It was sad to see Giants running back David Wilson’s retirement presser on Wednesday. The Giants drafted him in the 1st round in 2012 and looked to him as the future of their ground offense. Wilson had all the talent to become a top 5 running back in the next few years. But a fateful neck injury has cut the 23 year old’s career short.
For the past few years, my NFL predictions have been pretty solid. The Broncos ruined that last season with the massacre at MetLife. So let’s roll right into some of my lofty predictions for this season.
Nick Foles will prove he’s no 1 hit wonder. I was stressed when I benched Foles vs. the Raiders in week 9 in FFL. That defense made him look like Drew Brees. He connected with Riley Cooper 3 times and even got rookie TE Zach Ertz his 1st career touchdown. It’s impossible for Foles to repeat those kind of numbers; 27 TD/2 Int. He’ll throw for 10 interceptions and at least 25 passing touchdowns. With Darren Sproles added to the backfield and DeSean Jackson gone, Philly won’t have to rely so much on deep throws. Foles has a missile for an arm and the Eagles have decent receivers. I won’t be surprised to see the Eagles to run more 2 TE sets because Ertz is very capable along with Brent Celek.
The freshman class of wide receivers will be underwhelming. There’s a lot of hype around the freshman class of Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, and Odell Beckham Jr. That’s more or less due to the glamorized image we have of wide receivers as a position. It’s no secret that I’m a Keenan Allen fan. I expect Kenny Stills to have a great statistical performance this year as a 3rd option for Drew Brees. I also am looking at Tavon Austin to have a bigger role in St. Louis and move ahead of Chris Givens on the depth chart. Overall, I think the freshmen wide-outs will cause a lot of headaches for those of you who play fantasy football.
Victor Cruz will bounce back to his old self. Thanks to his quarterback, Cruz only saw the end zone 4 times last year. He was also 2 yards shy of 1,000 for the season. With Hakeem Nicks gone and the Giants upgrading their O-line, I expect Cruz to get back to his 2012 numbers. He can make the catch in double coverage. Additionally, Cruz has one of the quickest bursts off the line of scrimmage among top receivers.
Broncos will be back in the Superbowl. Yeah, I know we all said they’d win last year. But the Broncos have upgraded their secondary talent. They replaced Eric Decker with Emmanuel Sanders; not an upgrade by any means but Manning could make a 4th stringer look good. The jury is still out on Montee Ball, though. The talent they had last year wasn’t enough to beat the Seahawks. They said about the Spurs all year too. Manning is like the NFL’s Tim Duncan. Every year, people talk about his age and question how much he has left. It’s hard to doubt him after last season’s historic run. We all have to accept the reality that this season is probably it for Manning in terms of getting another ring.
Which leads me to the last bold and probably wrong prediction – I think Colin Kaepernick will put himself in the category of the top 5 quarterbacks for the season. When it comes to naming the league’s top 5 QBs, that 5th spot always varies. You can make a case for a number of guys. Kaep is in that 7-10 range with the most to prove. The 49ers have to get over that NFC West hump again. It’s not like their losses have been blowouts. They loss the Superbowl by a FG after mounting a 3rd quarter comeback. The Seahawks’ defense stifled them in last year’s NFC Championship game. But let’s be fair, the 49ers made mistakes on their own starting with some of Kaep’s ill decisions, including this now-infamous throw. I’d imagine that one of the frustrating things for 49ers fans is seeing the talent there on both sides of the ball. I expect Russell Wilson to have a slight regression which leaves it open for Kaep to lead his team back to the big game.
So there it is. I’ll check back in week 14 to see where my predictions stand.