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NFL Predictions 2020: Award Winners & Statistical Leaders

NFL Predictions 2020: Award Winners & Statistical Leaders

The NFL season is finally here. There was a point in time where the 2020 season was in doubt but we made it. Three days from now the season kicks off with the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Houston Texans. With the season right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for some NFL predictions. This is the first in what will be a five-part series of NFL Predictions for the 2020 season. First up are the statistical leaders and AP award winners. Let’s dive in.


Passing Yards Leader:
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Stafford was putting together a marvelous 2019 campaign before his season ending injury. In eight games he racked up 2,499 passing yards and 19 passing TD’s. Had he kept that up for the remainder of the season, Stafford would’ve thrown for nearly 5,000 yards. The Lions added D’Andre Swift in the second round of the NFL Draft and signed Adrian Peterson to bolster their run game but the team will still lean heavily on Stafford’s arm. With a talented receiving corps in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola, Stafford will put up big numbers in 2020.

The Top 5:

Matthew Stafford, DET, 4,885 Yards
Patrick Mahomes, KC, 4,670 Yards
Jared Goff, LAR, 4,520 Yards
Matt Ryan, ATL, 4,440 Yards
Dak Prescott, DAL, 4,390 Yards


Passing TD’s Leader:

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

The reigning Super Bowl MVP will lead the NFL in passing yards in 2020. That should come as no surprise since he’s the league’s most dominant QB. Mahomes has been amazing in his first two seasons as a starter with over 9,000 passing yards and 76 passing TD’s. He’s only going to get better heading into his third season as a starter. The Chiefs will field one of the league’s fastest groups of WR’s and arguably the league’s best TE in Travis Kelce. Mahomes has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, he’ll make use of them while scorching NFL defenses.

The Top Five:

Patrick Mahomes, KC, 39 TD’s
Russell Wilson, SEA, 36 TD’s
Tom Brady, TB, 33 TD’s
Matthew Stafford, DET, 32 TD’s
Dak Prescott, DAL, 30 TD’s


Rushing Yards Leader:

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Last season Barkley suffered an ankle injury in week 3 against the Buccaneers. As a result, he was unable to reciprocate the success he saw as a rookie in 2018. He was still able to surpass 1,000 yards rushing even while dealing with injuries. Now fully healthy, Barkley will be a headache for opposing defenses. He’s the most electric RB in the NFL. If you give him a crease he’ll turn it into a 50 yard gain in no time. Those are the kind of plays that you need in order to win the rushing title. Barkley will shine in 2020 as he leads the NFL in rushing.

The Top Five:

Saquon Barkley, NYG, 1,525 Yards
Derrick Henry, TEN, 1,430 Yards
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, 1,410 Yards
Josh Jacobs, LVR, 1,385 Yards
Nick Chubb, CLE, 1,315 Yards


Rushing TD’s Leader:
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys 

Last season there was a lot of clamor about Zeke losing some of his burst due to the fact that he only recorded four rushes of 20+ yards. To put that number in perspective, Zeke recorded 30 runs of 20+ yards in the three seasons prior. With that being said, Zeke still rushed for over 1,300 yards in 2019, with 12 rushing TD’s to go along with it. Zeke’s is playing with some extra motivation this season saying “I think I do have a lot to prove” in regards to the 2020 season. And he’s saying that despite having two rushing titles in his first four seasons. Zeke will have a monster year and lead the NFL in rushing TD’s.


The Top Five:

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, 15 TD’s
Derrick Henry, TEN, 14 TD’s
Saquon Barkley, NYG, 12 TD’s
Christian McCaffrey, CAR, 11 TD’s
Joe Mixon, CIN, 10 TD’s


Scrimmage Yards Leaders:
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Barkley will be a workhorse back in 2020 with the Giants having little to offer behind him. He’s explosive, a great receiver out of the backfield and Barkley has tremendous vision. The Giants don’t have a true number one receiver so Barkley will have 60-70 catches on top of about 250 carries. So he’ll have plenty of opportunities to produce. Barkley will have a career year in 2020.

