With this weekend’s time change in mind, let’s fall back to the preseason. In my Aug. 31 column, I made five not-so-bold predictions, hoping but not expecting that a couple would eventually prove true. As you’ll read, it looks like I was mostly right about being mostly wrong.
In reverse order, let’s give ‘em a look.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will account for more TDs than Robert Griffin III.
I thought Pete Carroll would turn Wilson loose and he’d make more plays with his legs, while RG3 initially would be handcuffed by the Shanahans’ conservative approach. I was a tad off on this one. It’s been the exact opposite. Not only has RG3 been making plays with his legs, he has more rushing TDs (six) than all but one running back (Arian Foster has nine). Wilson does have more passing TDs (10-8), but one of them actually was a game-ending interception that led directly to ending the lockout of NFL officials.
Patriots WR Wes Welker will be the odd man out in New England.
I assumed the long-term deal Aaron Hernandez received coupled with Rob Gronkowski coming off a historically prolific season would mean the Patriots’ offense would run through those two TEs and Welker would be the third option at best. Possibly fourth if WR Brandon Lloyd fit in quickly. I predicted Welker “would be lucky to finish with 80 catches.” Well, through eight games, he leads the team with 60 receptions (17 more than Gronkowski). In my defense, Hernandez has been hobbled most of the season, and Lloyd still looks uncomfortable.
Jets RB Shonn Greene will exceed 1,500 total yards.
I figured he’d gain a large portion of the yardage on offense because he was the unit’s only decent option. It appears I was right about that. But I underestimated just how bad Mark Sanchez and the passing game would be. Greene is on pace to gain 1,182 total yards, which would be just under what he gained last year. My faith in Greene has not gone unrewarded, though. He ran for a career high 161 yards and scored three TDs three weeks ago, and he’s been a serviceable slot option the past two weeks despite New York reverting to its offensive ineptitude.
Vikings RB Toby Gerhart will gain more yards than Adrian Peterson.
I’m convinced Peterson is a robot. A robot who happens to lead the league in rushing. Gerhart has gained 8 yards in the past three games. Let’s move on.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning will finish the season in the top five in TD passes.
They say readers remember most the last thing they read, so if you made it this far Manning, who you would never guess missed the 2011 season with a career-threatening neck injury, has thrown 12 TDs in the past four games, and his 17 TDs are tied (with Matt Ryan) for third in the NFL (behind Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees). Through seven games, he is on pace to throw 39 TDs, which would be the second-best output of his 14-season career.