Although we are not sure when or how the NFL season will start, it is still worthwhile to make early predictions while we can. In this article, I will be predicting NFL leaders in passing, rushing, receiving, and sacks. Last season, Jameis Winston led the league in passing, Derrick Henry in rushing, Michael Thomas in receiving, and Shaquil Barrett in sacks. I think that a couple of the guys will lead the NFL in their category once again, just because of their dominance over the years. Let’s get started.
Passing Leader: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Last season, Prescott was the runner up to Jameis Winston for most passing yards, with 4,902. Although Dallas wasn’t able to make it to the postseason, Dak had one of his best years with the Cowboys. This offseason, he did lose an offensive lineman, but it seems as though it will not affect him much. On the bright side, Dallas gave Amari Cooper a 5 year extension, and picked up a steal in the draft in CeeDee Lamb. Now, Prescott has arguably one of the best trio of receivers in the league currently. If Lamb is able to have good production, and good chemistry with Dak, the Cowboys have even more reason to throw the football. Mike McCarthy’s style has always revolved around passing the ball, and with a young core that he has, don’t be surprised to see Zeke get less touches than normal.
Rushing Leader: Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
After what we saw last year in the playoffs, the Titans without a doubt keep on churning the ball with King Henry. Henry remains a Titan after signing the franchise tag tender, and will try to get this team to the Super Bowl. With the division Henry is in, you know that he will be going against mediocre defenses 6 times a year. Because the Carolina Panthers got Teddy Bridgewater, they might pass it just a little more. Dak Prescott now has a trio of good receivers, so Dallas may run less with Zeke. Those are just a couple examples that show that most teams with top running backs have more reason to throw the football more than Tennessee. Another example is the Browns. Cleveland has Nick Chubb; but they also have Jarvis Landry and Odell. The Titans just don’t have that top receiver to give more touches to. It will be interesting to see the workload Tennessee will give Henry this season, but for now, we can assume that it will be a little more than expected.
Receiving Leader: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
After the continuous dominance Michael Thomas showed with the Saints last season, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t have him as your top receiver for next season. Thomas averaged for 100 yards receiving per game, and had a total of 582 yards after catch. Pretty impressive. His QB Drew Brees hasn’t shown any signs of stopping, and it seems like this team is on the right track to get to the Super Bowl. With over 1,700 receiving yards last year, the runner up for that feat was close to 400 yards behind Thomas. Not only does that show the talent Mike has, but it also shows the confidence his quarterback has in him. Next season we will all be seeing more of “Can’t Guard Mike” and everything he brings to the table.
Sack Leader: T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
This prediction is probably the boldest one in the article. I think that T.J. will be the sack leader next season mainly because of what he showed all of us last season. In the 2019 campaign, Watt finished fourth in sacks, with 14.5. That Steelers defense is tough to go against, and Watt makes it that much tougher. His speed the second the ball gets snapped is amazing, and he makes getting past o-lineman look very easy. Throughout the two seasons he has played in, you can already see the vast improvement he has made. Not only do the numbers prove it, but so does his play. He already has played like “the man” for Pittsburgh, and his outstanding leadership skills have shown why he can be the one to step up if a man is down. It will take a lot for T.J. to be this year’s sack leader, but his improvement has shown that it won’t be that hard for him to get up there.