The Top Five: 

Saquon Barkley, NYG, 2,135 Yards
(1,525 Rushing, 610 Receiving)

Christian McCaffrey, CAR, 2,015 Yards
(1255 Rushing, 760 Receiving)

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, 1,825 Yards
(1,410 Rushing, 415 Receiving)

Josh Jacobs, LVR, 1,755 Yards
(1,385 Rushing, 370 Receiving)

Miles Sanders, PHI, 1,735 Yards
(1,125 Rushing, 610 Receiving)


Receiving Yards Leader:

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Julio Jones and Michael Thomas may seem like better picks but Hill is in for a big year. He won’t get 115-120 catches but he makes up for that with his big play ability. Since 2016, Hill leads all players in deep yards with 1,964 and receiving TD’s on deep throws with 17. But he’s not just a deep threat. Hill has improved his route running in each season and he’s one of the league’s best at attacking the ball at the catch point. The Chiefs offense is loaded so Hill has some competition for targets but that won’t stop him from producing at a high level. Hill will take that next step as a WR in 2020.

The Top Five:

Tyreek Hill, KC, 1,610 Yards
Julio Jones, ATL, 1,450 Yards
Kenny Golladay, DET, 1,400
Michael Thomas, NO, 1,355 Yards
Davante Adams, GB, 1,285 Yards

Receiving TD’s Leaders:

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions

Golladay played half of the 2019 season with Jeff Driskel and David Blough but managed to end the season with 1,190 receiving yards and a league leading 11 receiving TD’s. Golladay doesn’t need a lot of catches to rack up yardage because he’s one of the league’s best deep threats. His 18.3 YPC ranked third in the NFL last season. On top of being a great deep threat, Golladay also began to fine tune his route running. If Golladay puts it all together in 2020 then he could be in for a special season as he heads into year-four of his career.

The Top Five:

Kenny Golladay, DET, 14 TD’s
Davante Adams, GB, 13 TD’s
Tyreek Hill, KC, 13 TD’s
DeAndre Hopkins, ARI, 11 TD’s
Cooper Kupp, LAR, 10 TD’s


NFL Receptions Leader:
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

Out of all of the NFL predictions, this one was the easiest. Thomas is the clear cut number one option in the Saints offense. Thomas is a possession WR who works the middle of the field and thrives on slant routes. In 2019, Thomas broke the NFL’s single season reception record with 149 catches. He likely won’t replicate those same numbers in 2020 with the off-season acquisitions of TE Jared Cook and WR Emmanuel Sanders, but Thomas will still top all WR’s in catches.

The Top Five:

Michael Thomas, NO, 121 REC
Adam Thielen, Min, 115 REC
Davante Adams, GB, 107 REC
Julio Jones, ATL, 104 REC
DeAndre Hopkins, ATL, 101 REC 


Tackles For Loss Leader:
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

This is my most confident pick in the NFL Predictions series. Donald is the most disruptive force in the NFL. He won back to back DPOY trophies in 2017 and 2018, he’s been a pro bowler every year of his career and he’s made five straight NFL All Pro teams. You get the drift here. Donald is putting together one of the greatest resumes of all time. He’s great against the run and pass, constantly beating double teams and owning offensive lineman at the point of attack. Donald lives in opponents backfield. He’s been the league leader in TFL in both 2018 and 2019 and he’ll do the same in 2020.

The Top Five:

Aaron Donald, LAR, 22 TFL
Nick Bosa, SF, 18 TFL
Danielle Hunter, MIN, 17 TFL
Joey Bosa, LAC, 16 TFL
Za’Darius Smith, GB, 16 TFL



Sack Leader:
Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings

Hunter has recorded 14.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons and is second to only Aaron Donald in total pressures with 154 during that timespan. Hunter is long, athletic and he plays the game violently. He viciously brings QB’s to the ground and he’s an effective run defender. In 2019 he led all defensive ends in tackles with 70. Hunter will face less double teams in 2020 after the Vikings recently acquired DE Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with Jacksonville. He’ll make the most of those opportunities.

Top Five:

Danielle Hunter, MIN, 18 Sacks
Chandler Jones, ARI, 15.5 Sacks
T.J. Watt, PIT, 14 Sacks
Cameron Jordan, NO, 13.5 Sacks
Myles Garrett, CLE, 13 Sacks


Tackle Leader:
Zach Cunningham, Houston Texans

Cunningham is one of the best young LB’s in the league. As evidenced by him inking a 4 year, 58 million dollar contract extension last week. Last season he tallied 142 tackles (99 solo), which ranked 6th in the NFL. Cunningham’s special team prowess is what pushes him over the edge. He played 31% of Houston’s special teams snaps last season. This gives him even more tackle opportunities. Cunningham will further prove he’s worthy of his big extension in 2020 as he’ll lead the NFL in tackles.

