Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009 NFL Predictions

I'll give the same disclaimer (or excuse) for these predictions that I gave last year: Predictions are silly and only half-educated guesses that are only revisited by the predictor when they go spectacularly right. Of course, I won't be like that; I'll actually revisit mine in February, but that's a long ways off. For now, bask in my half-educatedness!

y - Division Winner
x - Wild Card

AFC East
1. New England - y
2. Buffalo - x
3. Miami
4. NY Jets

Sure, there's a school of though that says the Patriots won't come all the way back to where they were in 2007. And they won't, but a healthy Tom Brady should be good for at least 12-13 wins. Miami overachieved last year, I think, and the Jets will have a rookie QB under center, which rarely works unless you only consider last year. The Bills in the playoffs? Sure, why not? Terrell Owens is always good for his new team, at least for a year.

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh - y
2. Cleveland
3. Baltimore
4. Cincinnati

After Pittsburgh, this is a tough division to call. Cincinnati and Cleveland both had a ton of injuries last year and should rebound fairly well, while people will soon realize that Joe Flacco wasn't really all that good. Still, I could see 2-4 in just about any order. (What a cop-out!)

AFC South
1. Tennessee - y
2. Indianapolis - x
3. Jacksonville
4. Houston

Just because nobody expects Tennessee to repeat, I have to pick them. What people don't realize is the amazing offensive line they had last year -- Titans QBs were only sacked on 2.6% of their dropbacks in 2009, compared to a league average of 5.9%. And I think the loss of Tony Dungy will weaken Indy just enough to keep them as a 10-11 win team. Jacksonville probably wasn't as bad as it showed last year, and I'm tired of waiting for Houston to finally do something.

AFC West
1. San Diego - y
2. Oakland
3. Denver
4. Kansas City

Like the AFC North, here's another sure-fire division winner and three also-rans. The difference is that I think the AFCN teams might be pretty good, overall, while Oakland, Denver, and Kansas City could all finish under .500.

Joe Buck Division NFC East
1. Philadelphia - y
2. Dallas - x
3. NY Giants
4. Washington

I think Philly has the potential to be the best team in the NFC (along with another you can probably guess), largely on the strength of their defense. And I think that the loss of T.O. won't hurt the Cowboys as much as people think, while the loss of Plaxico Burress has already shown that it hurts the Giants. And the Redskins? Well, who knows what Daniel Snyder's doing up in DC.

NFC North
1. Minnesota - y
2. Green Bay
3. Chicago
4. Detroit

Even Brett Favre can't screw this team up too badly -- I think. I admit that I'm very close to picking Green Bay as my wild card, but I think the defense will let them down just a little too often this year; still, 9-10 wins is likely. The QB with the second-most interceptions in the league in 2008, behind Favre, was Jay Cutler. This probably means that the Packers' defense is a nice sleeper pick in fantasy football. But not the Lions' defense. Stay away from the Lions' defense. (OK, really, I think any team, the Lions included, are capable of about 4 wins.)

NFC South
1. Atlanta - y
2. New Orleans - x
3. Carolina
4. Tampa Bay

New Orleans has no defense and no running game, but man, can Drew Brees chuck it! Still, those shortcomings will be enough to keep them out of the top spot in the division, which I think goes to Atlanta, which only helped itself by bringing aboard Tony Gonzalez to help out Matt Ryan. Jake Delhomme is Brett Favre, Jr., capable of easily losing a game with an interception-fest, like he did in the playoffs against Arizona last year. I think this year will be more "bad Jake" than "good Jake." Tampa Bay is the definition of "rebuilding." Remember what I said about the Lions winning maybe 4 games this year? The Bucs would likely kill for that.

NFC West
1. Seattle - y
2. Arizona
3. San Francisco
4. St. Louis

I agonized over this one for a while, but in the end I picked Seattle to rebound from its injury-plagued 2008, in part because I needed to pick a fourth new division winner and in part because -- let's face it people -- nobody really knows how Arizona suddenly played well last January after being kicked around like a rag doll in December. San Fran's a trendy pick this year, but I don't know if I buy them just yet. And St. Louis might fight with Tampa Bay for the #1 draft pick. Marc Bulger looks absolutely finished.

Well, that's it! Check back with me in six months to see how stupid I was!

No comments: