Every NFL season brings a plethora of excitement and surprise. No one can be certain about what the upcoming season will hold, who will be the Cinderella story, or who will underperform. Only time will truly tell how the season will unfold, and that's what keeps fans on the edge of their seat, coming back for more week in and week out. Football is great because it makes Sundays less about the upcoming work or school week and keeps you engaged and eager. There truly is nothing like football season, and it's almost back. It's the silver lining to the end of the summer. Football makes everything better at least for the few hours that it's on each week. I think just about everyone is ready to see what's in store for us this year. I know that I am.
The following is my list of crazy outlandish predictions that I think could actually happen. Don't knock predictions until they are untrue because I'm sure that at least some of these things will happen. Do you have any bold predictions for this upcoming NFL season? Do you disagree with any my predictions? Let me know.
15 Odell Beckham Has a Down Year
Odell Beckham has had such a great start to his young career it seems a little too good to be true. In his first two seasons, he played like true veteran, making highlight catches and scoring touchdowns in crunch time. Don’t kill me if I’m wrong, because this is a very bold prediction, but I think Odell will fail to maintain his status as a top-5 receiver. Everyone has to come crashing down at some point, I just see ODB crashing a bit sooner than everyone else expects. With the added attention surrounding him, teams will surely be game planning for him. Also, last season Josh Norman proved that DBs can get under his skin quite easily and you best believe that teams will be trying to rattle him early and often. He'll also be facing Norman twice this year, with the CB having signed with the Redskins.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Beckham is still solid, but I do question whether or not he can keep killing secondaries the way he has. All the time in the national spotlight can’t help either.
14 J.J. Watt Disappoints
J.J. Watt has been the league's best defensive player since he has joined the league (in my opinion, and the opinion of probably 90% of the NFL fanbase). He has done it all, but, unfortunately for the star, it hasn’t come without a price. He is always banged up, but he still fights through it even when he has blood gushing from his nose. Nonetheless, he seems to have finally hit a wall. This offseason, he had surgery on his back and might still be feeling the repercussions. Surgeries are nothing light to recover from, not even for J.J. Watt. If Watt's back bothers him at all during the season, it could be a huge red flag. The Texans don’t want to put the health of their best player in jeopardy so they may have to play it safe if they want to have him healthy in the future.
13 Patriots Go 1-3 Without Brady
There’s no doubt that the Patriots have been an elite team over the past decade, but with Brady out for a quarter of the season, it might be a struggle. If Brady is gone, the whole team may fall apart. Every top NFL team needs a solid quarterback to lead them to the promised land. Jimmy Garoppolo needs to prove the he can be that quarterback. But I, like so many others, doubt that he can be the guy to lead the Patriots. Some may say that this is very bold of a prediction, but many experts are predicting the exact opposite, I can't see that happening. Week 1 against Arizona won't happen, they have a great defense and all around team. Week 2 against the Dolphins is a possibility but I just don't see them pulling it out because the Dolphins have a lot of rising stars like Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry and more. Week 3 against the Texans will be a close one but I think this will be the game that the Patriots do pull out. And Week 4 will be against the Bills and with their defense, every play will be a battle for Garoppolo.
12 Eagles Make the Playoffs
Whether it's the fact that I'm an Eagles fan or the fact that the NFC East is extremely weak, I don't know, but what I do know is that I think the Eagles will impress this season - impress enough to do something that most fans don’t believe will happen. The first season without Chip Kelly may be just what the team needed. Although Carson Wentz probably won't be playing this season, I think Sam Bradford will be able to hold it down until Wentz is a ready and able NFL starting quarterback.
Another key addition that I think will come into play for the Eagles this season, is Dorial Green-Beckham. He provides potential and size to the Eagles passing attack as long as he keeps his head in the game. Most important is the Eagles opportunistic defense/special teams which has been a TD scoring machine the past few seasons.
11 Jimmy Graham Thrives in Seattle
Jimmy Graham seemed unstoppable until he got traded from the New Orleans Saints to the Seattle Seahawks - a move that many thought would make the Seahawks and even more dominant team than before. Everyone knew that Graham wouldn't get the same use that he did in with the New Orleans Saints, but they didn't expect him to drop down to basically a non-threat in the passing game, something that Graham was supposed to dramatically improve. But now since this is his second year with the system and Marshawn Lynch retired, I think his role will grow and his numbers should grow along with it. We know Graham has the physical ability and skill to play to compete with the best of 'em, but we need to see the connection between Wilson and Graham grow. Not only that, but the trust the coaching staff has with Graham is important as well.
10 Panthers and Cam Newton Fall Back Down to Earth
Last season, the Panthers only lost two games throughout the entire 2015 season, including a loss in the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos. The season before last, they lost nine games. Last season may just have been an aberration, however. Although most people don't expect the Panthers to repeat their insane season last year, I don't think they will be one of the elite teams in the league this season either. I predict the Panthers will go 10-6 next season, which is by no means bad, but not in the elite tier, a spot that they were firmly a part of last year. Newton will revert back to his old self, and the Panthers won't make it past the second round of the playoffs, which is a far cry from their dominant season from a year ago. No one can keep up what they did last season. That was completely unexpected.
9 Jets Go 12-4
The Jets have made some great moves this offseason, some that could catapult the team over the top. The addition of Matt Forte, the re-signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick, amongst others, has put them in prime position to have their best season in years. The defense is already strong and with the improved offense they will be a force in the AFC East. Some people may be shocked by this prediction, but this list is all about shocking you, right? I've seen stranger things happen and I truly believe the Jets will be a good team this season and possibly win a couple of playoff games as well. Would it be too hard to believe that they could win two more games than they did last season with their improved roster? I have no doubt that they will a be an improved team this year the only question is, how much have they improved?
