Browsing all articles tagged with 2009 Season Predictions
Sep
12

NFL 2009 Season Predicitons – Playoffs and Super Bowl (Mark)

Alright. Matt and I have both given our regular season picks.  Now, time to look even further into the future and predict the playoffs!

NFC

Wild Card-Round (Seeds in parentheses winner bolded)

Packers (6) at Cardinals (3)

Playing warm weather will allow Arizona’s offense to keep rolling.

Redskins (5) at Saints (4)

The ‘Skins great D will be able to slow Drew Brees and the Saints down enough for a win.

Divisional Round

Redskins at Cowboys (1)

This will be an upset, but it should not be surprising. The ‘Boys just never get it done in the playoffs.

Cardinals at Vikings (2)

Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson will be able to put up some big numbers at home against a weak D. Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald will try to keep the Cards in the game, but it won’t be enough.

Championship Game

Redskins at Vikings

Right now the Vikings look like a more complete team than the Redskins. And Favre is going to want win. Badly. He’ll make it happen.

AFC

Wild-Card Round

Ravens (6) at Titans (3)

The Ravens have a great team but the Titans team is a beast and has the talent to go all the way. The Ravens are not quite at that level yet.

Colts (5) at Broncos (4)

The Broncos will be the weakest division winner this year. Peyton Manning will get it done on the road against a defense that is still rebuilding.

Divisional Round

Colts at Steelers (1)

Without Tony Dungy to coach him anymore I predict that Manning will find Pittsburgh D too much to take.

Titans at Patriots (2)

This  could be the most competitive game of the playoffs. Both teams have a chance of winning, but homefield advantage and a week to rest their players will give the Pats the upper hand.

Championship Game

Patriots at Steelers

This will be a close, close game.  Mike Tomlin is a great coach with a Super Bowl win but Belichick is a great coach with three.  The Pats squeak a win out here.

Super Bowl

Patriots vs. Vikings

Brett Favre will finally get another Super Bowl win and retire for keeps (okay I admit part of this pick is simply me wanting that retire for keep thing to happen).  He has all the pieces he needs with the Vikes D and all day Adrian Peterson.  The Giants proved that Brady and the Pats can be beat in the big game. I think the Vikings are just going to want it more.

Sep
11

2009 NFL Season Predictions – AFC (Mark)

These are my predictions for the AFC standings this year.  I have less to say analysis wise about this conference so I will simply explain the reasoning for my division winners.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots

2. Miami Dolphins

3. New York Jets

4. Buffalo Bills

Last season the Patriots managed an 11-5 record and Tom Brady only played for part of one game. This year Brady is back and the offense instantly goes from great to one of the Top 3 in the league.  The Patriots picked up Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden at cornerback and improved their passing defense.  The Patriots play a tough schedule but with Head Coach Bill Belichick, Brady at QB, and a solid defense the Pats will be competing for home field advantage in the playoffs.

AFC South

1. Tennessee Titans

2. Indianapolis Colts

3. Houston Texans

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Tennessee Titans went 13 and 3 last year.  Most of their starters return this year and they are playing an average schedule.  Their big loss was on defense as star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth left to go to the Redskins.  They still have Javon Kearse and Kyle Van Vanden Bosch to bring the pressure up front. The defense may not be quite as fearsome as it was but it will still be great. Kerry Collins is a veteran quarterback who can easily manage a team with a great defense and a strong running game to wins.

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. Cleveland Browns

4. Cincinnati Bengals

The Super Bowl champion Steelers return nearly all of their starters.  They have one of the best defenses in the NFL.  With Rashard Mendenhall returning from injury the running game gets better and more varied.  Ben Roethlisberger is no Peyton Manning, but he knows how to get the job done.  The Steelers could be even better than they were last year.

