Predicting the NFL stat leaders for the 2020 season – MSN Money




The sky's the limit for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.


© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The sky’s the limit for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The countdown to the 2020 NFL season is on, with players  just weeks away from reporting to training camp. As the days tick down  until the NFL’s opening kickoff, excitement is building for a season  that is sure to feature some incredible games and gaudy stats.

While NFL teams have less time to practice this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re sure teams will be ready when it’s time to take the field. Coming off a 2019 season that saw some incredible stats posted by stars and unheralded players alike, NFL fans can count on another season of fireworks.

After projecting every NFL team’s 2020 record, let’s dive into our predictions for the NFL stat leaders in 2020.

Passing touchdowns: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs, 52

Mahomes came close to breaking the NFL’s single-season touchdown record in his first full year as an NFL starter. Unfortunately, he didn’t get another shot at it last season due to his patella dislocation. The 24-year-old QB will be healthy heading into the 2020 season and we think he could take his game to another level.

Keep in mind, Mahomes just learned to read NFL defenses. That means he won the NFL MVP and a Super Bowl playing almost entirely on his natural ability. Coach Andy Reid and Mahomes are likely to open up this offense even more, especially with wideout Tyreek Hill healthy and following the addition of rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It would be wise for the Chiefs to sign Mahomes to that record-breaking extension this summer, because he’ll have a great shot at the NFL’s single-season touchdown mark this year.



Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott hopes to play this season on a new long-term contract.


© Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott hopes to play this season on a new long-term contract.

Passing yards: Dak Prescott, Cowboys, 5,104 

We saw Prescott enjoy a breakout season in 2019, proving he is one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL. The 26-year-old gunslinger threw for a career-high 30 touchdowns with a 99.7 quarterback rating and eclipsed 4,900 passing yards. After missing the playoffs and falling short of the 5,000-yard mark, expect Prescott to come into the 2020 season with something to prove.

He also will want to show the Cowboys they should have signed him to an extension earlier. If Prescott plays on the franchise tag this season it will drive him to accomplish even more, especially with a strong supporting cast. The addition of rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb puts this offense into elite company and new coach Mike McCarthy should help Prescott take that next step. In the end, we expect Prescott to throw for 5,000 yards and take this team to the playoffs.



a baseball player holding a bat in front of a crowd: Giants running back Saquon Barkley has 143 receptions over his first two NFL seasons.


© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Giants running back Saquon Barkley has 143 receptions over his first two NFL seasons.

Rushing touchdowns: Saquon Barkley, Giants, 14

While the Giants might have reached for Barkley with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, that is no knock on this young runner. He exploded onto the NFL scene as a rookie, racking up 2,028 yards from scrimmage on 352  touches. Sadly, a high ankle sprain sidelined him for three games last season. 

New York’s offense is built around Barkley, taking advantage of his incredible skills as an all-purpose back. He won’t lead the NFL in rushing yards, but that’s because plenty of his damage will come as a receiver. Improvements along the Giants’ offensive line should help Barkley where it counts, getting those extra yards near the goal line. The Giants might not be a playoff  team in 2020, but this team will go as far as Barkley carries them.



a crowd of people watching a baseball game: Bengals running back Joe Mixon averaged 107.6 yards over the final five games of last season.


© Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Bengals running back Joe Mixon averaged 107.6 yards over the final five games of last season.

Rushing yards: Joe Mixon, Bengals, 1,356

Many thought Mixon might deliver a breakout season in 2019, but things unraveled quickly. Once the injuries piled up on the Bengals’ offense, there was no way this great talent could thrive. We did see flashes of greatness late in the season, once Mixon’s ankle injury healed. Notably, he averaged 4.6  yards per carry in his final eight games and averaged 107.6 rushing yards over the last five games.

The addition of No. 1 pick QB Joe Burrow is an obvious benefit for Mixon and the Bengals. Opposing defenses will respect Burrow’s talent, the offense will become more functional and that will make finding holes easier for Mixon. The offensive line has been upgraded, with guard Xavier Su’a-Filo added and left tackle Jonah Williams expected to be healthy. This is the year when Mixon becomes an NFL star and no one should be surprised if he leads the NFL in rushing.



a football player on a field: Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is the No. 1 target for Aaron Rodgers.


© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is the No. 1 target for Aaron Rodgers.

Receiving touchdowns: Davante Adams, Packers, 14

A turf toe injury derailed what could have been an incredible season from Adams. He missed four games and it clearly bothered him after his return. While Adams’ stats last season are nothing to sleep on — 83 receptions for 997 yards and five TDs — the numbers could have been better.

Since the Packers didn’t go out and land a great No. 2 receiver this offseason, the 27-year-old Adams will keep dominating the share of targets. He saw the second-most targets in the NFL (169) during the 2018 season and we wouldn’t be surprised if he drew 160-plus targets this season. Adams could be poised for a monster year.



a close up of a person wearing a costume: Wide receiver Chris Godwin is poised to become an elite NFL receiver.


© Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Wide receiver Chris Godwin is poised to become an elite NFL receiver.

Receiving yards: Chris Godwin, Buccaneers, 1,519

Godwin finished third in receiving yards (1,333) last season despite catching passes from an erratic quarterback who threw 30 interceptions. Godwin exploded in his third NFL season, taking the leap from a big-play threat into a Pro Bowl selection. Now that the Buccaneers have QB Tom Brady, things are going to get crazy.

Defenses will have to focus their attention wideout Mike Evans while tight end Rob Gronkowski will require linebackers and safeties to pay close attention. This will create countless opportunities for Godwin to blow past his man in one-on-one coverage, catch a quick pass from Brady and take off for a huge play. When the 2020 season is over, Godwin will be firmly in the conversation as one of the NFL’s elite receivers.



a man standing on a baseball field: Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones has 49 sacks in his past 48 games.


© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones has 49 sacks in his past 48 games.

Sacks: Chandler Jones, Cardinals, 20

The Cardinals seem to commit a trade robbery every few years. The blockbuster deal for wideout DeAndre Hopkins was a steal for this organization, but it still might not be as good as the trade for Chandler Jones. Since trading guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick for Jones in 2016, the Cardinals have watched him become an unstoppable force off the edge.

Just look at Chandler Jones’ stats over the past three seasons. Despite not having a ton of help around him on the defensive front, Jones racked up 49 sacks, 52 tackles for loss and 77 quarterback hits in his past 48 games. Arizona upgraded its defense this offseason, signing De’Vondre Campbell, Devon Kennard,  Jordan Phillips and drafting Isaiah Simmons. Jones enters the season with 96 career sacks and he might finish the year with 116.



a baseball player holding a bat: Cornerback Marcus Peters has found his footing in Baltimore.


© Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Cornerback Marcus Peters has found his footing in Baltimore.

Interceptions: Marcus Peters, Ravens, 7

Being traded to the Ravens during the 2019 season changed everything for Peters. The young, talented cornerback just wasn’t a fit for the Rams and clearly needed a  change of scenery. It didn’t take long before the former All-Pro cornerback rediscovered his greatness and started making big plays.

Peters recorded three interceptions and 10 pass deflections across 10 games with the Ravens, all while learning their system. The organization rewarded him with a huge contract this offseason and then went out and added more talent to the defense. Opposing quarterbacks will be under extreme pressure when they face Baltimore, leading to bad decisions and poor throws. Look for Peters to take advantage with one of the best seasons of his career.

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