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12. The Denver Broncos will be a better team this season than last season.
- The Broncos kept the majority of their superb defense together this offseason in hopes that it will again be able to propel them to a Super Bowl victory. If anything, starting quarterback Trevor Siemian is an upgrade at quarterback from Peyton Manning last season, since Manning threw just 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last season and the team still managed to win the Super Bowl. The Broncos still have the majority of Manning’s favorite offensive weapons for Siemian to utilize as well, with running back CJ Anderson in the backfield and wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders running routes in attempt to again be one of the NFL’s top wide receiver duos.
11. Cam Newton will repeat as the league’s MVP award winner.
- No player has won back to back MVP awards since the 2009 season when Peyton Manning took the honors of being the first winner of back to back NFL MVP awards since he did it himself back at the conclusion of the 2004 season. It will be hard for Newton to do what he did last season again this season, but he is still in his first few seasons in the league, and having his favorite target from the 2014, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, back from an ACL injury that kept him sidelined all of last season. No quarterback that is deemed a “running quarterback” or a “mobile quarterback” has ever won the MVP award two seasons in a row, but Newton is already breaking quarterback rushing records in only his 5th and 6th seasons in the NFL.
10. Eddie Lacy will rebound from an abysmal 2015 season with a career season in all major statistical categories for a running back.
- Last season, Eddie Lacy had the worst season of his 3-year NFL career despite high expectations surrounding him all of last offseason. This season, Lacy comes back to the Green Bay Packers having lost a bunch of weight that he gained prior to last season and that hindered his ability to play at an elite level. Also this season, Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers has start wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who missed the 2015 season due to an ACL injury, back to throw the ball to, and Nelson’s presence alone will help take some focus off of Lacy not only as the Packers’ primary ball carrier, but as a target for Rodgers to throw to as much as if not more than the 2014 season, when Lacy totaled a career high 1,566 yards from scrimmage.
9. Marcus Mariota will be in the late season MVP hunt as one of the league’s top dual threat quarterbacks.
- Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman trophy winner, had a fantastic rookie campaign last season for the Tennessee Titans before having it cut short due to injury. The Titans’ offense made some nice improvements this season as well, adding running backs DeMarco Murray, the 2014 league rushing yards leader, and Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman trophy winner. They also used a 5th round pick in this year’s NFL draft on Tajae Sharpe, who has had a fantastic training camp and should make an immediate impact on the Titans’ receiving corps that includes star tight end Delanie Walker. All of these offensive additions make it likely that Mariota will be able to vastly improve his game from last season and keep defenses guessing on a regular basis.