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos

2.  San Diego Chargers

3. Kansas City Chiefs

4. Oakland Raiders

This  division is the toughest to predict because none of the teams are really that much better than the others.  I think the Broncos are going to be able to take it however.  New Head Coach Josh McDaniels and new quarterback Kyle Orton will exceed expectations.  Solid defenders Brian Dawkins, Andra Davis, Renaldo Hill, and Andre’ Goodman were brought in to reinvigorate the defense.

Playoff Seeds

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. New England Patriots

3.  Tennessee Titans

4. Denver Broncos

5. Indianapolis Colts

6.  Baltimore Ravens

Sep
10

NFC Predictions part 2, Matt's Picks

Mark, that post… one word… DYNAMIC. But I don’t think you’re what you used to be… just kidding.

I would disagree with some of your picks, let’s start with the most important and most competitive division, the NFC EAST.

NFC EAST

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2. Washington Redskins

3. New York Giants

4. Dallas Cowboys

The Eagles are coming off a successful season and playoff performance. They went 9 and 6 last year and will have new options on offense with Michael Vick involved and DeSean Jackson in his second year. The Defense definitely will have a difficult time adjusting to the losses of Brian Dawkins at free safety and the late Jim Johnson as their defensive coordinator. But, they still have playmakers and by mid-season I think the defense will be the third best in the NFC East.

The ‘Skins have made a big investment into Haynesworth and with the drafting of Orakpo they have two players that get to the quarterback like me trying to get to a pizza hut buffet (love those). In theory, the addition of Haynesworth will draw double teams and allow other lineman such as Andre Carter and Philip Daniels to make more plays on the quarterback, which in turn will create more turnover opportunities for the secondary and linebackers. We’ll see if that’s what happens (I think it will).

The ‘Skins offense was the primary problem last year, but with Derrick Dockery coming back after his time in Buffalo and  along with the development of Malcolm Kelly and Campbell’s second year in the offense, we’re going to see more big plays. The Redskins and Jim Zorn are more committed to throwing the ball downfield this year which should free up more lanes for Clinton Portis with less men stacked up on the line.

While the Giants lost Plaxico Burress and Derrick Ward they picked up Chris Canty on defense and have a healthy Osi Umenyora this year. Remember in the NFC East, defenses can and often do carry the day. The Giants’ defensive line is deep and will keep the Giants in games, even though Eli Manning doesn’t have Plax to throw to. Also, the Giants have 7 WR’s on their 53 man roster. I can’t imagine them not being able to find someone to contribute. Whether it’s Hakeem Nicks the rookie, or Sinorice Moss, someone will step up and make plays for Manning and Coughlin.

The Cowboys are the ones that should be at the bottom of this list. T.O. was definitely a locker room problem but he also was a problem for opposing defenses. Had he lost a step last year? Probably. Drops? Lots. But losing a big, strong, still fast, physical receiver like Owens without having a replacement hurts Romo more than I think it hurts Eli Manning. Romo and the Cowboys running game is a bit more spotty than the Giants, with Barber providing some occasional big games but overall not really consistent. Wade Phillips is still one of the most incompetent coaches in the NFL with Jerry Jones as the most meddlesome and detrimental outside the city limits of Oakland. That means Cowboys struggle this year and questions about Tony Romo will be a major theme throughout the last half of the season.

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers

2. Minnesota Vikings

3.Chicago Bears

4. Detroit Lions

Aaron Rodgers is supposedly the next big thing as long as Ryan Grant stays healthy. I’ll buy that. Honestly, it’s a toss up for me between Minny and GB. Favre has the most amazing running back the league has seen in years and will have less pressure to win games by himself, but I still think they’ll have some problems this year with some untimely picks late in games (such as in NY when his shoulder was bothering him. Who knows if it will even hold up the whole year?).

Cutler is overrated and doesn’t have anyone to really throw to. Hester? There are only so many WR screens and quick slants that you can do in a game, right? I think Spurrier showed us that. I kind of just take joy out of putting Cutler and the Bears down here since it will be fun to see him blame everyone else this year.

