Five Bold Predictions For This NFL Season

Jude Magnotti ’26
EE Sports Columnist

Hello? Hello hello! Ahh, great to see you, and welcome back to what is sure to be another amazing year of sports writing at Eagle Eye. For my first article of this new year, I will be delivering you my five bold predictions for the upcoming 2023-2024 NFL season. With every new NFL season comes a new batch of controversial opinions. Some of them are spot on, while others are radically off. Either way, they are the necessary evil of the sports world, and here’s what I believe are going to be the shockers of this season:

1: Calvin Ridley becomes a top 5 receiver in the NFL, and Trevor Lawrence becomes a top 5 QB. There’s no question about it, this is Trevor Lawrence’s season. He finished top ten in every major category last year with a beaten up offensive line and a sub-par receiving corps. Now with a solid O-line and a true number 1 receiver in Calvin Ridley, it is Lawrence’s turn to be the next big breakout star. Lawrence faced problems his rookie season, but he was the consensus number 1 pick for a reason and with Doug Pederson as his coach, there is no way he does not perform this year. The main benefactor of this situation will easily be Calvin Ridley. For those who don’t know, Ridley was suspended last year for betting on NFL games. While he was suspended, this incident has nothing to do with his play on the field nor his personality. Therefore, there is no doubt in my mind that he can get back to his previous form on the Atlanta Falcons. If both Ridley and Lawrence are able to shine together, there is no doubt in my mind that the Jaguars can claim their second straight division title and make a deep run in the playoffs.

2: Tua has a better season than Justin Herbert. Since being drafted back to back in 2020, Tua and Herbert’s rivalry has been significantly one-sided. Herbert has out-performed Tua in almost every aspect of play, including health. People have laughed at the Dolphins for years since drafting Tua over Herbert. However, I believe this will finally be the year Tua out-performs Herbert for a few different reasons. First off, I think this is the first year that Tua will finally be able to stay healthy. While Tua’s offensive line is certainly not stellar, he is far smarter now than he was in his first few seasons. This will help him make decisions that keep him away from injury more often. He has also significantly bulked up which will make him better at absorbing the contact he takes. Next, Tua has a far better supporting cast. Herbert may have a great defense and Keenan Allen, but Tua has the best receiving corps in the NFL in both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. This, along with Mike McDaniel’s offensive genius and a defense bolstered by Vic Fangio, will ensure that Tua has the right pieces around him to succeed. Finally, I believe that flat out Tua has a better skillset. Justin Herbert may have arm strength and pocket presence, but Tua has the picture-perfect accuracy. Tua was leading the league in passer rating last year up until when he was hurt. He was the best deep ball thrower in the league and I believe he will only build on those skills heading into this season. The Dolphins’ opening matchup against the Chargers will be a key indicator for both these quarterbacks’ seasons. Whoever wins will not only have set the tone for their team’s season but the tone for what will be a long-standing and incredible rivalry.

3: The Packers with Jordan Love will have a better season than the Jets with Aaron Rodgers. Coming into this season, the Jets have one of the toughest schedules in the entire league, ranked 25th in strength of schedule. Meanwhile, the Packers have one of the easiest at number 11. Aaron Rodgers is coming off the worst season of his career. While he certainly does have a better supporting cast around him, I don’t think he will get back to being close to the player he was in his prime. I also believe that New York is going to struggle significantly with injuries this year. While they still have hope of winning the division, more likely than not in a loaded division, they will finish 3rd. Meanwhile in Green Bay, this is Jordan Love’s chance to ball out with the other young talent around him. He is armed and dangerous and I believe with the Packers’ strong defense and great weapons around Love, they could easily end up with a better record.

4: Myles Garrett breaks the single-season sack record with 23 and wins DPOY. It is no secret that Myles Garrett is a freak of nature. Since his first NFL snap, Garrett has terrorized opposing quarterbacks like there is no tomorrow. At 6’4 271 pounds, Garrett looks more like he was designed in a lab rather than birthed by a human. However, despite Garrett’s utter dominance, he has yet to win a Defensive Player Of The Year. How has this injustice gone unchecked for so long? Don’t ask me, but there is no doubt in my mind that this is the season Garrett proves his doubters wrong. With an elite QB in Deshaun Watson, all the pressure is off him to carry the team, and this year he is going to go absolutely ballistic. I expect him game after game to constantly be putting pressure on the opposing quarterback while also being a force in the run game. In addition to his pure strength, Garrett has a unique arsenal of moves to sneak past offensive linemen and then chase down the quarterback with his blazing speed. This elite combination is a recipe for disaster for opposing quarterbacks, and if Garrett is able to play all 17 games, he has a very good chance of breaking the NFL’s single-season sack record with 23. Whether he does it or not, Garrett is going to assert his dominance over the NFL this season and make up for the times he has been snubbed in the past.

5: The Patriots finish with the worst record in the NFL…but something good comes out of it. If you ask me, I have never been a fan of Bill O’Brien. He was horrendous when he was the coach of Houston and he has done nothing but hurt every organization he has been a part of. I have never bought into the Mac Jones hype, and with O’Brien as his Offensive Coordinator, I believe he is only going to further regress. I believe despite their defense’s success last year, they will regress as well. Rhamondre Stevenson is the only player I can see being a bright spot on this team. However, while I believe he will have a breakout year, none of that will matter if his team can’t be good. Bill Belichick may break Don Shula’s win record one day, but I believe every team in the NFL is going to fight to make that journey as hard as possible for the Patriots. However, there will be a major positive to come out of this situation. Mac Jones may not pan out, but there’s a certain Heisman winner QB that will be available in next year’s draft. If the Pats can be as bad as possible, they have a chance of getting generational QB talent Caleb Williams from USC.  If Belichick can get Williams on his roster, then the whole league will be in massive trouble. Now, take these predictions with a grain of salt. If you did not already know, I am in no way a fortune teller and it’s more likely than not that most of my predictions won’t come true. However, that is not gonna stop me from giving you my takes anyways! These are just opinions and this is what sports is all about! Now, ladies and gentlemen, strap yourself in because Football is back, baby! And it’s time to get ready for what’s gonna be a very, very interesting season…

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