Aug 28, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) returns to the locker room following warmups before a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Wilson: 5 bold predictions for 2021

Be bold, be bullish, be all-in when it comes to ultra-big, ultra-athletic and ultra-skilled Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf.

Metcalf is an extremely reliable breakout candidate and my prediction for huge NFL numbers in his third NFL season.

Here’s why:

At a sculpted 6-foot-4, 235 pounds with 4.33 speed in the 40-yard dash, Metcalf has freakish size and speed and knows how to use his superior traits to full advantage.

He had at least 100 yards or one touchdown in 10 of 16 games last season, finishing with 83 receptions for 1,303 yards (seventh in the NFL) and 10 touchdowns. He was targeted at least four times every game.

In two NFL seasons, he has 141 career catches for 2,203 yards and 17 touchdowns.

In his third NFL season, look for even greater production from Metcalf. He could emerge as the top wide receiver in the game.

Russell Wilson has built a strong chemistry with Metcalf and will make it a point to throw him the football frequently. That conclusion doesn’t require sources. It’s just a matter of fact and practicality.

The game is slowing down for Metcalf and he’s gained greater knowledge of the Seahawks’ offense and excellent timing with how Wilson likes to play.

As they say, “Let Russ cook.” How about, “Let Russ and Metcalf collaborate as co-chefs to cook a delicious meal of touchdowns.”

The Seahawks hired Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator, which could help Metcalf maximize his talents. Look at how much production the Los Angeles Rams, Waldron’s old team, have had at wide receiver and the diversity of their schemes under Sean McVay.

There could be extra pockets for Metcalf to operate.

Metcalf should also benefit from the presence of rookie D’Wayne Eskridge, who’s capable of being an effective weapon in the slot and as an outside receiver.

Metcalf lined up in the slot 16.6 percent of the time last season. That number could increase under Waldron’s direction. Plus, Metcalf has upgraded his route-running skills.

Under Waldron, the Seahawks are expected to increase their tempo with quick passing game strategies.

Metcalf is also an imposing red-zone target, where he scored five times last season.

And Metcalf has the requisite attitude for the job.

“Hungry,” he said. “Still hungry. Be better than last year, that’s always the goal.”

Here are four more bold predictions for the 2021 season:

Chiefs win it all

Yes, Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the talent to repeat. And they looked good in a dramatic season-opening win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Here’s saying they won’t repeat. And it’s not because of any obvious deficiencies with the Buccaneers.

The Kansas City Chiefs are just that good.

Between a fully healthy Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and an upgraded offensive line led by Joe Thuney and Orlando Brown, the Chiefs are primed to win a Super Bowl rematch over the Buccaneers.

Bills are in the mix

The Buffalo Bills are a sleeper Super Bowl candidate around the league.

The emergence of strong-armed mobile quarterback Josh Allen makes them a legitimate contender.

The addition of Stefon Diggs last season and general manager Brandon Beane’s steady roster moves to improve a loaded defense makes the Bills Mafia extremely happy.

This team is on the cusp of accomplishing big things.

Browns take over AFC North

The way the Baltimore Ravens’ running back situation has been decimated by injuries — including the losses of J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill for the season — could prevent them from remaining ahead of the pack in the division.

Lamar Jackson is a dynamic presence, but can only do so much given the injury situation in the backfield.

The Cleveland Browns are poised to ascend.

A two-running back system with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, a playmaking quarterback in Baker Mayfield, the return of Odell Beckham Jr. from an ACL injury and a defense that has Myles Garrett makes the Browns the heavy favorite in this division.

Colts take a step back

It’s hard to believe in Carson Wentz resurrecting his career with the Indianapolis Colts.

Wentz’s confidence and mechanics were shot in Philadelphia. Even having Frank Reich around to coach him up again won’t be enough to get Wentz back to where he began his career.

Look for the Tennessee Titans to rule the AFC South because of powerhouse running back Derrick Henry, the addition of Julio Jones and the play-action skills of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The defense, led by Jeffery Simmons, is improving.

–Field Level Media