Detroit is going to be better than last year (I know it’s tough to improve on perfection) but with a rookie qb, it’ll be difficult to take out their division opponents. I hope Jansen has a stellar year there though, their O-line will surely benefit from that pickup at least.

NFC West

1.San Francisco 49ers

2. Arizona Cardinals

3. Seattle Seahawks

4. St. Louis Rams

This is a shocker pick, I know. But San Fran is going to squeak out some wins this year and even though they are a young team, they have guts because of their coach. Singletary will be able to get Vernon Davis this year to play like he’s supposed to and if the qb situation can stay stable with Hill, his development begins. Frank Gore is still a force, and the ability to run the ball is what puts them over Arizona in my book.

As for Arizona, I love them but I don’t know if Kurt Warner will be able to go the whole year healthy. Who knows if Boldin can keep it together, too. If he can’t, you’ll see doubles on the human highlight machine that is Larry Fitzgerald. I’m not saying he can’t beat them, but it’ll be tougher unless Arizona develops a running game with either Hightower or their rookie back Wells (I know the hype on him is huge, but I’m not convinced till I see it in the regular season against the pro’s).

I don’t have much different to add to Mark’s comments on St. Louis and Seattle. Seattle added Edgerrin James this offseason so, we’ll see if that helps their running game but the only thing it shows me is that it’s a bit crowded and they must not have much confidence in Julius Jones to add him.

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints

2. Carolina Panthers

3. Atlanta Falcons

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Drew Brees is one of the most accurate quarterbacks of the league and overall one its most consistent players also. I’m a huge fan of  his. Players like Colston and Bush coming back from injury will clearly help and I think Shockey will finally have a breakout year again. I think the main difference with the Saints this year though is going to be their hiring of Gregg “double G” Williams for the defensive coordinator position. The Saints have been held back by pathetic D while Brees has been in town, and this year it should START to turn around.

Carolina, if healthy will beat Atlanta in this spot. Now, what’s the chance Carolina stays healthy? Not very good. If Donovan McNabb were a team, he’d be the Panthers probably.  But, Mark and I have to have some different picks right? I know Atlanta has Tony Gonzalez this year, an excellent running option with Turner but Carolina’s D > Atlanta’s D. Tampa is rebuilding, has a new coach and a lot of work to do till it gets back to when Dungy formed it as a super bowl contender (when Gruden took over).

Playoffs?!

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2. New Orleans Saints

3. San Francisco (or Arizona)

4. Green Bay

5. Washington 

6. Minnesota

What are your thoughts?  Who do you think will be a surprise in the NFC?  Who do you think wins the NFC [B]EAST?


Sep
9

2009 NFL Season Predictions – The NFC (Mark)

Before each NFL season all the big sports publications and websites predict how they think the season will go. I almost always find at least one of their predictions crazy. So, I thought I would throw my hat in the ring this year and give my own predictions for the NFC.

I am not going to predict every game and I am not going to guess win-loss records.  I think that is where a lot of the crazier predictions stem from; trying to account for each game of the season.  Instead, I am simply going to present what I think the final NFC division standings will be and what teams will make it to the playoffs.

NFC East

1. Dallas Cowboys

2. Washington Redskins

3. New York Giants

4. Philadelphia Eagles

On paper, the Cowboys have the most talent in the division. With the Giants likely declining this season, they are in prime position to take the division. Even though they lost Terrell Owens this offseason, the offense can still be a top-15 unit.  They also made a few moves to improve their already impressive defense.

In Washington, the number 4 defense just got a whole lot better with the addition of Albert Haynesworth at defensive tackle and Brian Orakpo at outside linebacker.  Second year wideouts Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas started to show their potential this preseason. If they can prove they are not  draft busts and the offensive line can stay healthy this could be the year the ‘Skins offense finally clicks.

This season the Giants began their decline.  Without Plaxico Burress to throw to, Eli Manning will not be as successful.  The Giants also lost Derrick Ward to the Buccaneers.  That makes their running game weaker as well.  With the improvements in D.C. and Dallas, the Giants have been surpassed talent-wise.

