Somebody asked me a question in regards to the NFL today, that resulted in me saying about 9 different things that can be loosely linked to the question. Essentially I have so many different NFL thoughts today, I can't narrow them in to a single blog. The following are thoughts I have on the upcoming NFL season in no particular order.
The Patriots are probably going to run the ball a lot next year. Somebody once told me "Tom Brady is a system Quarterback" which makes no sense because the Patriots seem to run a different system every few weeks. Power run one week, hurry up and spread the next. The offensive line can't pass block so Tom gets the ball away in 1.78 seconds. What did they do this offseason? They traded for Martellus Bennett. A very good Tight End, thus giving them 2 of the leagues top 10 tight ends. I know you're saying, "so why would they run the ball more?" They will run because you can't defend their two TE set with a base defense out of fear they will air it out. You will see a ton of nickel coverage against a two TE look, which favors the offense should they try to run. Both Bennett and Gronk are incredible run blockers, don't be surprised to see New England run more than they have in recent years, and remember who told you it would happen.
C.J. Prosise will get more touches than Thomas Rawls for the Seahawks this year. Key word their is "touches." Rawls might see a few more carries, but overall touches than advantage has to go to C.J. The first thing you have to think about is Rawls is coming off of injury. The second thing you have to consider is he was subbed out for Fred Thomas when Seattle wanted to throw. Last year, playing Running Back he caught 26 passes. The year before he played WR and he got 29 passes. C.J. has the skills to be dangerous as a receiving threat out of the backfield. He's also a great runner, he has the talent to receive 100+ carries and 40+ catches next year, and his overall total might end up being more than Rawls. For fantasy, this is something to keep a look on.
The Raiders will miss the playoffs. The Raiders looked like a team on the rise last year, and they are, but they are not playoff bound this year. Yes the Raiders were 7-9 last year, but two of those wins were very close against bad teams. The Titans and Ravens. They could have easily been 5-11. Signing Bruce Irvin to a contract he wasn't worth, and paying Sean Smith #1 Corner money when he's really a #2 won't put them over the hump. The natural progression of Carr and Cooper will have to do that, and they are still a year away. 7-9 or 8-8 are realistic goals for the Raiders and it will be an improvement if the defense is better. Look for them to make the playoff in 2017, maybe even winning the division.
Emmanuel Sanders will be a #1 Fantasy wideout. It's only a matter of time before Paxton Lynch takes over for Mark Sanchez this year in Denver. What Paxton has that makes him extremely dangerous (even as a rookie) is mobility and a freaking cannon. In Kubiak's offense there will be a lot of running the ball, which sets up play action shot plays. Covering Sanders is hard enough, but it will get even harder when your safety bites on play action because Denver ran the ball 9 times in a row prior to Sanders getting lose for a big gain. Sanders over Thomas for fantasy football as far as Denver goes.
Texans will be another version of the 2011 Eagles. Remember that team, the "Dream Team." They flopped. They were 4-12. That's this year's Texans. Big singings don't equal big wins. Osweiler isn't a franchise QB, he won games because he played for the Super Bowl Champs and his defense might have been the best ever. He will throw picks, a lot of them. JJ Watt can't play QB. The Texans will play close games, but lose close games because Osweiler.
Aaron Rodgers will win the MVP award. I think a lot of people are forgetting just how good this guy is. He will throw for 45 TD's, over 5,000 yards, and discount double check his way to another MVP and the NFC Championship at least.
Jarvis Landry will have over 120 receptions this year. Already the #1 target in Miami, Landry sees a lot of targets. New Head Coach Adam Gase will make those numbers go up. Everywhere he has been, Gase has increased offensive productivity to the teams best players. Thomas and Sanders in Denver, Forte in Chicago last year. The Dolphins will use short passes as their "Run-Game" Landry will excel here.
Rex Ryan will huff and puff and the Bill will miss the playoffs. I happen to think Rex Ryan is a pretty good football coach, but the team he coaches is missing some talent. They have an overpaid Tight End. One running back with chronic hamstring issues, and another one who used his wife's pregnancy as the reason to show up to camp out of shape. The #1 WR can't stay healthy, and the QB is good but he's not "Carry my team" good. Sorry Buffalo, you've replaced Cleveland as God's #1 hated city.
Doug Baldwin will play his last year in Seattle. I'm basing this off of the Golden Tate treatment. Seattle is willing to pay Market Value for some positions, WR isn't one of them. They let Golden Tate go, and Tate's contract now looks like a discount in Detroit after his last two seasons. Baldwin should get a handsome offer from a WR hungry team out there, and Seattle won't match it, they believe in their ability to develop WR's.
Romo will win come back player of the year, and lead the Cowboys to 11 wins and the Division. Jamaal Charles will be a close second, but the QB of the Cowboys is a prestigious position and that will be the tie breaker between the two players. Carlos Hyde of the 49ers is another candidate given how Chip wants to run the ball and his talent level, but after 2 years in the league he might not be considered by the Voters.
The Players Union will strike because they don't like playing Thursday game in the next two years. For fans the Thursday games are usually abysmal and show case poor play. For the player they represent a health risk, as many of them aren't yet fully recovered from the previous week's game. The Owners and Goddell see dollar sings, and the players will fight, and the ring leader will be Richard Sherman, a player who has been outspoken against the league's Hypocrisy.
Jimmy Graham will miss more time due to injury. Graham is a soft player, he doesn't like contact. He is a phenomenal receiving weapon, but he plays in a division that's too physical for him. He showed last year he can't block when asked too. This year he will miss a few games with minor injuries from the physical play of his division.
Joe Flacco will give you this year's "You like that." I don't know what it will be, but I see him yelling something after a dramatic win. I for one just hope it's "The Flacco Bomb is back." Who knows if Flacco is aware of his rainbow passes being the "Flacco Bomb."
Eli Manning will make a face that rivals the "Crying Jordan meme." He won't replace it because, well Michael Jordan, but Eli will have a look on his face that you see plastered over every losing NFL player's photo on twitter next year. It will probably come from watching a game winning TD thrown by Kirk Cousin's. YOU LIKE THAT!