Bold Prediction: If C.J. Anderson plays a full 16 games, he’ll lead the NFL in rushing.

Since Anderson became a focal point in the Broncos offense back in Week 10 of the 2014 season, he’s played essentially 21 regular season games and four postseason games in the orange and blue. In that time, we’ve seen two distinctly different C.J. Andersons: The C.J. Anderson that showed up injured and out of shape in Weeks 1-6 of 2015 and the C.J. Anderson that played like the best running back in the NFL.

The problem, though, is that the sour taste of that six-game stretch in 2015 has overwhelmed everything else we’ve seen from Anderson during his career. That one, single stretch where he averaged 2.69 yards per carry and failed to reach the end zone has turned Anderson from one of the best backs in the league to a guy most people in Denver argue is overpaid.

Eliminate those six games, though, and we’re talking about a running back that has averaged 5.28 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns over the course of 15 games. For what it’s worth, only 14 running backs in NFL history have ever matched those numbers in a single season.

Now, Anderson is in the perfect system for a running back of his skill set, and it should only get better from here.

Gary Kubiak has spent 20 years in the NFL as an offensive coordinator or head coach; in that time he’s had 14 top-10 rushing offenses, 10 top-five rushing offenses and six top-three rushing offense.

That’s, well, really freaking impressive.

So, the question becomes: What can C.J. Anderson do in a Gary Kubiak system?

Right now, the answer is that we don’t know. You can say that we saw Anderson in the Kubiak offense last season, but that’s just not the case. Kubiak may have called the plays in 2015, but they weren’t the plays he wanted; the Broncos were running a hybrid, Frankenstein version of the Manning-Kubiak offense, and while it worked well enough, it was much more suited to No. 18’s needs than No. 22’s.

This year, the Broncos are moving back under center, they’ve brought in a throwback fullback and they’re centering their game plan around Anderson. In one week, all he did was rush for 92 yards, add another 47 through the air and score two touchdowns against a defense Football Outsiders had graded as the second best defense in the NFL last season, trailing only the Denver Broncos.

A solid start.

But what’s in store down the line? What’s his upside? I’d say, the sky is the ceiling. If we look at the second half of the 2014 season and the second half of the 2015 season, we should have a good grasp of what a healthy Anderson is capable of when he’s the centerpiece of an offense.

In those final six games of the 2014 season, Anderson rushed for 648 yards and eight touchdowns, while adding another 18 receptions, 131 yards and one touchdown through the air. Extrapolated for 16 games, here’s what Anderson was on pace for:

1,728 yards rushing; 21 rushing touchdowns; 48 receptions; 349 yards receiving; three receiving touchdowns

Now, is a 1,700-yard, 21-touchdown rushing season in the cards for Anderson? Probably not. Only four running backs in NFL history have ever had a season like that; three of them won NFL MVP and the other is Emmitt Smith.

But is a 1,500-yard, 15-touchdown season within the realm of possibility? I think so. Of course, a lot of things would have to go right – Anderson’s health, mainly – but I truly believe Anderson is a supremely talented rusher. He has some of the best lateral agility in the NFL, he always falls for the extra yard and he’s looking faster than ever. And again, you can’t underestimate the Kubiak factor.

This is a guy who helped turn Terrell Davis and Arian Foster into league-leading rushers. Like Anderson, neither of those guys were highly touted coming out of college; Davis was the only one drafted, and he was a sixth-round pick.

Over the final nine games of last season, Anderson led the NFL in yards per carry (6.35).

Anderson can be the best running back in the NFL. More importantly, the Denver Broncos need him to be the best running back in the NFL. Everyone keeps talking about Trevor Siemian and the quarterback position, but if anybody is capable of filling the gaping hole left by Peyton Manning, it’s C.J. Anderson in the Gary Kubiak rushing attack.