Predictions are a fun way of looking forward to the season coming up, no matter the sport. Since football is just on the horizon, here are a few predictions on what might be in store for fans in 2012.
1. Julio Jones will win Offensive Player Of The Year
The Atlanta Falcons have been talking all training camp about how they want to open up the passing game with Matt Ryan, limit to carries for Michael Turner so he can be fresh all year long, and how they will have a chip on their shoulders after yet another playoff loss last season. However, they have also talked about how second year player Julio Jones has been amazing in camp and that Matt Ryan will target him early and often while Roddy White takes a step back.
Jones is simply one of the most talented player in the league and if you take his rookie year and project it to a full 16 games (while considering he missed three games but missed most of two other games as well), Jones would have had 1370 yards and 12 touchdowns. If you add natural player profession after a rookie season, more targets, a full offseason, and a healthy campaign, then Jones’ prospects for a great season look very good. A quarterback will almost surely win MVP, but in two of the last three seasons someone other than the MVP won the OPOTY award. Drew Brees took it last year while Aaron Rodgers won the MVP, and 2010 was the exception when Brady won both awards with a remarkable season. In 2009, Peyton Manning won the MVP, but a different player won OPOTY. His name was Chris Johnson, who broke out in a huge way after being a first round pick and having a very good rookie season, and the player who he shared the spotlight with in his rookie season (LenDale White) took a step back the next year. Sound familiar?
2. Doug Martin will lead the league in total yards from scrimmage
The Bucs hired a new head coach who will look to run the ball and form the offense around his running back. While LeGarrette Blount is bound to get some carries early in the season because Martin is still a rookie and Blount has two years of experience, the Bucs are still very high on Martin and will look for 2012 to be the beginning of him being their future at running back. Martin will see a ton if touches throughout the season because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, something Josh Freeman will love to have in the offense. Martin will also prove to be the best running back by far on the team, pushing Blount off the field by the second half of the season.
3. The Packers will win the Super Bowl
This may not be a bold prediction, but many people like to see who others think will win it all before every year and this is my prediction. The Packers have made some improvements to their defense, and whether that makes a significant difference has yet to be determined. However, they still have the best player in the NFL, they added a running back who I think will give them a good ground attack, and they have weapons all over the field to make a bad Rodgers day look like a good one. The Packers will be hungry and prepared for this years postseason, and when the playoffs finally do come around, it’s going to take another perfect storm for them to be knocked off, something I think wont happen in back to back years.