Friday, September 1, 2017

2017 NFL Predictions Sure to Go Wrong

It's that time of the year again, kids.  Yes, it is time for me to make some crazy sports predictions for the fun of it, and then look back on these in a couple months to laugh at them.  Nothing else needed to introduce things, so let's get right to it.

1. The Tennessee Titans will win the AFC South.  The Titans took arguably the best wide receiver in the draft this past April in Corey Davis (I don't like any wide receiver named Mike Williams and I'm only half-joking when I say that) to give Marcus Mariota a deep receiving threat.  Their offense top to bottom is stacked,and their defense ain't too shabby either. The Texans are the prohibitive favorite in the division, but they have decided to start Tom Savage over DeShaun Watson at quarterback to start the season.  Watson could still get the job later, but the Titans are still the more balanced team overall.  Besides, some division winner has to be a little bit of a shocker anyway.

2. The New York Jets will score the fewest points per game since the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs (13.2).  It's no secret that the Jets have one of the worst rosters top to bottom in the NFL.  Their training camp has been filled with blunders like QB Christian Hackenberg not being able to break a huddle properly.  Now they are going with Josh McCown at quarterback for their first game of the regular season.  Bottom line is, this team is a mess and they are not going to score many points at all from their lack of playmakers.  They don't have much of a long term direction either, so Jets fans will have to suffer through the season and keep reading about top college talent they could look towards drafting come April 2018.

3. Odell Beckham, Jr will break Randy Moss's single season TD record.  If this prediction sounds a little familiar, it's because it is.  Normally I draft my season's predictions on their own, but I do sometimes look over my previous predictions to compare and contrast.  I was actually surprised when I had discovered I said this same thing about Demaryius Thomas three years ago, but I figured what the heck?  Beckham is a more electric player to watch than Thomas, capable of some incredible acrobatic feats on the field.  Eli Manning will once again have a ton of fun throwing to his #1 target this year.

4. Dalvin Cook will break Gale Sayers' rookie total TD record (22).  Cook has a dual-threat capability as a running back for the Vikings since he's a pass-catching threat in addition to being an every down back.  It won't take him long to become one of the most-discussed rookie players in the NFL this season, and he will almost certainly be quickly compared to Adrian Peterson.

5. Martavis Bryant will lead the Steelers in receiving touchdowns.  Bryant is still waiting on being officially reinstated to the Steelers by the league office, but if he finally plays a full season he and Antonio Brown will make up the top receiving corps in the NFL.  Assuming he has stopped smoking marijuana completely, Bryant will quickly become one of the top wide receivers in the AFC.  Antonio Brown will still be a playmaker, but even he doesn't have the physique that Bryant has.

6. The Atlanta Falcons will finish under .500 this season.  The Falcons, on paper, should still have a solid season despite blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl this past season.  Their key players on both sides of the ball are all still around, and the only notable coaching change was Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving to coach the 49ers (which is a pretty big deal, in my opinion).  This prediction is one of those gut feelings that isn't based on anything terribly logical, but there's a reason why no Super Bowl loser returned the following season to play for a championship the following year since the 1992 Buffalo Bills.  Fortune will not favor the Falcons in 2017.

7. It's the final swan song for Carson Palmer.  The writing is on the wall.  Palmer's injury history has been piling up over the last 4 years or so, including a torn ACL, a concussion, a finger dislocation, and a shoulder injury.  He came close to retiring last year, instead opting to come back for another year.  However, I foresee yet another unfortunate injury that forces him to miss at least part of the season and ultimately leads to the end of his career.  The Cardinals will look towards April's draft to find their quarterback of the future.

8. The Oakland Raiders will lead the league in scoring this season.  Raiders QB Derek Carr had a breakout season last year, and his career will continue on its upswing in 2017.  Amari Cooper has developed into a strong #1 receiver, but there is a question as to what the Raiders can expect with Marshawn Lynch at 31 years old.  Still, this team will be scoring points in bunches all year long.  There's a reason why many see them as the #2 team in the AFC.  In fact, speaking of the aforementioned Carr....

9.  Derek Carr will be the league MVP.  I don't think I need to really say much more, except that Carr will show NFL fans he's fine after breaking his leg late last season.  He could have had a chance at the league MVP last year had he not been injured, but he'll make up for that in 2017.

10.  The Seattle Seahawks will defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52.  Okay, I'm going somewhat chalk-ish with this pick.  I don't normally like doing that, but there just isn't any team in the AFC who has a realistic chance at dethroning the Patriots.  The NFC is more leveled, though the Seahawks stand out from the bunch.  They'll get their revenge for bumbling the end of Super Bowl 49 against these same Patriots.