2009 NFL Predictions

September 8, 2009 at 1:57 pm (Sports thoughts, Uncategorized)

In the world of blogging, much like in the world of economics, supply and demand is an undeniable principle. Production of an unwanted product is, in the simplest of terms, worthless. Therefore the next few weeks will feature a few miscellaneous blog posts of varying subject matter to see if there is any more demand for Daniel’s Den to stay open.

The first topic to try out is in the category of Sports Thoughts.

There are certain columnists that I read simply because I loathe them. Bill Simmons, Pete Prisco, Jason Whitlock and Peter King are at the top of my list.

Peter King makes his predictions every season as to who will win the Super Bowl. The past 6 seasons he has predicted the Patriots 5 times and the Saints once. He’s been wrong every time. This season he again predicts the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Good luck with that Peter.

Of course like Peter I too am a “homer” (but unlike Peter I don’t get paid to be an objective journalist) so you have to keep in mind my bias when reading my predictions…

NFC-
West
Cardinals (4) 10-6. No one in this division will come close to catching the Cardinals who have only gotten better since playing in the Super Bowl last season.

Seahwaks 8-8. This is a huge improvement that comes from having a healthy Hasselbeck. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ‘Hawks make a run at the wild card.

Rams 6-10. The Rams are still a full season and a great draft away from being relevant again.

49ers 5-11. I like coach Singletary but you have to have either a solid QB or a dominating Defense to win in the NFL. They don’t have either.

South
Saints (1) 12-4. The Saints got every bad break you could get last season along with a terrible D. When a Defense plays as poorly as this one did last season they have no where to go but up. The frustrating season of 08 awards them an easier 09 schedule, which they will handle nicely.

Panthers 9-7. This is a team that could have been in the Super Bowl last season if not for an epic QB fail.

Falcons 8-8. Yes they were a fluke last season. They will return to mediocre this year.

Buccaneers 3-13. The collapse collapse that was overshadowed by the Broncos collapse is not forgotten in this ranking. The Bucs have a rookie QB, 3 weak Running Backs and a coach who is graduated high school 5 years ago. Three wins is optimistic.

North
Packers (2) 11-5. This was the best team with the worst record last year and now Favre in the division they will be extra motivated.

Vikings* (6) 10-6. Favre started out last season on a tear… which progressed to his bicep and basically ruined the Jets. What will hurt the Vikes this year is that eventually justice will prevail and suspend the Williams twins for 4 games.

Lions 6-10. Huge year for the Lions who could sniff the playoffs in 2010. The Schwartz is with these guys. Matthew Stafford won’t be a bust but will have to endure the growing pains of the rookie starter.

Bears 4-12. Cutler, Cutler, Cutler. This diva will drive a once proud franchise to the grave just like he did with the Broncos. He’s a curse. He’s a cancer. He’s a clown. Enjoy him Chi-town.

East
Redskins (3) 11-5. The only way you win in the NFL is with a great QB or a great Defense. The Redskins require the latter. Fortunately they have the latter with a D that allowed the 4th fewest yards in the league last season. The offense also ranked a respectable 19th. Campbell is finally playing a second season under the same coach. The continuity will cause him to make huge strides.

Cowboys* (5) 11-5. Getting rid of T.O. might seem like it would leave a gaping offensive hole but when your team is as balanced as the Cowboys are it really won’t have much of a negative impact. The biggest obstacle to the cowboys succeeding is the question of Romo
s physical stamina. He seems to regress as the season goes on and with an early BYE and an extremely difficult month of December it could end up being another season of “missed it by that much.”

Giants 9-7. The only reason the Giants finish above .500 is because they make no west coast trips and instead have 3 teams coming from the west coast.

Eagles 6-10. So many people are predicting huge things for the Eagles and I just don’t get it. They finished 9-6-1 last season. The Tie was to the BENGALS! This team lacks leadership, as demonstrated by Andy Reid’s personal problems. Lacks intelligence, as demonstrated by Donavan McNabb’s highly publicized ignorance of basic NFL rules. And lacks character, as demonstrated by the signing of Michael Vick. Add to all that the death of their long time D-Coordinator, Jim Johnson and I see nothing good happening for the Eagles this season.

