Predicting 2020 NFL stat leaders and more: Top passers, rushers, receivers and rookies

The 2020 NFL season kicks off this week, and we’re already looking ahead to the end of the year. Which quarterback will throw the most touchdown passes? What about the rookie who will put up the most rushing yards? And the rookie receiver who will have the most catches?

We asked four of our NFL analysts to predict the stat leaders in 20 categories and explain their picks. Here are their predictions for the league’s top passer, rusher, receiver and more, along with Mike Clay’s projections (as of Sept. 3) for each category:

Which QB will have the most passing yards?

Matt Bowen, NFL writer: Matthew Stafford, Lions. With a leaky defense in Detroit, Stafford could be in a position to attack down the field in the passing game. In 2019, before he was shut down with an injury in Week 9, Stafford ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards (2,499), while averaging 10.3 air yards per attempt. With his high-level traits as a thrower, plus the ability to move and release the ball from multiple platforms, Stafford could top the 4,500 yard passing mark this season.

Jeremy Fowler, national NFL writer: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers. Big Ben will be eager to post big numbers coming off elbow surgery, and he loves to run the no-huddle offense in Randy Fichtner’s system, which means 700 passing attempts is not off the table. Lots of intriguing weapons in this offense, too.

Dan Graziano, national NFL writer: Matt Ryan, Falcons. Comfortable in the system, very familiar faces around him, always prolific. A healthy Calvin Ridley makes a third-year jump and former first-round Ravens pick Hayden Hurst is a much bigger addition than people are expecting him to be. Julio Jones is still there, last I checked.

Mina Kimes, NFL analyst: Dak Prescott, Cowboys. You may have heard that Prescott, who ranked second in yards last year, is entering a contract season; he gets to do with the best arsenal of weapons in the NFL, throwing behind an offensive line that still ranks among the league’s best.

Mike Clay’s projection:
1. Matt Ryan, Falcons: 4,538
2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs: 4,488
3. Tom Brady, Buccaneers: 4,412

Which QB will throw the most touchdown passes?

Bowen: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs. He’s probably the safe play here, but it’s also the right call given the offensive structure under coach Andy Reid when paired with the explosive play ability at the Chiefs’ skill positions. The addition of rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a boost for his offense, as is the anticipated second-year jump for wide receiver MeCole Hardman. Look for Mahomes to throw 40-plus touchdowns this season.

Fowler: Carson Wentz, Eagles. He’s healthy. He has two ideal red-zone targets in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. He has more speed around him than ever with DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor. And the Eagles have completely tailored the offense to his skill set. Returning to 2017 form (33 touchdowns in 13 games) is possible for Wentz.

Source: Read Full Article