Each day over the next two weeks we will reveal a Prediction of the Day, where we share an interesting player or team prediction leading into the 2013 NFL season. Rams vs. Falcons, Tampa Bay's defense, Broncos/49ers, Ravens repeat?, Sacks will Skyrocket, Playoff teams missing the playoffs, New playoff teams, Broncos TDs, Philip Rivers.
Prediction: Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson each finish in the top five in NFL MVP balloting.
Why it is likely:
While it is easy to say that the quarterbacks of the three best teams will factor into the MVP race, consider where we were just a year ago. Manning was a major question mark on a new team after taking a full year off of football to deal with neck surgeries. Kaepernick was a former draft afterthought (to most, we had him #4 at the position in his class – behind Newton, Dalton and Mallett) turned backup quarterback and Russell Wilson was a short, third round pick competing with Matt Flynn for the job. All three teams have elite defenses, above average offensive lines and savvy coaching staffs, yet the dynamic play of these quarterbacks puts the Broncos, 49ers and Seahawks over the top.
Projecting the results of a subjective process is not necessarily easy. 1,440 NFL players will make active rosters on a weekly basis. Picking 60% of a top five list compiled by a group that includes some not in-tune with how players contribute to team victories is not likely. We have not even mentioned Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III (others appear below) let alone dark horse candidates in good situations like Sam Bradford, Jay Cutler, Jamaal Charles (what a non-QB???), Doug Martin, A.J. Green and others.
Adrian Peterson and Aaron Rodgers are strong options to complete this group as well. Current projections for Peyton Manning: 4,200 pass yards, 36 TDs, 14 INTs, #1 Seed AFC. Projections for Colin Kaepernick: 3,415 pass yards, 25 pass TDs, 14 INTs, 650 rush yards, 6 rush TDs, #1 Seed NFC. Projections for Russell Wilson: 3,725 pass yards, 28 pass TDs, 12 INTs, 325 rush yards, 3 rush TDs, league’s third best record.
Other award predictions include (most likely winners are rarely exciting/surprising): J.J. Watt, Defensive Player of the Year (also watch: Patrick Willis, Cameron Wake and Darrelle Revis); Tavon Austin, Offensive Rookie of the Year (also watch: Lane Johnson, Luke Joeckel and Eddie Lacy); Jarvis Jones, Defensive Rookie of the Year (also watch: Alec Ogletree, Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd); Jeff Fisher, Coach of the Year (also watch: Jim Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, Mike McCoy).