AFC
West
Chargers 12-4 (1). The only games the Chargers should lose are @Pitt, @NYG, @Dal and @Ten. West to East trips are difficult. Cowboys beat the Chargers simply because the stupid scoreboard hinders Scifres mad skills. That being said I have plenty of reservations regarding the motives of Ron Rivera. I would not be shocked at all to see the Bolts blow a game in Oakland, let one slip away against Baltimore and then lose at Pittsburgh to start the season 1-3. This would be the perfect scenario for Ron Rivera who would then be promoted to head coach as Norv Turner would be the fall guy. Given the likelihood of a 1-3 start ending up like that I cannot help but believe that Rivera wouldn’t allow such a thing to happen via some poor defensive play calling.

Chiefs 7-9. The Chiefs brought in two key pieces during the off season. First of all they have a new Head Coach, Todd Haley who used to be the Offensive Coordinator in Arizona. Second they brought in former Patriots QB Matt Cassel. Adding those two to Dwayne Bowe could make this team explosive.

Raiders 6-10. JaMarcus Russell + Darren McFadden + Darrius Heyward-Bey = An awful lot of first round draft money. Now can they put it all together? Probably not this season, but if Tom Cable is coaching them next year I think they might finally have a shot at a .500 season.

Broncos 4-12. There is no doubt in my mind that the Broncos got the better end of the Jay Cutler deal. Kyle Orton is a winner (much more so than Jay Cutler) and those draft choices can go a long way to fill in the missing pieces of the defense. And a lot of missing pieces there are. The front three and the two outside linebackers combined for just 82 tackles last season. That’s 11 fewer than inside linebacker DJ Williams had himself. I don’t want to hear another word about how great “shutdown” corner Champ Bailey is. He had exactly 1 INT last year and the broncos pass defense was 26th in the league.

South
Texans 12-4 (2). This is probably the biggest reach of all my predictions. The Texans have been on the precipice of the playoffs for the past couple of seasons and the departure of Tony Dungy in Indy along with an NFC West schedule makes me think this is the year. Schaub, Slaton, Johnson and Daniels make this one of the most potent offenses in the league. Provided those 4 stay healthy this team could put on quite a show.

Titans 11-5* (5). The Titans had a dream season last year and I’m still not quite sure how. They finished 13-3 with the 21st ranked offense and the 7th ranked defense. Kerry Collins is a sub-par QB and the D has lost Hayensworth. How big a difference will it be? 2 wins is my guess.

Colts 8-8. This is a prediction based more on the greatness of Tony Dungy than any other factor. A lot of folks are under the impression that Peyton Manning is the coach of that team. Well last years numbers tell us that the offense was the 15th in the league while the defense was the 11th. In other words the defense was better than the offense! How does Peyton Manning have anything to do with that? Manning has 1 Superbowl ring. But so does his brother. Roethlesberger has 2 and Brady 3. Manning might be good at dancing around and the line of scrimmage and hurling the ball over 60 times a game but he’s not the reason why the Colts have been a factor for the past 7 years. That’s Tony Dungy’s doing and he won’t be around this time.

Jaguars 6-10. If the Jaguars won this division I wouldn’t be floored at all. I have no confidence in them (as evidenced by my 6-10 prediction) but I have really nothing bad at all to say about them. I also have nothing good to say about them. It is often those types of teams the shock the snot of you.

North
Browns 10-6 (4). The Ravens were going to be my pick to win this division until I noticed what they lost (read more on that further down). So I instead went with the team that added. The Browns added head coach Eric Mangini. They added 3 new Offensive lineman and 160 tackles with linebackers Bowens and Barton. They also will likely allow Brady Quinn to be the QB from the get go. If Jamal Lewis blows out in the first 3 games I think we will see RB James Davis pulling a Steve Slaton-esque rise.

Steelers 10-6* (6) The defending champs somehow ended up with the 3rd easiest schedule in football this year. It’s Tila Tequila easy. And I still don’t think they will win more than 10 games (but it’s impossible for them to miss the playoffs). Fact of the matter is that their offensive stars, Roethlisberger, Holmes, Ward and Parker are not good. This team wins on defense and they will continue to do just that.

Ravens 7-9. The Ravens lost defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. They lost two Offensive Lineman. They lost 3 key contributors in their defense. And Lorenzo Neal isn’t there to aid in the run-blocking anymore. Flacco survived last season simply because they never asked him to throw the football. He will have to this year and I just don’t see anyone on his team who can catch it.

