The wait is finally over. The 2020 NFL season begins tonight. It will be a season unlike any other we’ve seen before. With no preseason games and no real offseason programs, this season is set to be wild and sloppy, especially early on. Some predictions which seem crazy as of now, could very well happen. Let’s dive into some bold predictions for the upcoming season!
Bold Prediction #1: Darius Leonard Wins Defensive Player of the Year
Darius Leonard is already an established superstar after two seasons in the NFL. I think he can take the next step to be the best defender in the league in 2020. Leonard does it all and stuffs the stat sheet. He completed the rare 100 tackle, 5 interception, and 5 sack feat in 2019. He did that in just 13 games due to injury. With full health, Darius Leonard should continue to produce and improve, and is my pick to win Defensive Player of the Year this season.
Bold Prediction #2: D.K. Metcalf Finishes Top 3 in Receiving Yards; Establishes Himself as Elite Wide Receiver
After inexplicably falling to the end of the second round in the 2019 NFL Draft, D.K. Metcalf had a tantalizing rookie season, proving his doubters wrong. He put up 900 receiving yards on 58 receptions, along with 7 touchdown catches. Metcalf became a favorite target of quarterback Russell Wilson last season and that connection will surely continue to develop in this season and beyond. Metcalf is a big, fast, and physical wide receiver who should take a big leap in 2020. I think D.K. Metcalf will finish top 3 in receiving yards this season, establishing himself as an elite wide receiver.
Bold Prediction #3: Jaire Alexander Becomes a Top 5 Cornerback With a First Team All-Pro Selection
Jaire Alexander has all the tools to become possibly the best cornerback in the NFL. Alexander was very good last season. He had 2 interceptions and 17 pass defections. That is a very solid season, and he should be able to even improve on that this season. Alexander, just 23 years old, is extremely fast, running a 4.38 40-yard dash, and has the size and the strength to be a special player. Alexander also has the necessary swagger and confidence of a shutdown cornerback. In addition, he is physical and aggressive. I think Jaire Alexander will take a massive Year 3 leap and be an All-Pro in 2020, becoming a top 5 cornerback in the NFL.
Bold Prediction #4: Davante Adams Leads the NFL in Targets, Receptions, Yards, and Touchdowns
Davante Adams is the favorite target of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and it is not close. The competition around Adams for targets only got slimmer this offseason. He is the only viable wide receiver or tight end with experience on the team. Adams struggled with injuries last season and only played 12 games. In 2018, Adams put up 1386 yards on 111 receptions, along with 13 touchdowns. Those numbers were close to the best in the league. Back to full health, those numbers will be better this season as he gets even more targets. Davante Adams has a real chance to lead the NFL in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns this season.
Bold Prediction #5: Juan Thornhill Leads the NFL in Interceptions
Juan Thornhill had a very solid rookie season for the Chiefs in 2019. He was the starting free safety for all 16 regular season games and he stepped up immediately. Thornhill had 3 interceptions and 58 tackles on the year. Looking deeper, he really performed well. He allowed a 46% completion percentage and had a 43.0 passer rating allowed when targeted, both of which were good for 2nd in the NFL among all safeties. Thornhill also only allowed 4.3 yards per target, which was first in the league among all safeties. These numbers show that Thornhill was lockdown in coverage, and if he improves his hands, he should be a ballhawking safety. Therefore, I think Juan Thornhill could lead the NFL in interceptions this season.
Bold Prediction #6: Hayden Hurst Leads All Tight Ends in Receiving Yards
Hayden Hurst has been a hot name in fantasy football heading into this season and for good reason. I am going to go as far to say Hurst will lead all tight ends in receiving yards this season. Hurst is clearly very talented, he was just not used nearly enough in Baltimore. He hauled in 30 receptions for 349 receiving yards last season. Now in Atlanta, his target share and production will surge. The Falcons offense is a hotbed for tight end production, as seen by Austin Hooper’s big seasons with the team. Hurst will be an every-down player and has a chance to get in excess of 100 targets and 1000 receiving yards. That gives Hayden Hurst a real opportunity to lead all tight ends in receiving yards in 2020.
Bold Prediction #7: John Ross Posts 1000-Yard Season, Finally Fulfilling Draft Hype
John Ross has been a huge bust since being taken with the 9th-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Ross has had lofty expectations after the high draft selection and breaking the 40-yard dash record. Ross has fell well short of those expectations, but was productive when on the field last season. He totaled 28 receptions, 506 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns in 8 games on the year. Injuries have been a major problem for Ross, and were again last year as he missed half the season. Ross is finally set up for a fully healthy campaign. Cincinnati selected star quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, who should help lift the entire Bengals offense. If John Ross can stay healthy in 2020, I think he could have a 1000-yard season, and finally live up to his monstrous NFL Draft hype.
Bold Prediction #8: Bradley Chubb Wins Comeback Player of the Year, Broncos Reach Playoffs
The Denver Broncos will have an electric offense in 2020. One player who has been forgotten about on defense however is Bradley Chubb. Chubb had a monster rookie season in 2018 with 12 sacks. He only played in 4 games last season due to a torn ACL. With Von Miller now excepted to miss the 2020 season due to his own major injury, Chubb becomes even more vital for Denver. I think he will have a monster season and win Comeback Player of the Year on the way. Now, back to the offense. They will have to live up to big expectations to reach the playoffs, and I think they will. Drew Lock has an insane bounty of weapons at his disposal. Running backs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, wide receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler, along with tight end Noah Fant make up the revamped group of playmakers. They also have an underrated offensive line and defense in general. Outside of Chubb, Justin Simmons, Jurrell Casey, and A.J. Bouye are all great players who will be integral parts of their defense. The Denver Broncos should go to the playoffs this season, led by my Comeback Player of the Year pick, Bradley Chubb, and an elite stable of playmakers.
Bold Prediction #9: The Indianapolis Colts Go 12-4 and Reach the AFC Championship Game
The Indianapolis Colts have been severely underrated heading into this season. As previously mentioned, I think they will have this year’s Defensive Player of the Year, Darius Leonard. Also, Phillip Rivers was brought in as the new starting quarterback. After a rough 2019 season, Rivers should bounce back in a big way this season. Indianapolis has an outstanding offensive line, which should give Rivers time in the pocket and get the ground game going, two vital ingredients which Rivers did not have with the Chargers last season. Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor are a great running back duo, and the wide receiver trio of T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, and Michael Pittman Jr. is very underrated will surely supervise a lot of people. Outside of Leonard on defense, it is a still a great unit. Newly acquired defensive tackle DeForest Buckner will have a massive impact, and Kemoko Turay is an edge rusher who nobody talks about, and I think will have a monster breakout season. All in all, this Colts team is very well rounded and I think they will surprisingly go 12-4 and reach the AFC Championship Game.
Bold Prediction #10: The Buccaneers have the NFL’s #1 Defense Anchored by All-Pro Linebacker Devin White
All eyes are on Tom Brady and Tampa Bay’s offense heading into this season. Their defense is being majorly overlooked. I have stated on numerous occasions how bullish I am on this defense this season, especially middle linebacker Devin White. I believe he will lead this defense to be the NFL’s best this season. They are stout up front with Shaq Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, and Jason Pierre-Paul. The linebacker core is outstanding, with White and Lavonte David. I believe White will take an All-Pro leap and David is an extremely underrated and consistent veteran. In addition, the secondary is young with a high ceiling. Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean are corners who I think will establish themselves as elite this season. Antoine Winfield Jr. and Sean Murphy-Bunting are also young studs in the secondary. The Buccaneers will have a great season, and I think it will be led by their defensive unit that will be #1 in the NFL.
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