The NFL was a league filled with plenty of surprises last year such as the rebuilt Dolphins winning the AFC East, Matt Ryan leading the turnaround of the Falcons, and Donovan McNabb not knowing the rules of the sport he is payed millions to play. That being said, the league will still have it's fair share of surprises this year.
Here are three bold predictions for this coming NFL season. More predictions will follow in subsequent volumes.
The Cardinals Miss the Postseason
The Cardinals finally delivered on all their potential and rode the arm of a 38-year-old quarterback and the sheer awesomeness of their passing game into the Super Bowl last year.
However, they were beneficiaries of a division that was incredibly weak last year and that won't be the same this year. The Seahawks have improved their offense with the addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and have a healthy Matt Hasselbeck. The defense also improved with the addition of versatile linebacker Aaron Curry.
The Cardinals won't be horrible and will be merely average. I project six to nine wins for them.
Michael Turner Rushes for Less than 1,400 Yards
The curse of 370 has wreaked havoc on many running backs. The latest victim in it's sights is Michael Turner. Among backs that carried the ball over 370 times in a single season, there was an average decline of 700 yards and .5 yards per carry in the next season.
So why say less than 1,400 yards instead of 1,100? I don't think that Turner is any average running back. the addition of Tony Gonzalez and the maturation of Matt Ryan will help keep defenses honest. Turner will not rush for as many yards and touchdowns as last year, but 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns isn't too shabby.
The Detroit Lions Win More than Five Games
I shouldn't even have to justify this as a bold prediction. The Lions are coming off an 0-16 season, the first in NFL history. there is no way they can be like Miami and make the playoffs this year, there were just too many pieces that didn't fit last year.
The Lions now have the pieces to at least win five games this year. New Head Coach Jim Schwartz has gotten rid of half of the players from the old team and revamped both the offense and defense.
The offense has added veteran WR Bryant Johnson and added a gun slinging quarterback in Matt Stafford. The fact that Stafford went to Bobby Layne's high school is just an added bonus.
The defense has added veteran linebackers Julian Peterson and Larry Foote, a big upgrade to one of the weakest linebacking corps ever. The fact that Schwartz masterminded one of the best defenses last year can only help this group.
More predictions will follow later. Please comment and thanks for reading!