Bengals 2-14. I have tried to help the Bengals many times over with positive predictions but to no avail. Marvin Lewis is entering his seventh season with the Bengals. How unbelievable is that? There are only 4 other coaches in the league who have been with their team longer! Wow. This has got to be his last season in orange and black.

East
Jets 11-5 (3). I am a big Rex Ryan fan. Love the guy. Love that he brings with him players from Baltimore that he believes are leaders. Love that he is a run and stop the run coach. Will such old-school tactics work in the division that features the poster children of the shotgun spread in New England and the innovators of the single wing (AKA “Wildcat”) in Miami? Only time will tell. But at my heart of hearts I truly believe that Old School will conquer New School in the long run in every area of life. So why not in football?

Dolphins 8-8. Even though the Fish have the toughest schedule in the NFL and even though they are famous for their “Wildcat” formation they are generally speaking a very balanced football team that aims to Run and stop the Run. It won’t be enough to get them back to the playoffs but at least they will have a decent season.

Patriots 7-9. Ahhh the golden boy of the NFL returns. Tommy Boy Brady comes back after missing virtually all of 2008. As far as I’m concerned the Patriots were finally exposed in their SB loss to the Giants two seasons ago. They were exposed as a team who frantically runs up the score simply because they can’t play defense. This season they will follow that exact same model but to no avail. The Patriots seem to have forgotten that when they were winning Super Bowls it wasn’t because they had an offensive machine, but because they were balanced and actually tried to stop other teams from scoring. Now they think it’s a video game. Outside of Randy Moss on offense and Adailus Thomas on Defense there is nobody (including pretty boy Tom) that I would want on my team. That’s not to say that they aren’t a good team, Bill Belichick works very hard to make them a good team. but the roster just isn’t that talented and this season facing more physical Jets and Dolphins teams they are going to fall back down to middle of the pack.

Bills 6-10. They added T.O. and he added a reality TV show to his eccentric lifestyle. Enough said.

So there you have it my predictions for the 2009 NFL season. Enjoy.

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11 Comments

  1. Pablo Honey said,

    What, no playoff predictions?? I feel used for reading this whole thing with no payoff…

  2. EscoWhitey said,

    Where’s the LWC FFL blog?

    I wanna go on record as to who has the best and worst teams.

  3. EscoWhitey said,

    “I would not be shocked at all to see the Bolts blow a game in Oakland, let one slip away against Baltimore and then lose at Pittsburgh to start the season 1-3.”

    I guess that means their only victory will be against Miami win week 3. Either way, it should be a good game. Regardless of how good either team is, the Chargers and Dolphins seem to have some exciting games when they play each other.

    I agree with your prediction of the Dolphins being 8-8…they may even do worse than that. They play JAC, T.B., ATL, S.D., N.O., CAR, IND, and PIT…tough schedule.

  4. danielbalc said,

    Right you are Whitey. It is the single toughest schedule in the NFL this season, based on opponents winning percentage from the 2008 season. That was a staggering .594!

    The one thing that works in their favor is that they only have to go to the west coast one time (@SD) all season.

  5. danielbalc said,

    And per Pablo’s request I give you my playoff predictions….

    NFC
    Redskins over Vikings
    Cowboys over Cardinals

    Packers over Redskins
    Saints over Cowboys

    Saints over Packers

    AFC
    Jets over Steelers
    Titans over Browns

    Jets over Texans
    Chargers over Titans

    Chargers over Jets

    SB- …. wait for it.

  6. Anthony said,

    Most of those predictions look good. Except……

    The Bengals won 4 games last year without Carson Palmer at the helm. He is back and healthy this year. The defense has quietly been improving over the years. They lost Keith Rivers last year with a broken jaw. They also added Ray Malugaa (?) from USC this year. I think they will go 8-8. Watch out for Chris Henry. Not only does he like to brandish guns and nightclubs and give alcohol to minors, but he will score 10+ TDs this year.

    Where you are wrong the most is about Marvin Lewis. Mike Brown does not fire Head Coaches. Not when they have guaranteed money. He is waaaaaaay to cheap. Plus Marvin Lewis got him to the playoffs in 2005.

    I can also guarantee you that the Browns will come in last.

