We’re only a few hours away from the start of a new NFL season. With a new season comes new storylines, new rising stars, and a chance for anything to happen. With this in mind let’s take a look at some bold predictions for the upcoming season.
Joey Bosa will be All-Pro
With Melvin Ingram coming into his own on the other side of the line the second year will face less double teams. Even with JJ Watt back spending a full offseason with the Chargers should help Bosa outperform his 10.5 sacks in 12 games from his rookie year.
By the end of the season Joe Mixon will play the most snaps of any Bengals running back
Even though at the time of writing this he’s 3rd on the depth chart behind Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill the 2017 2nd rounder’s talent is undeniable. With Jeremy Hill in a contract year and Bernard’s primary role as a pass catching back the bengals will want to take a look at the 6’1″ 226 pounder.
Stephon Gilmore will earn Pro Bowl honors this season
When the New England Patriots signed Gilmore to a 65 million dollar contract this offseason it was met with some skepticism. How could a player who was never voted to a pro bowl deserve that kind of money? Well all reports out of patriots camp his performance in the teams preseaon games (preseason, I know) seem to have him poised for a big season under head coach Bill Belichick.
Drew Brees won’t reach 5000 yards passing
With the additions of Adrian Peterson through FA and Alvin Kamara through the draft joining mainstay Mark Ingram the Saints are poised to become a much more run heavy team. Giving carries to those three talented backs will cut into Brees passing attempts keeping him from breaking the 5000 yard barrier for the 6th time.
Jameis Winston will emerge as an MVP candidate in Tampa Bay’s high octane offense
Jameis Winston’s numbers have improved every year, increasing his yards and touchdowns in 2016 from his rookie numbers. 2017 should be no different and when you add O.J. Howard and Desean Jackson and Chris Godwin to a passing offense that already featured Mike Evans there’s potential for big passing numbers. The Buccaneers already have a solid defense and the return of Doug Martin after his suspension should allow for the team success necessary to generate MVP buzz.
Big year for Jamison Crowder
Desean Jackson is gone. Pierre Garçon is gone. Those were the top two receivers in Washington’s vertical offense last season. Both now play for teams other than the Redskins. All those targets and receptions have to go to someone and Terrelle Pryor can’t have them all. The third year pro out of Duke has quietly impressed in his first two seasons and caught a team high 7 touchdowns last season and there’s still room to improve.
Saints Michael Thomas ascends to one of the top 5 receivers in the league
In his rookie year, Michael Thomas put up 92 receptions, 1,137 yards, and 9 touchdowns in 15 games with 12 starts. And that was him sharing an offense with Brandin Cooks who’s now on the Patriots. With a full season as Drew Brees top target it’s not crazy to think he could put up monster numbers and join the ranks of the truly elite receivers of the game today.
Christian McCaffrey helps rejuvenate the Panthers offense
Panther’s Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula saw the same Super Bowl LI the rest of us saw. According to the MMQB’s Peter King, the amount of dump off passes that James White caught was eye-opening. “In the Super Bowl, how many passes do you think Tom Brady threw to his backs? Mostly completed, right?” McCaffrey will be that outlet for Cam Newton to keep the offense from stalling and help the Panther’s offense return to prominence.