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5 Bold Predictions for New England Patriots 2014 Training Camp

5 Bold Predictions for New England Patriots 2014 Training Camp

Patriots Training Camp
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Right now every NFL team is in the middle of training camp, and that includes the New England Patriots. Barring unforeseen injuries, there are some certainties, like Tom Brady starting at QB, but certain position battles and how the season will play out is far from decided. Here are five bold predictions for the Patriots in 2014.

5. Rob Gronkowski Will Be Healthy For the Playoffs

Patriots Training Camp
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

5. Rob Gronkowski Will Be Healthy For the Playoffs

Patriots Training Camp
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

So far Gronkowski has either played hurt during the playoffs or missed the postseason entirely due to injury. There’s no physical proof to decidedly say Gronkowski will be healthy for the playoffs and he’s coming off a season-ending injury (torn ACL), but based on the law of averages, he has to be healthy for a postseason sooner or later.

4. RB James White Will Make an Impact

Patriots Training Camp
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4. RB James White Will Make an Impact

Patriots Training Camp
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots selected White in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, both entering the final year of their contracts, will probably get the bulk of the carries at running back, but don’t forget about White. So far he has shown versatility as a rusher and a receiver, which could help him earn a decent amount playing time this season.

3. DE Chandler Jones Will Be Near the Top of the NFL in Sacks

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3. DE Chandler Jones Will Be Near the Top of the NFL in Sacks

Patriots Training Camp
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jones, a first-round selection in 2012, had six sacks in his rookie season and 11.5 in 2013. Why will he make another leap in 2014? Jones played 98 percent of the defensive snaps in 2013, but he won’t be asked to do as much in 2014. He will be fresher when it’s time to pin his ears back and go after opposing QBs. The secondary will also be improved this year, making QBs hold onto the football longer which could translate into more sacks.

2. LB Jamie Collins Will Make the Biggest Leap Of All Second-Year Players

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. LB Jamie Collins Will Make the Biggest Leap Of All Second-Year Players

Patriots Training Camp
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Collins, who is 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, played in all 16 games for the Patriots in 2013 (started eight). Brandon Spikes is now with the Buffalo Bills, so either Don’t’a Hightower or Jerod Mayo will take over at middle LB. There’s a great chance Collins solidifies his spot at one of the outside LB positions. He will see a lot of playing time due to a lack of depth at LB, and he is one of the most athletic and versatile players on the defense.

1. QB Tom Brady Will Be Named NFL MVP

Patriots Training Camp
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1. QB Tom Brady Will Be Named NFL MVP

Patriots Training Camp
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brady has won two MVPs in his career — 2007 and 2010 (first unanimous choice since AP began using a nationwide panel of media members). In 2013, Brady threw for 4,343 yards with 25 TDs and 11 interceptions. He took the Patriots to the AFC Championship game despite not having a true No. 1 WR and the Patriots being hit with a litany of injuries. In 2014, Brady will show that he's the most valuable player in the NFL and the voting will reflect that.