After a long, arduous wait the NFL season is finally back. More importantly, that means my Friday predictions column is back. I’ll layout a few predictions and whether they will happen (fact) or not (fiction). Is it a dumb gimmick? Damn right it is, but alliteration trumps all.
Blaine Gabbert will complete +60% of his passes: FACT
We only got to see a little bit of Blaine Gabbert this preseason, but for the most part he looks marginally improved from last year. He won the starting job on the merits of a good training camp and a great performance in one preseason game against the Jets. Gabbert’s biggest problem – in my opinion – his first two years was his lack of consistency, mainly in completing easy passes. Last year Gabbert only completed 67% of passes behind the line of scrimmage and within ten yards. Albeit in limited time, Gabbert completed 80% of those passes this preseason. We’ve complained about Gabbert not stretching the field enough so far in his career but the key to testing the deep part of the field is to keep the defense honest and complete the easy throws. This minor improvement should consistently bump up his completion percentage.
Maurice Jones-Drew will have +100 yards rushing: FICTION
This seems like an easy prediction given Jones-Drew’s offseason foot surgery, but MJD looked fresh and ready to hit the ground running this preseason. My basis for this prediction really is how I think the new offense is going to look. Jedd Fisch is going to put the onus on Blaine Gabbert to move this offense and he’s going to find ways for Gabbert to utilize the newly acquired speed players (Ace Sanders Denard Robinson). They’re also going to rotate MJD out a lot more with Shoelace, Justin Forsett, and Jordan Todman all available. We’ll have a better idea of what kind of workload Jones-Drew will get after this first game.
Jamaal Charles will have +100 yards rushing: FACT
The Jaguars have a lot of new faces on defense, specifically on the defensive line. The defense fluctuated from spurts of dominance to being a sieve often this preseason, but most of my concern lies with the run defense. The Jets game in particular was disconcerting, with the likes of Bilal Powell and Mossis Madu shredding the defense. Additionally, the secondary is very young, which leaves the last line of defense a vulnerability. If Jamaal Charles gets to the second level he probably won’t go down.
The Jaguars will be competitive and could potentially win the game if Blaine Gabbert is in a groove and doesn’t go into his “shell” after one mistake. Unfortunately the Chiefs have a more talented team on paper and for now that’s the best way to make this prediction.
Prediction: Chiefs 27- Jaguars 20
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89