It’s a long off season in the NFL and this time of year is the most barren in terms of news around the league. So let’s have some fun… here’s 5 Way Too Early predictions from me that we can all laugh at in January.
Joey Bosa & Melvin Ingram combine for 30+ sacks
Let’s kick this off with a big one! Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are arguably the best duo of pass rushers in the league. Since they’ve been paired together, the partnership has been very productive, registering 23 sacks between them in 2017.
Well, I think they’ll take another leap in year 2 in Gus Bradley’s defense. I’m making a prediction and a pretty bold prediction, with the Bolts rushers getting 30+ sacks between them.
Additional familiarity with the scheme, and a group of lockdown defensive backs covering pass catchers means opposing QB’s are going to continue to have nightmares about Bosa and Ingram… they just need a cool nickname now, don’t they?
Production prediction: Bosa 18.5 sacks, Ingram 14 sacks
Derwin James wins Defensive Rookie of the Year
I still can’t believe that the Chargers were able to select Derwin James with the 17th overall pick in the draft. How did the rest of the league allow this to happen?
I am so excited to see James in a lightning bolt as I feel he’s a perfect fit for Gus Bradley and his defense. With this in mind, I believe Bradley is going to put James in positions to affect the game in multiple ways and really play to his strengths. Plus, James is just an awesome player and like the rest of the Bolts defense, it’s going to be fun to watch!
Taking all of this into account, I’m calling it right now, Derwin James, 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Production prediction: 65 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INT & 3 FF.
Keenan Allen to lead the NFL in catches
There are very few Quarterback and Wide Receiver connections that are as potent and as frequently successful as Philip Rivers to Keenan Allen.
When healthy Keenan Allen is without question one of the games’ elite pass catchers. Allen was a sight to behold last year, completing 102 catches. I’m backing him to keep injuries at bay again and to go even bigger next year.
Allen has fantastic release off the line, he’s one of, if not the best route runner in the league. He’s got “YAC-ability” and he doesn’t drop many balls that are within his radius. I think he could catch 7 or 8 balls on average, per game without breaking a sweat. This will take him to around 120 catches and that’ll be the most in the NFL.
Production prediction: 123 catches, 1530 yards, 9 TD’s
Chargers defense will allow the least points over the season
If you hadn’t guessed already, I am all in on the Bolts defense for the coming season. Last years’ defense was good, but a combination on getting injured players back and what the team added via the draft means that his group is going to be truly great.
In terms of points allowed in 2017, only the Vikings and Jags were better than the Chargers. These three groups will be up there again in 2018 and be vying with each other for the unofficial title of the league’s best.
The Chargers need to sure up the run defense but I think they will and it’ll all come together in Los Angeles this year. Kind of weird to think that an offense with Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon et al is possibly the lesser side of the ball.
Production prediction: Chargers give up less than 250 points over the regular season
Mike Williams to have 900+ Yards, 5+ TD’s
I’ll be honest, I had to rewrite this final prediction. I originally had this one based on Hunter Henry but as it looks like he’s going to miss the season with injury, both the Chargers and myself will have to re-think.
As one door closes, another opens, and it opens for second-year receiver Mike Williams. We’re all hoping that Williams is back and fully healthy for this season and if he is, I think he could step up to the plate and soften the blow from Henry missing the year.
Unless the Chargers bring in a short term replacement for Henry, I think we will see a lot of 3 and 4 wide receiver sets, which means plenty of time on the field for Williams. He will play second fiddle to Keenan Allen but there should be plenty of balls to go around with Philip Rivers at QB.
Production prediction: 904 yards, 5 TD’s
– Lee Wakefield is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @Wakefield90