that could certainly pull away with a win against a Brady-less New England team. While it isn’t a huge downgrade to play Jimmy Garoppolo, he certainly isn’t Brady, and it will affect the Patriots season.

 

  1. Tyrod Taylor will prove he is for real in Buffalo.

After backing up Joe Flacco for four years in Baltimore, Tyrod Taylor took off last season in Buffalo, earning the starting job in a three-way battle. Taylor threw for over 3,000 yards and completed nearly 64 percent of his passes in 2015. There are some skeptics, saying it was just a fluke. I think not. Taylor showed that he has all the tools to succeed as a starting quarterback, and he will keep showing it this year. Will it end up in a playoff berth for the Bills? Possibly.

 

  1. Jared Goff will win NFL Rookie of the Year and lead the Rams to a Wild Card berth.

After being selected number one overall by the Rams in the Draft, Jared Goff will go off (ha, Goff, go off, get it?). He has all of the tools to become a great NFL quarterback, although he will need to take some snaps under center and learn an NFL offense pretty quickly. Once he makes the necessary adjustments, Goff and running back Todd Gurley could combine to create a dynamic duo for the newly relocated Rams, leading them to a postseason berth.

 

  1. Johnny Manziel’s NFL career is over.

Johnny Manziel came into the NFL with incredibly high expectations, but to say the least, has not lived up to them. Two agents have bailed on him because of his continuous arrests and the photos surfacing of Manziel’s partying off of the field. After spending the first two seasons of his career with the Browns, he is currently a free agent, and with all the bad publicity he brings to a team, I don’t see him playing in the NFL again.

 

  1. The Vikings will repeat as NFC North champions.

In 2015, the Vikings shocked the NFL by winning the NFC North, pulling an upset over the heavily favored Green Bay Packers. Minnesota has the tools to do it again, as blossoming QB Teddy Bridgewater and veteran RB Adrian Peterson are beginning to really gel as a duo. A division title and a deep run into the playoffs wouldn’t be a surprise for the Vikes this season. They just need a questionable defense to hold up.

 

  1. Olivier Vernon will shore up a poor Giants D-Line.

The Giants had only 23 sacks as a team last year, but an offseason signing of Olivier Vernon will up that number. Not only will Vernon get his own, but he will also open up many opportunities for other linemen or linebackers to get to the quarterbacks.

 

  1. Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris will become just the seventh duo of teammates to each run for 1,000 yards.

Last season, the Cowboys went just 4-12, as Tony Romo missed most of the season and they couldn’t keep a consistent threatening rushing attack going. Jerry Jones and Co. addressed the problem this offseason by signing former Washington running back Alfred Morris, and drafting Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick. Elliott, a polarizing, very talented back, should be the primary back immediately, but Morris will get his carries as well. The Cowboys have arguably the best O-Line in the league, and that will allow both Elliott and Morris to reach 1,000 yards rushing, becoming the first teammates since DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in 2009 to each run for 1,000+ in the same season.

 

  1. Odell Beckham will set career highs in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Odell Beckham has jumped onto the scene in New York for the Giants over the first two seasons of his career, totaling over 2,500 yards and 28 touchdowns in his career. This season could be his best yet. New York improved their offensive line, which should give Eli Manning some more time to get rid of the ball, giving Beckham some more targets. Some career highs for him this season wouldn’t be surprising, and the always entertaining Beckham v. Norman matchup will happen twice this year.

 

  1. The Jacksonville Jaguars will finish above .500 and fight for a playoff spot.

Jacksonville got lucky in the draft, as star corner Jalen Ramsey slipped to the number five spot, and former UCLA standout Myles Jack slid all the way to the second round due to injury concerns. Ramsey and Jack will both be day one starters in Jacksonville, and with the young offensive duo of QB Blake Bortles and running back TJ Yeldon, this could be Jacksonville’s best season in a while.  

 

  

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