This is the time of year for talking tough about the NFL. It’s a league where we are taught to expect the unexpected which leads many a talented writer and broadcaster to make their bold predictions for the upcoming season.
Bold predictions are like coffee; you’ve got your mild breakfast blend (Don Banks of SI says Carson Palmer is going to be more like Boomer Esiason than Kurt Warner), your medium roast (Peter King thinks Tyrann Mathieu will win Defensive Rookie of the Year) and and your dark and murky extra bold blend (Ron Jaworski says Colin Kaepernick will be one of the best quarterbacks of all time).
Me? I’m taking The Five out for a spin, but not with my five bold predictions for the upcoming season. Instead, I’m going with the five most unadventurous, timid predictions I could think of. Absolute no-brainers. I want to test the supposed unpredictability of the NFL. If this is a league to expect the unexpected then it stands to reason that at least one of these will be wrong by seasons end.
The Five most predictable things about the upcoming season:
1. Rex Ryan will get fired as coach of the Jets. Easiest pick on the board. Count me among those who thought he should’ve been fired after throwing Mark Sanchez into the fourth quarter of a preseason game behind the second string offensive line. Go look at the Jets schedule; chances are Rex is out by the bye week.
2. Michael Vick will get hurt this year and miss a game because of it. The second easiest pick on the board. I suspect when he’s out there he’ll do pretty well in Chip Kelly’s offense but it’s been shown time and time again that body just can’t hold up for the duration.
3. The Broncos will win the AFC West. Denver isn’t perfect; no Von Miller, Champ Bailey is banged up and Elvis Dumervil is gone but c’mon. That division is weak sauce, populated by two quarterbacks (Alex Smith and Phillip Rivers) that I just don’t believe in. And then there are the Raiders. Speaking of which……
4. The Jaguars are on the clock for the top pick in the draft. I thought about hedging and saying it will be either the Raiders or Jags but then two words popped into my head. Blaine. Gabbert.
5. Aaron Rodgers will lead the league in passer rating. Again. He’s done it in back-to-back years. He’s a master at the height of his powers.