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Sports Illustrated Predicts Austin Ekeler Will Lead NFL in Touchdowns … Again


Nobody in the NFL has found the end zone more than Austin Ekeler over the past two seasons.

And Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated believes the Chargers running back is ready to once again lead the league in that category.

Orr recently offered 100 bold predictions for the 2023 NFL season (including a few Chargers related ones). Some were funny and some were unikely, but the one about Ekeler certainly has a good chance to come true.

Orr wrote:

Ekeler is remaining with the Chargers, which was a brilliant piece of self-realization from their general manager and coach. He is an invaluable part of the process in L.A. The team will be rewarded with another massive chunk of touchdowns from the goal-line sniper himself. Ekeler is as automatic and dependable as it gets inside the 5-yard line.

Ekeler's 38 total touchdowns lead the NFL over the past two seasons, and he led all players with 18 trips to the end zone in 2022. The running back also tied for the league lead with 20 total scores in 2021.

And Orr's point about Ekeler's dominance inside the 5-yard line is also spot on, as exactly half of his 38 touchdowns over the past two years are five yards or less.

Ekeler and the Bolts recently agreed to a revised contract that add some incentives to the running back's deal in 2023.

But Ekeler wasn't the only Charger to be included in Orr's predictions, as he also opined that neither Mike Williams nor Keenan Allen will lead the Chargers in receiving yards in 2023.

Orr wrote:

Maybe Quentin Johnston will be the guy. Maybe Josh Palmer. Either way, a pair of Chargers offensive stalwarts will witness a changing of the guard.

Perhaps someone like Gerald Everett surprisingly leads the way here. But this is a far out take from Orr about the Bolts passing attack.

And speaking of that, Orr also included quarterback Justin Herbert in his predictions, noting that the Chargers franchise quarterback will set a career low in interceptions.

Orr gave an early prediction on Herbert's stat line in 2023.

Herbert will throw 33 touchdowns this year under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. He will throw only nine interceptions.

Orr's full list of 100 bold predictions can be found here.

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