We are in the middle of an intriguing baseball season, NBA free agency is going crazy, the Olympics are only a couple of weeks away, but the only thing on my mind, the upcoming NFL season. Do I have a problem? Well, that is debatable, but I am expecting big things this season. Today, I have five bold predictions about this upcoming season.
1) New England Patriots defense will rank in the top 15 this season.
This is a stretch. The Pats defense has been one of the bottom two defenses in the past couple years. I have a feeling the defense turns around this year. Even though they were supposedly bad, they were effective enough to make them playoff teams. This offseason, they made some great draft decisions, which will solidify that side of the ball. Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower are both game changers for that defense. Scheme has never been an issue for the defensive minded head coach, now Belichick has the talent to go with his mind. It could be scary.
2) Baltimore Ravens will not make the playoffs.
The Ravens offense is mediocre at best, and although it has been this way for as long as I can remember, the defense has been good enough to off set the issues. This year, the defense will be great, but unless Flacco develops and a couple wide receivers become consistent it will be hard to keep up with the offenses in the division. I have high expectations for Cincinnati as a team next year, and Pittsburgh has a more talented offense. For the most part, I have a hard time believing that a true smash mouth pound the football running game that Baltimore runs will be able to keep up with the wide open offenses that are out there.
3) The AFC West gets two teams in the playoffs.
This is something that has not happened since 2007 when San Diego won the division, and Kansas City made it as a Wild Card. Peyton Manning turns that division around. Manning walks in and is given keys to a team that has some really good talent on it. The offensive line is one of the top three in the NFL, the wide receivers are young and talented, the running game was best in the league last year, and the defense is elite. These are things that Manning is not used to having. San Diego should bounce back this season. They lost Vincent Jackson, but they added Robert Meachem, Roscoe Parrish, and Eddie Royal. That gives Philip Rivers more talented wide receivers. Melvin Ingram falling to them in the draft was great, as he will give San Diego a great pass rusher.
4) Cam Newton will be the top scoring player in fantasy football.
No, this does not mean that I am taking him with a first round selection, or over Brady, Brees, or Rodgers. But he plays in a division that does not have elite level defenses; he has a talented offensive line, and talented group of running backs. Carolina could run a fun offense to watch, and Cam has the ability to be a 4,000-yard passer and 750-yard rusher. He could go 25 passing touchdowns and add another 10 rushing. This could be a special season to watch Carolina’s offense.
5) Von Miller wins Defensive Player of the Year
This would be impressive since it is only his second season in the NFL, but Miller is already on a small list for the best outside linebackers in the NFL. His athleticism and non-stop motor could make him the NFL sack leader next season. Added to his talent level, Denver’s defense could finish as the best in the NFL next season. Considering both, he could walk away with this award, similar to how Terrel Suggs got it last season.