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    4 bold predictions for the 2020 NFL season

    By Matt Verderame
    Oakland Raiders

    For many reasons, this will be a wild and unpredictable NFL season. Matt Verderame makes 4 bold predictions for the upcoming 2020 season.

    4. Derek Carr goes to the Pro Bowl

    So many pundits are expecting Carr to fall on his face this autumn. After all, the Raiders haven’t been overly complimentary of Carr since Jon Gruden took over as head coach two seasons ago, and they signed backup quarterback Marcus Mariota to a two-year, $17 million deal.

    However, Carr completed more than 70 percent of his throws and easily had his best campaign since breaking his leg on Christmas Eve in 2016. He’s now surrounded by the best cast of weapons he has ever played with, including rookie wideout Henry Ruggs III. Look for Carr to be terrific, and push for the third AFC spot behind Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.

     

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    3. The New England Patriots have a losing record

    This may not sound worthy of a bold prediction. Still, the Patriots haven’t had a losing year since 2000, the first season with Bill Belichick as the head coach.

    So what’s the problem? Obviously, Tom Brady is playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But it’s more than that. It’s really about the defense losing key pieces including Dont’a Hightower, who opted out due to concerns over COVID-19. Then there’s the retirement of longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Major problems in Foxborough.

    2. It’s a playoff chase for the Arizona Cardinals

    Not sure if the Cardinals have the goods to get into the postseason, but they’ll be in the race going into Weeks 16 and 17. Arizona has playmakers all over the offense including quarterback Kyler Murray, running back Kenyan Drake and receivers Larry Fitzgerald and DeAndre Hopkins.

    The main question is whether the defense can hold up its proverbial end of the bargain. Isaiah Simmons has a ton of talent coming in from Clemson, but what’s his position? Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson are Defensive Player of the Year-type talents, but what of the other eight starters?

     

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    1. Patrick Mahomes throws for 5,000 yards and wins MVP honors

    This probably doesn’t seem like a bold prediction, but how many players have ever thrown for 5,000 yards and won the MVP in the same season? Answer: Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Mahomes.

    The Chiefs have the best weapons in the NFL and Mahomes is going to go wild with them, throwing for 5,000 yards for the second time in three years while winning another MVP award.

    The only difference this time? It’ll be capped off by a Super Bowl victory, not an AFC title game defeat.