2009 NFC Predictions
By David A. Lane Predictem.com
NFL Season Quickly Approaching, Who Are the Favorites?
At times the easiest questions dont always have the most obvious answers and as each
NFL season begins, asking which teams deserve to be the favorites can often times be misleading ,after all, knowing whos going to win isnt an exact science.
Sure, I get prognosticator calls all day long from people that KNOW who the winners are and according to them, they do. Ive never stopped to check their records because personally picking my own games is what makes it fun for me, however, these are the favorites this year as I see them, and you dont have to pay me anything for my picks which is unfortunate for me because I definitely could use the extra cash!
NFC East: It should be renamed NFC Beast as most these teams end up beating up on each other by the time the playoffs come around not to mention the fact that these teams are usually just a tad overrated to begin each season.
Sure the New York Giants have won a Super Bowl recently and are a very well balanced team with a very pricey quarterback at the helm- a fact that usually leads to negative results in this day and age of the salary cap.
Sure this team could put it all together this season, one in which theyll close down historic Giants Stadium in New Jersey, but most likely theyll struggle to relive their super season of two years ago and fight amongst themselves (see the 08 Dallas Cowboys!).
The Philadelphia Eagles are annually in the top ten to win the Super Bowl (See: Superbowl XLIV Odds) in preseason and I annually scratch my head and wonder why. They have a good defense with a sketchy offense whose season always seems to depend on whether or not Donovan McNabb can remain healthy enough to gimp around on the field successfully in January- and he usually cant.
The Dallas Cowboys are good but have a quarterback who finds a way to self destruct when things matter most- namely the playoffs although last year he did so in the regular season- not to mention a weak defense who gave up three more points than the offense scored (362-365) last year.
The Washington Redskins are another story- a team that was outscored on offense by the Detroit Lions 265-268 last season- who certainly would be difficult to be called a favorite. They have really improved on defense adding defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth whos a force unto himself through free agency and then by choosing stud pass rushing defensive end Brian Orakpo in the draft, the obvious question is who will score points on offense for the Skins? Possibly the defense? If they can stay healthy, sure they can, and it wont take many points on offense to beat the other teams in the division- Skins go from last to first and stun the division with a three game improvement ending up winning by tie breaker with an 11-5 record.
NFC North: In the Black and Blue division the Minnesota Vikings certainly stand out as the thought of Brett Favre running the show with Adrian Peterson and rookie Percy Harvin as his main weapons help them retain the division title they won last season or does it? They lost four-time Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper to free agency and theyre just an injury away from destruction on offense.
Though Brett Favre has a serious chip on his shoulder over what transpired in Green Bay, even Michael Jordan looked old at the end of his career and even he knew better and dished the rock to better options- the Vikings will struggle with the added pressure and Favre will end up a different sort of hero to Packer fans everywhere, falling to 7-9.
The Detroit Lions had to be mentioned because theyre in the division but wont come close to success once again. “Nuff Sed”.
In Chicago, the Bears have ex-Bronco quarterback Jay Cutler (not Mr. Olympia) who can really pass the ball, something the team has never done efficiently which begs the question does he really fit here? I think not, not yet anyhow. The receiver corps is way-thin although rookie Jauquin Iglesias will really help them there. So will WR Earl Bennett, no stranger to Cutler as they played together in college. The team finishes second again with another 9-7 record.
In a display of emotion and partially because of them playing a third place schedule, the Green Bay Packers take the division at 10-6 as Aaron Rodgers and company put it all together this year. Though all signs had pointed to the Vikings, they rise up to give Favre the kind of Lambeau Leap he once enjoyed there, and now will miss forever. They get bounced in the playoffs but it doesnt matter as the Pack has already won their Superbowl by knocking out the Vikes.
The NFC South is destined to be a dog fight every step of the way as these four teams are as good or better than any other division in the NFL. New Orleans Saints at 8-8 made up the last place team with such talented players as Drew Brees and Reggie Bush last season and Deuce McAllisters loss wont help. Though they led the whole league in points scored last season with 463, they werent able to make the playoffs- an amazing and hard to accomplish feat- so why would they be able to this season? They end up 7-9.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their head coach and seemed a little too happy about it openly as the players expressed dissatisfaction with Jon Grudens plan. The organization hired one of the youngest coaches ever making me wonder what he would have to say that Gruden didnt to get their collective attention? Since they also cut most of what was a fairly productive offense, this appears to be a rebuilding year- 6-10.
The Atlanta Falcons had a super year with a rookie QB and head coach, so picking up tight end Tony Gonzalez should definitely help. The defense was the problem which the team addressed in the draft making every single pick but one on that side of the ball. Though theyre good they have a tougher schedule so the slip to 10-6, good enough for wild card again.
Finally the Carolina Panthers are good, but are they Super Bowl good? Not last year and usually one year older never seems to help most teams. However, with tail back DeAngelo Williams really coming into his own, that may not be the case here. Their schedule and experience earns them the division title again with an 11-5 record and they make it to the NFC Championship game IF their defense shows up this year.
The NFC West was a surprise unto its own last season, giving us a Super Bowl contender for the first time in a while. Shaping up to be a much tougher place, the St Louis Rams are still a ways out of that discussion in this division.
The San Francisco 49ers have a fire lit under their respective backsides now that they know they have to please coach Mike Singletary, who wont settle for less than perfection. The 49ers are going to be a surprise this year making the playoffs as a wildcard at 10-6.
Though the Seattle Seahawks lost 14 players to free agency, they did pick up T. J. Houshmandzadeh, a very talented wide out for QB Matt Hasselbeck to throw too. Injuries were a great part of last years downfall, but with a head coaching change included its just too much to overcome even though they improve by one game to go 5-11.
The Arizona Cardinals proved that anything can happen by going on the king of all rolls last year to reach the Super Bowl thanks to QB Kurt Warner, WR Larry Fitzgerald, and WR Anquan Boldin, mainly, clicking on offense big time. Add top draft pick Chris Beanie Wells to the offense and the Cards really seemed to try and address their needs, impressive for what was such a lowly organization for so many years. They go 11-5 and take the division- their first NFC West title.
As a bettor and fan of pro football for years, always expect the unexpected and dont go with popular opinion because theyre usually wrong. This was the first in a two part series covering the 2009 NFL season- “how I see it”.
Be sure to check out my 2009 AFC Predictions as well! Thank you!