The Top Five:

Zach Cunningham, HOU, 155 Tackles
Bobby Wagner, SEA, 150 Tackles
Blake Martinez, NYG, 147 Tackles
Darius Leonard, IND, 145 Tackles
Budda Baker, ARI, 142 Tackles


Interceptions Leader:
Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans

This was one of the tougher decisions of the NFL predictions series but Byard is the correct choice. Byard is still a bit of an unknown to the casual fan but he’s arguably the best safety in the league. He’s a playmaker when playing deep centerfield and he doesn’t shy away from tackles in run support. Since 2017, Byard leads all safeties in interceptions (17) and pass deflections (33). He’s the best ball-hawking DB in the NFL. Byard will have plenty of opportunities to pick-off opposing QB’s in 2020.

The Top Five:

Kevin Byard, TEN, 7 INT
Minkah Fitzpatrick, PIT, 6 INT
Justin Simmons, DEN, 6 INT
Anthony Harris, MIN, 5 INT
Tre’Davious White, BUF, 5 INT


That’s it for the statistical section of my NFL Predictions series. Now we’re jumping into the award winners section.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

The fact that Wilson has never received a single vote for the NFL MVP award is mind boggling. Since 2017, Wilson leads all QB’s in passing TD’s with 100. That’s 15 more than Tom Brady who sits in second place during that same span. Since the departure of the infamous LOB, the Seahawks have often depended on the heroics of Wilson in order to win games. This will be the year he gets awarded by voters as he’ll lead Seattle to the NFC West title.

Runners-up: Patrick Mahomes, KC, Deshaun Watson, HOU


NFL Offensive Player Of The Year:
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

This rounds out what will be a very productive season for Barkley. I have him leading the NFL in both rushing yards and scrimmage yards. Barkley is in for a fantastic season. Get your popcorn ready and enjoy the show.

Runners-up: Christian McCaffrey, CAR, Patrick Mahomes, KC

NFL Defensive Player Of The Year:
Danielle Hunter, DE, Minnesota Vikings
Hunter will take the next step and become a defensive star this season. At 24 years old, he’s already the youngest player in NFL history to record 50 career sacks but he’ll become a household name in 2020. He’s my sack leader and 2020 NFL DPOY.
Runners-up: Aaron Donald, LAR, Darius Leonard, IND


NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year:
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Out of all of my NFL Predictions, this one was the toughest. Decided to go with Burrow because he’s truly special. He’s walking into a situation with a talented WR room that consists of AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, John Ross and rookie WR Tee Higgins. There’s a good chance that Burrow breaks the rookie passing TD record of 27. It’ll be a tight race between Burrow, Cam Akers and Clyde Edwards-Helaire but Burrow will prevail.

Runners-up: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC, Cam Akers, LAR


NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year: 
Chase Young, DE, Washington Football Team

Taking the top two picks to bring home the rookie of the year awards may seem like the easy way out but this is just one of those years. The top two picks deserved all of the hype that they received. Young is a physically imposing DE with amazing strength and speed. He’s great against the run and he has a nice array of pass rushing moves. Young will be a problem from day one.

Runners-up: Patrick Queen, BAL, Antoine Winfield Jr, TB


NFL Comeback Player Of The Year:
Cam Newton, QB, New England Patriots 

Newton was a free agent QB for much longer than he should’ve been but it worked out in his favor. Landing with the Patriots and Bill Belichick was the best thing that could’ve happened to Newton. Newton is a former MVP with a chip on his shoulder. He’s the best QB in the AFC East so there’s a good chance that the Patriots will win the division. Newton will look return to Pro Bowl form and earn himself a nice payday next off-season.

Runners-up: Matthew Stafford, DET, AJ Green, CIN 


NFL Coach Of The Year: 
Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s been an eventful off-season for the Buccaneers. The arrival of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski put the franchise in win now mode for the first time since 2002. A good draft haul and the signing of RB Leonard Fournette have raised expectations even higher. The Buccaneers will go 12-4 and will bring home the NFC South crown.

Runners-up: Bill Belichick, NE, Pete Carroll, SEA


That rounds up the first of our five-part NFL Predictions series. Next up in our NFL Predictions series will be 2020 division winners and playoff outcomes. Stay tuned.

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