Greetings Mile High Report!
Wow, I disappear for 100 weeks and everything changes. But we still root for the Broncos, right?
Anyway, with the Hall-of-Fame game kicking off in a few hours, I thought it might be a good time to make some predictions about the upcoming season. For those of you who remember me, some of my predictions will be...well, predictable. Let me apologize for that upfront.
First, I'll make some predictions about the Broncos this season.
1) The Broncos will win the Super Bowl. In the past, some might have labeled me "a wet blanket" for my lack of orange-colored optimism. And so this prediction might come as a surprise. But I love this version of the Broncos. What's not to love? Clearly, this is the best team in the AFC. This year, they bring home the trophy they should've won last year.
2) Ronnie Hillman will not only start, but will exceed most expectations. I've been a Ronnie Hillman fan for sometime. I think a year in the system and the extra-lean muscle mass will serve him well in the coming season.
3) Malik Jackson will eventually start ahead of Robert Ayers. I was fairly early on Malik Jackson and have never liked Robert Ayers. As I've written before elsewhere, I think Malik Jackson is an intriguing talent. Don't get me wrong: He's not Elvis. So I don't know that he'll be able to hold off a healthy Quanterus Smith.
4) All Bronco fans will come to despise Manny Ramirez. I know most Bronco fans don't like him already. But I believe that his play at center will cause the remaining fans to loathe him. I just hope the precipitating event isn't something too serious.
5) Sylvester Williams will not make meaningful contributions this season. I can't tell whether he's a bust or not, but I just don't see him supplanting Big Vick and Terrance Knighton on non-obvious passing downs. And I think Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson will play inside on passing downs. To me, that kind of leaves him in the lurch.
Now, I'll switch it up and bit and make some predictions that aren't directly oriented around the Broncos.
1) Lamar Miller will lead the league in rushing and lead the Dolphins to the playoffs. No surprise here. Prior to the 2012 draft, I'd tell anyone who'd listen that Lamar Miller was special. His Hall-of-Fame career starts tonight (in about 90 minutes).
2) Coty Sensabaugh will start for the Titans and lead the team in interceptions. Some of you might ask, "Who's Coty Sensabaugh?" And the rest might ask, "Who cares?" Well, I do. Prior to the 2012 draft, this kid wasn't showing up on any draftnik-media prospect lists. And I thought he could play. I was derided as unstable. So it's somewhat gratifying to hear Titan's defensive coordinator, Jerry Gray, say this.
3) Cordarelle Patterson will win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Pretty straightforward. This kid's special. The runner-up will be the Rams' Tavon Austin.
4) The St. Louis Rams will have a great year and Sam Bradford will emerge as a surprise fantasy stud. I'm not sure why, but I've always pulled for Sam Bradford and his lack of has surprised me. I think this is the year he puts it all together. Steven Jackson be damned.
Simply put, he has too many weapons. Chris Givens, Tavon Austin and Zac Stacy will create a cocoon of explosive talent around him. And that defense is really coming along. That's a tough division. But I think the Seahawks are in for a mild comeuppance. Percy Harvin's trouble and he's contagious.
5) Here are my predictions for division winners and wild cards:
AFC West: Who else?
AFC North: Cincinnati
AFC South: Houston
AFC East: New England
AFC Wild Cards: Miami and Indianapolis
NFC West: San Francisco
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: New Orleans
NFC East: Washington
NFC Wild Cards: Minnesota and St. Louis.
Anyway, I think that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed reading this and that you'll feel encouraged to throw your two cents into the comments.
I'm a huge fan of polls, so I'll include one too.