We’re 11 days away from training camp, so now it’s time for our 11th bold prediction for the San Diego Chargers.
Bold Prediction No. 11: Keenan Allen will finish the year in the top three in receptions and yards
Ah, NFL.com already beat me to it–well, partially.
Keenan Allen is primed for a big year. Why do I say that? Because he was on a tear last season until an unfortunate kidney injury forced him to miss the final eight games. He finished the season catching 67 passes for 725 yards and four touchdowns. Having Philip Rivers as your quarterback always helps, too.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Allen’s 67 receptions were tied for the third-most receptions in NFL history through the first eight games. In comparison, Allen caught 71 passes in 15 total games in 2013, and 77 passes in 14 total games in 2014.
Then again, you could argue that after having a solid rookie year he was set to dominate in 2014, but he didn’t play as well as many thought he would. But last year we saw a different Allen. It was a more confident and dynamic Allen. His route-running was on point, and he was a man on a mission after the catch. He may not be the fastest wide receiver on the team, but don’t underestimate his speed.
Rivers trusts him and clearly relies on him. Despite not playing a full season, Allen finished second on the team with 89 targets.
It’s a pass-happy league, but offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt’s main focus will be to fix the running game. Regardless, that will only benefit Allen and the passing game. For example, last season the Falcons dominated on the ground and in the air. Devonta Freeman carried the ball 265 times for 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Julio Jones led the league in receiving yards (1,871) and tied Antonio Brown for the most receptions (136) in the league.
And I understand, winning a football game is more important than statistics. But just a fun fact: team’s of seven of the 10 receivers that finished in the top 10 in receiving yards finished .500 or above.
Like our last bold-prediction candidate, Jerry Attaochu, Allen has yet to play a full 16-game season. If Allen stays healthy, he has the potential to be one of the best receivers in the league.