PHOTO: D. Ross Cameron (2019) The Associated Press

CLEVELAND, OH — With minicamps and OTA’s underway, the 2022-23 preseason is well underway. As there are so many enticing and unique stories to watch, QB battles to dissect and players to be dealt and traded, here are my top ten BOLD predictions for the upcoming season.

1.) New York Jets QB Zach Wilson makes Joe Burrow-like leap! Thanks to the additions of WR Garrett Wilson, RB Breece Hall and a revamped defense, Wilson has a breakout sophomore year to the tune of 4,500-plus yards and 35 touchdowns. Wilson has all the intangibles to be a special QB, and the added tools—along with some muscle come in handy.


2.) Desmond Ridder supplants Marcus Mariota down in Atlanta. Hard to believe it now, but there is a reason why the former 2014 Heisman Trophy winner has become a gloried backup in the league, and Ridder, despite being a rookie, calmly takes the Falcons reins under center.

3.) Jameis Winston Emerges Into MVP Candidate! Laugh now, come @ me later, but have you seen the weapons that ol’ Crab Legs is surrounded by? RB Alvin Kamara, WR’s Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry and rookie burner in Chris Olave.

Did I mention that they play nine games in a DOME. Who Dey! Don’t sleep on the Saints this year.

4.) Browns TE David Njoku has Monster All-Pro Season. Thanks to the Progressive-making headache known as Baker Mayfield being persona non grata, former first round pick in David Njoku will emerge into a top-ten TE.

With word out of Berea that the Browns are moving to a three-WR, one TE offense, Njoku should see lots of targets from embattled QB Deshaun Watson thanks to the attention being paid to Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. If the former Hurricane standouts new four-year $57 million extension is any indication, the Browns are expecting big things out of “The Chief”

Njoku will get his targets, hopefully his hand come ready to play this season.

5.) Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa has a Breakout Year! Hard to believe that this is Tua’s third year down in Miami. Depending on his production. It could be his last. With the Dolphins clearly showing some confidence in building around Tua by bringing in Tyreke Hill via trade from Kansas City, former Crimson Tide teammate Jaylen Waddle in the 2021 NFL Draft and free agent Cedrick Wilson from Dallas, speed is the name of the game down in the 305, and hopefully the southpaw can ball so hard this year!

6.) Sauce Gardener Too Hot For NFL Offenses! The highest drafted cornerback in recent history out of Cincinnati, in Sauce Gardner proves to hot to handle in emerging into the league’s new shutdown corner. Gang Green already has made improvements on defense, and with the NFL morphing into AFL 2.0, Gardener will have plenty of opportunities to flourish.

7.) Justin Fields Usurps NFC North From Aaron Rodgers. Some might call this a hot take, for some strange reason, I’m not going to be too shocked to see Fields improve upon a so-so year, thanks to new head coach Matt Eberflus reportedly building an offense tailored to the former Ohio State signal-callers strengths. Couple that with the soon-to-be 39-year-old Rodgers losing his top two targets in Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling look for Fields to have a big 2022.

8.) Marquez Valdes-Scantling Breaks Out In Kansas City In Replacing Cheetah! After trading Tyreke Hill to Miami, Kansas City catches lightning in a bottle in his potential replacement in former Packers wideout, Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Valdes-Scantling, a reliable No.2 target for Aaron Rodgers forms an immediate chemistry with Mahomes en route to 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns.

9.) Jacoby Brisett, Myles Garrett and Nick Chubb Lead Browns To AFC North Title. Now if there was ever a bold prediction, THIS is it. With the possibility of Watson being out for an extended period of time, Cleveland rallies to clinch their first division title since 1989 thanks to gutsy performances from Brisett, a balanced backfield led by Chubb, Kareem Hunt and rookie tailback Jerome Ford and 15.5 sacks by NFL DPOY candidate in Garrett.

10.) Derek Carr Edges Out Josh Allen For NFL MVP. While many are all but ready to hand the FedEx NFL MVP to Allen, many people forgot and overlooked Carr at their own peril. Thanks to a high-powered passing offense under new head coach Josh McDaniels, that finally unleashes Carr, as well as being reunited with former Fresno Statw teammate in Davante Adams, Carr puts up career numbers in passing yards (5,419), touchdowns (43) and attempts (657) en route to his first-ever NFL MVP award.

 

 

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