The Eagles will not be able to compete with the rest of the NFC East. The other teams in the division are simply more talented.  For the Eagles to be successful, both Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook must stay healthy. Giving both players’ history, that is unlikely.

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints

2. Atlanta Falcons

3. Carolina Panthers

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Drew Brees led the best offense in the league last year. This year he gets running back Reggie Bush and wide receiver Marques Colston back from injury.  Even though the Saints have a tough schedule, their offense will be too much to take. Defense may win championships but a prolific offense will get you to the playoffs.

The Falcons exceeded expectations last year but this year they play a tougher schedule. Their inexperience is likely to show more.

The Panthers have all the potential with Jake Delhomme at QB, Steve Smith at wideout, and the dynamic running back tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.  Julius Peppers and Chris Gamble are both top performers who could lead the defense to a strong season performance. However, Carolina can never seem to put it all together.

Tampa is in a rebuilding year with a new coach and new quarterback.  Their defense is aging and not as fearsome as it once was.

NFC North

1. Minnesota Vikings

2. Green Bay Packers

3. Chicago Bears

4. Detroit Lions

The reasoning for this is simple.  Minnesota won this division last year.  This year Minnesota has the second easiest schedule in the league and Brett Favre has been added at QB.  Favre makes the Vikings receivers better instantly. Adrian Petersen is the best  running back in the league and Favre’s presence takes a lot of pressure off of him.

The Packers will finish behind the Vikings this year and be in the playoff hunt.  Aaron Rodgers is proving to quite a capable quarterback,  throwing for over 4,000 yards last year. He has two dangerous threats in Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.  If Rodgers continues to progress so will the Packers.

There has been a lot of noise about Jay Cutler coming to quarterback the Bears, but that ultimately does not solve the team’s problems.  They did nearly nothing to improve their below average defense and there are no true receiving threats on the team.

The Lions had the worst season in NFL history last season.  This year they have rookie QB and number of new defensive players. They almost have to improve this year, it would hard for them to get any worse. But they will not have improved enough to compete in this division.

NFC West

1. Arizona Cardinals

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. Seattle Seahawks

4. St. Louis Rams

The Arizona  Cardinals had a quite a playoff run last year and proved that they are one of the best teams in the league.  The defense may not be great but Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin will win the games for them. No one other team in the division is very good at all.

The 49ers will improve again this season. They still have an average defense , but the offense has some more potential this year. Shaun Hill finished out the season at QB last year and surprised everyone with his performance. This year Michael Crabtree joins Isaac Bruce and Josh Morgan at wideout. If the trio of receivers  can develop a nice chemistry with Hill they could have a surprisingly adept passing game. Frank Gore is a beast when healthy, if he can stay injury-free the Niners will have a formidable running game as well.

Many are predicting a drastic turnaround from the Seattle Seahawks but I do not see that happening. Matt Hasselback is not the quarterback he used to be healthy receivers or not.  Julius Jones may be improvement over last year’s running game but he does not compare to Shaun Alexander in his heyday. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is a nice pickup but now he is paired with Nate Burleson not Chad Ochocinco. It remains to be seen what he can do as the number one receiving threat.  They did make a few big moves to improve their awful defense but it is not going to make a significant jump.  In short, this team is not as good as the Seahawks that used to dominate NFC West and the rest of the division has gotten better.

The St. Louis Rams are in a bit of rebuilding year with new Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo.  They will not be improving much on  last year’s dismal record however. Quarterback Marc Bulger and Running Back Steven Jackson are not as dynamic as they once were. The Rams did not do enough in the offseason to immediately improve their terrible defense.

Playoff Seeds

1. Dallas Cowboys

2.  Minnesota Vikings

3. Arizona Cardinals

4. New Orleans Saints

5.  Washington Redskins

6.  Green Bay Packers