NFL Predictions 2012: 5 Bold and Daring NFL Predictions

Justin SchultzCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2012

NFL Predictions 2012: 5 Bold and Daring NFL Predictions

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    Who would've guessed that Victor Cruz would emerge as a top receiver last year?

    Who knew that Arian Foster would be the best running back in the league after going undrafted?

    Who picked the Giants to win the Super Bowl with a 9-7 record?

    I bet not many.

    My predictions are not for the faint of heart.

    Most of you will think they are ridiculous. But before ridiculing, think long and hard about this: Anything is possible.

    Here are five bold and daring predictions for the 2012 NFL season.

5. Peyton Manning Will Win MVP

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    This might not be so bold, but it absolutely amazes me how so many people are doubting Peyton Manning.

    According to fantasy analyst Matthew Berry, Manning is the 37th-ranked fantasy player and the seventh-ranked quarterback.

    Are you kidding me, Matthew?

    Yes, Manning missed an entire season, and there are still questions surrounding his neck. Sure, his receiving corps isn't exactly top-notch. But it's Peyton Manning.

    He has already won four MVPs and a Super Bowl MVP. No.18 is arguably the best quarterback in NFL history, and people think missing a season will affect his numbers?

    If anyone can dominate a season after sitting out the previous year, it's Manning. Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Jacob Tamme are already decent players to throw to.

    Manning will make them excellent.

    Denver's first seven games are excruciatingly tough, while the last nine are fairly easy. Denver doesn't have to go 13-3 for Manning to win an MVP. He could earn his fifth award with a 10-6 mark and stupendous play.

    This is Peyton Manning we're talking about. Never underestimate him.

4. Reggie Bush Will Be Among Top 5 in Rushing Yards

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    Last season, Reggie Bush broke 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.

    Yeah, you heard that right.

    His move to Miami was successful, and this year he will continue to shred the label of "bust."

    The Miami Dolphins' schedule is weak.

    Well, for the Dolphins, it'll be a tough schedule.

    But Bush will have a field day against defenses. The strongest defensive unit the Fins face are the Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers. Remove those two matchups and you have a cake walk.

    Plus, the former USC Trojan is more motivated than ever.

    Many people believe that Daniel Thomas will take over starting duties from Bush. But I'm not buying it, especially not after his forgettable rookie season.

    Whether it's David Garrard or Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins will have a difficult time throwing the ball. They'll lean on Bush more often and his work load will be enormous.

    Last season made me a believer in Bush. Now it's time for him to take it to the next level.

3. John Skelton Will Lead Cardinals to the Playoffs

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    A third-year player from Fordham University is the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

    How nuts is that?

    It was just recently announced that John Skelton had beaten out Kevin Kolb as the Cardinals starting quarterback.

    Coach Ken Whisenhunt will look like a genius after it's all said and done.

    Although Kolb is being paid the big bucks, Skelton is the right choice for the job.

    He doesn't seem daunted or intimidated by opposing defenses like Kolb has been accused of. Besides, Skelton outperformed his rival in the preseason. His stats aren't necessarily better, but at least he can stay in the pocket and take a hit.

    Arizona finished with an 8-8 record in 2011, playing the entire season with uncertainty at the quarterback position.

    This year will be different.

    For his career, Skelton has tossed 13 touchdowns and has been picked off 16 times. He owns a quarterback rating of 66.9. And yet, I still think Skelton will lead his team to the postseason.

    Arizona's schedule in 2012 is full of lackluster teams. The Cardinals play 10 games against teams that failed to have a winning record in 2011. 

    Plus, Skelton has Larry Fitzgerald to throw to which is always a bonus.

    I think the 49ers will fall off this year and I see the Cardinals taking their place. Skelton will be a hero and Kolb will be the odd man out, yet again.

2. Kenny Britt Will Win Comeback Player of the Year

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    If Peyton Manning earns MVP honors, he will surely win the Comeback Player of the Year award as well, right?

    Wrong.

    Although Kenny Britt is suspended for the opening game against the New England Patriots, the Titans wide receiver is going to have an unbelievably monster year.

    Before going down with a torn ACL in 2011, he was on pace for a career year. In three games, Britt caught 17 passes for 289 yards while hauling in three touchdowns. The 23-year-old will pick up right where he left off.

    Britt will be catching passes from Jake Locker, who the Titans believe will be a very good NFL quarterback. Locker will add more consistency to the offense than his predecessor Matt Hasselbeck did.

    If Chris Johnson's demise continues, Tennessee will be forced to throw more than usual and Britt will be the "go to" target.

1. Russell Wilson Will Be Named Rookie of the Year

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    Forget Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Don't buy into the hype, just yet.

    Believe in Russell Mania.

    Matt Flynn was destined to take over Seattle's reins after signing a three-year, $26 million deal, with $10 million guaranteed. Yet it was rookie Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin that won the starting quarterback job after a stellar preseason.

    Wilson was selected in the third round of the 2011 draft. He would've gone a lot sooner if it wasn't for his height. At 5'11", many scouts thought that Wilson was too under-sized to compete in the NFL.

    But look at Drew Brees.

    He stands just an inch taller than Wilson and is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. Besides, the majority of the Badgers' offensive line were taller than the average NFL line.

    The Seahawks made a bold pick and it paid off.

    As a Badger in 2011, Wilson threw for 3,175 yards with 33 touchdowns. He was only picked off four times. I envision Wilson having just as much success as a pro.

    Wilson will rush for more yards than RG3 and throw for more than Luck this season. He won't perform as well as Cam Newton did in his rookie campaign but comparisons will be made.