Bold predictions for major events for the upcoming NFL season
Jarrod Thurman @JarrodChiefsFCS
Chiefs Focus @Chiefsfocus
Bold predictions are used by analysts to make what are typically going to be uncommon or sometimes unpopular predictions for the upcoming season. I’m going to take a crack at this popular article type on sports websites. Some of the predictions are repeating things I said in my previous article (Not So Early 2022 NFL Predictions) but I’m going to repeat them here to give a little more detail and in case you missed the article.
My very first prediction is about the Las Vegas Raiders and that is they lose more games than they win, a 7-10 record to be exact. This team has so much hype surrounding them, due in part to the Packers trading Davante Adams to them. I do believe this is an overhyped transaction. I’ve never been that sold on Derek Carr as a good quarterback and I personally think he’s the most overrated quarterback in the NFL. Sure, he threw for 4,800 yards in 2022, but he only threw 23 touchdowns. He’s finished in the top 5 for yards one time and the top 10 only twice. In touchdowns, he’s only finished in the top 10 once. You can’t use receivers as an argument either because he has had some good receivers. My final criticism against him is his record against playoff teams. He is 8-40 in his career against teams that made the playoffs that season. I repeat – 8 and 40. I’m sorry, I just don’t think adding Davante Adams will turn a quarterback that can’t win big games into a contender.
My next bold prediction is that former MVP Lamar Jackson has the worst statistical season of his career. Don’t get me wrong, I like Lamar Jackson. When he’s on, he is fun to watch. However, recent NFL history is not on his side. Quarterbacks like him that rely too much on their legs have not lasted long in the NFL. I am not obviously talking about Russell Wilson, while he can still run, his passing game has developed well. I haven’t seen that same development in Lamar Jackson. Since his MVP season, the percentage of his passes that are intercepted has increased each year. His quarterback rating has gone down each year as well. Another overlooked statistic that has gotten worse each year since his MVP season is the percentage of his passes that are touchdowns. My actual prediction? 3,900 yards 20 touchdowns (both lower per game than 2021) and 20 interceptions, but the Ravens’ defense and running game, not necessarily Lamar Jackson’s performance, leads them to the playoffs.
Another bold prediction that was partially covered in the previous article, the Seahawks finish with the number 1 overall selection. This team just is not good anymore. Hard to believe this team just a few years ago was consistently a contender. They’ve lost so much and have gained so little. Russell Wilson being traded to the Broncos was a huge step down for the team. Outside of DK Metcalf they simply do not have any superstar players and their options for a quarterback right now, assuming they don’t trade, are not very great either. I still stick by my 2-15 prediction in my previous article.
My next bold prediction is regarding Justin Herbert. We hear all these comments about how great he is and his numbers in his first two seasons keep getting compared to Patrick Mahomes and Dan Marino, which I think is unfair to both because Mahomes played a single game his first season and Marino only played in 11. I don’t think he’s going to take a drastic step forward this next season. The biggest step they take is sneaking into the playoffs because of their defense’s improvement. Herbert will have a solid season, I won’t deny that. I just don’t anticipate him stepping into that elite status with players like Rodgers, Mahomes, Wilson, Brady, etc. quite yet. I think a different 3rd-year quarterback makes that jump, which leads to my next bold prediction.
Joe Burrow becomes an elite quarterback with another solid season and receives MVP votes. Joe Burrow did something no Bengals quarterback has done since Boomer Esiason, win a playoff game and make it to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, he did that at the expense of our team. The Joe Burrow/Ja’marr Chase duo is a dangerous one. Combine that with an improved offensive line for the Bengals, Burrow is set for a huge step forward. I’m predicting he breaks 5,000 yards (just barely though), throws for 35+ touchdowns, and throws for 9 or fewer interceptions. Additionally, I think he finishes 3rd in MVP voting.
Remember the time when 5,000 passing yards was a massive accomplishment and only Dan Marino had accomplished this feat? I don’t think that’s going to be the case this year. A record number of 5,000-yard passers will happen this year. I’ve already mentioned Joe Burrow, I also predict Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, and Josh Allen all throw for 5,000 yards.
Historically, multiple teams repeating as division champs is uncommon. Last season, only 4 division champions were repeat champions. This bold prediction is that every division champion repeats. All reigning division champions got better this offseason. I don’t believe this has ever happened (I could be wrong). The division champs are all good teams again.
I’m going to copy a bold prediction I saw someone else do because I agree with it. I believe a record low number of head coach positions open up this offseason. Ten new coaches were hired this offseason. I do not anticipate any of these teams firing their coach after a single season. Another thing that may factor into this, is the pending lawsuits from Jon Gruden and Brian Flores. While these lawsuits make different claims, they could scare some GMs away from firing coaches. So which more experienced coaches have a shot to get fired if things don’t work out? Kliff Kingsbury is the first coach that comes to mind. Mike McCarthy is another possibility. Honestly, I think that is it. The only of these coaches that are fired I think is McCarthy. I believe there will only be 2 openings. The other leads to my next bold prediction.
I am also predicting one of the coaches who have been employed for a long time makes a surprise retirement announcement after the 2022 season. The coaches I include in this are Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, and Pete Carroll. Belichick and Reid are both still winning so I don’t think it’s going to be them. I’m guessing both at a bare minimum make it to the end of their current contract, maybe even sign a 1 or 2-year contract after that if they only have a season or two left, I’m not sure when either contact expires though. Pete Carroll I believe is the one that retires. While he looks great for his age and from what I can see is in pretty good health, he is the oldest coach in the NFL and has been working the longest (his first coaching job was in 1973) and the Seahawks are in a rebuilding phase, which usually includes a new coach to start the rebuilding.
My last one is about a controversial player. I want to provide a disclaimer that my talking about this player is not a condemnation or praise of what everyone associates him with. This is nothing more or less than a prediction that is in no way indicative of my personal opinions of him. I believe this might be is the year Colin Kaepernick gets a contract. After getting positive reactions to his workout with the Raiders, it may happen this season. I predict either in the preseason or early in the regular season, a starter is going to go down to injury and a team signs him wanting a quarterback that has started some games. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll start for his new team but at least I think he’ll get signed for a veteran minimum contract as a backup.
Bold predictions are always fun to see. Bold predictions don’t necessarily mean you think 100% for sure will happen, just that you think there’s a chance. That is the case with mine despite the word choices I used. Football season is right around the corner.