8 Andrew Luck Has Another Disappointing Year
Before last season, Andrew Luck seemed destined for stardom, but after last season, which was full of injuries and interceptions, Luck isn't the sure thing as he once was. The Colts thought they had their quarterback of the future, but that will be in question if he has a season like last. Unfortunately for the organization and their fan base, I’m predicting that he does. Before last season I called Andrew Luck overrated, then he proceeded to play poorly, and I don't think this season will bring much change, as he has yet to put it all together in his brief NFL career. People are already putting Luck into the top tier of quarterbacks, but if you look at his numbers they aren't consistent with the elite QBs of the NFL, something that is imperative for him to be in the conversation. This will be a proving season for Luck and we will see what he has.
7 Josh Gordon Reverts Back to His Old Self
Just as fast as Josh Gordon rose to stardom, he declined. There was no doubt that he was one of, if not the, best wide receiver in the league before he failed his drug tests, setting him back time and time again. He has been suspended since 2014 when he only played 5 games, and hurt the Browns in the process. Even after his two-year hiatus, Gordon will be back and better than ever, as he’s still young and touts the elite skills from just a couple of years ago. Gordon gets tested regularly since he is now on the league's watch list, so we know he is clean, and I predict he will stay that way. In my opinion, the only thing that could hold Josh Gordon back from having a great season, is either more failed tests, or the QB situation in Cleveland. Other than that, it should be smooth sailing.
6 Allen Robinson Scores More Touchdowns Than Julio Jones
By no means am I saying that Julio Jones is a bad player. Actually it is quite the opposite, as he is arguably the best wide receiver in the league. I have such high expectations for Allen Robinson that I think that he will be able to trump the beast himself, Julio Jones. Allen Robinson will have the second most touchdowns by any wide receiver in the NFL this season, as he is primed for a breakout campaign. That's right, trailing only Antonio Brown, the great Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver. Allen Robinson had a breakout season last year, and this year he will follow it up with an even more impressive season this year. Another reason why I think Robinson will thrive this year is because of Blake Bortles and the improving Jags offense that is built around him. Bortles and Robinson will continue to develop chemistry from game 1, on.
5 Jameis Winston Proves Why He Was The #1 Pick
Jameis Winston had a terrible start to his rookie season and career, something that wasn't expected by many. In his first NFL game against the quarterback drafted immediately after he was taken, Winston threw 2 interceptions and got outplayed by Marcus Mariota. This year, I think Winston will improve on his solid numbers from last season and put a sizeable gap in between himself and Mariota. A year ago Winston was considered the better of the two quarterbacks thus getting drafted 1st, and he doesn't want to give up that title. That alone should be enough motivation for him to push himself and have a strong sophomore season. Last season Winston threw 22 TDs and 15 picks which is good for a rookie but I predict that he will throw 25 TDs and 11 interceptions this season which would drastically help his numbers and solidify himself as the better of the two quarterbacks.
4 Cowboys Finish Last in the NFC East
The Dallas Cowboys had a godawful 2015 campaign. It was destined for failure as soon as Dez Bryant went down early in the season with an ankle injury and continued to go downhill from there when Tony Romo broke his collarbone. The Cowboys have notoriously been known as an injury plagued franchise, and that trend continued last season. The whole season was all around terrible for Cowboys faithful. Cowboys fans are obviously hoping that this season will bring a change of fortune, but I'm not so sure that that will be the case.
Romo is an injury waiting to happen and Bryant is a cancer in the locker room, two things that do not mix very well. Not to mention their defense which is subpar, as they lack pass rushers. I predict that the Cowboys will go 5-11 which will be bad enough for last place in the sketchy NFC East.
3 Lions Finish With the Worst Record in the NFL
The Lions don't have much going for them right now. Last season they finished the season at 7-9 and that was with Calvin Johnson. Without him might be a bit scary, as they don’t have one of the greatest targets in NFL history. Not only will they have one less target, but the opposing defenses won't have to double team Megatron and will be able to focus on the other players on the offense which should be beneficial for the Lions opponents. Matt Stafford will also be lacking a deep threat as well as a running game. On the defensive side of the ball things are a little better but not enough for them to stay out of the gallows of the NFL. I see them going 3-13. Yes that is pretty harsh but the Lions do know how to lose games. In 2008 they went 0-16...
2 Cardinals Win the Super Bowl
The Cardinals had an exceptional 2015 season. They found their new star running back, Carson Palmer proved he can still play, and their defense looked as strong as ever. Unfortunately, their season was halted by the Super Bowl-bound Panthers, who were the best regular season team last year. Though they got routed in the 2nd round, the playoffs proved to be a learning experience even for their 36-year-old quarterback, Carson Palmer, who won his first career playoff game last season. Next season they should be prepped and primed for the Super Bowl. I'm sure that their fans are ready for it. They have never won a Super Bowl so they must be hungry for one. I think the Cardinals definitely have the best shot at winning it all and they are my choice for this season. Soon we will see if this pick is stupid or smart.
1 Blake Bortles is a Top 5 QB
While some people why may be asking why I am so high on Blake Bortles, I ask why are you not? Last season Bortles improved from throwing 11 TDs and 17 interceptions to throwing 35 TDs and 18 interceptions, a huge leap in just a short amount of time. Now if that isn't enough to get you to hop on the Bortles bandwagon, then maybe this will. He is putting these number up with a team that was 5-11 last season. Yes, he is the QB of the 5-11 team, but they are on the come up and should put up a .500 record or better this season. He and Allen Robinson will look to form a dynamic duo early and often this season. Julius Thomas, the addition of Chris Ivory and an improved, young and scary defense will help aid Bortles into stardom. Don't call me crazy just yet.
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