    Steelers 11-5
    Ravens 10-6
    Bengals 8-8
    Browns 4-12

  7. danielbalc said,

    hey Tony thanks for stopping by,

    To be honest I flipped that division several times over. First I had the Ravens winning it then I had the Bengals then the Steelers before settling on the Browns.

    I only chose the Browns because…
    1. I hate the Steelers
    2. The Bengals always let me down.
    3. The Ravens coaching change.

    But I do agree with you that if the Bengals are healthy they should be 8-8. They have a very easy schedule.

  8. danielbalc said,

    Charger Game Analysis…

    What’s all this talk about the Chargers getting “lucky”?
    Expectations, expectation, expectations. After seeing how Norv Turner teams start the season I boldly stated “I would not be shocked at all to see the Bolts blow a game in Oakland.” This nearly happened thanks to Clinton Hart’s complete brain fart (or perhaps my more sinister theory regarding the insubordination of coach Rivera is to blame). Nevertheless had it not been for that 57 yard joke the scoreboard would have been very different.

    Other elements that worked in the Raiders favor…
    1. The Chargers for some bizzare reason began the game in a 4-3 defense rather than a 3-4. The raiders ran all over this. (note: Ron Rivera ran a 4-3 in Chicago). When they switched back to a base 3-4 the Raiders running game was far less effective.
    2. ON the Chargers second possession LT had his first fumble since 2006! And it came in the redzone which makes it even more astounding.
    3. The only interception thrown by Rivers doinked off the hands of Antonio Gates on what would have been a first down and the continuation of a clock dominating drive.
    4. The injuries, especially to the O-line. Some might say that the Raiders were more physical but O-line injuries are often the result of bad breaks. You have 300 lb men falling over the place and if they happen to fall on the back of your leg you’re going to get hurt. Losing 2 linemen is tough and resulted in a few extra penalties on the bolts.
    5. The TERRIBLE play by Clinton Hart to allow Murphey to get behind him on 4th and 15. Good grief how is that even possible?

    No I will admit that the Raiders got shafted with the instant replay review that took away 4 points from them, but that was hardly a huge difference maker in the game. For starters We have no idea how the Chargers would have responded to being 7 points down instead of 3 points down. (also don’t forget that near TD came just two plays after Stephen Cooper dropped and INT right in his chest)

    And even though the raiders “outgained” the Chargers in offensive yards 366-317 the Chargers had 90 more return yards than the raiders. The two big kickoff returns from Darren Sproles skew the numbers to make it look as though the Bolts had less yards than the raiders when in fact they had more.

    So. The Chargers didn’t play fantastic but they also didn’t play terrible. The raiders on the other hand looked very much improved. They looked like a team that actually believes they can win a football game. I give a lot of credit to coach Cable for that. He really seems made for this job. But as long at JaMarcus Russell is as bad as he was last night the Raiders can’t go anywhere.

    They didn’t win by 50 but they won. They won a division game on the road. That’s huge no matter who you are.

  9. danielbalc said,

    one more thing…. How awful was that broadcast team last night? Ughh I cannot believe those guys get paid. Steve Young was stumbling and bumbling all over his words rambling incoherently. Mike Greenberg sounds like he knows nothing at all about football, probably because he doesn’t, and Mike Golic was the one supposed to be doing play-by-play? How about Young saying you cannot work on accuracy, either you are born with it or your not. Huh? He needs to watch one of those ED commercials where the guy is throwing the football through the tire.

  10. danielbalc said,

    I was at the game yesterday and I took special attention to one series in particular. It was the Chargers third possession and the game was tied 7-7. The Chargers began at their own 33 and had a 7 play, 4 minute drive that spanned 56 yards and ended in a Kaeding filed goal.

    What was so unique about this drive was that the first 5 plays featured Tolbert as full back.
    Those plays went…
    M.Bennett left end to SD 40 for 7 yards
    M.Bennett right tackle to SD 47 for 7 yards
    P.Rivers pass deep right to M.Floyd to BLT 8 for 45 yards
    M.Bennett up the middle to BLT 5 for 3 yards
    P.Rivers sacked at BLT 15 for -10 yards

    The key thing to note is that the Chargers gained 17 rushing yards on three carries all three of those carries Tolbert was the lead blocker. Bennett ended the game with only one other carry for 2 yards!

    Which makes me wonder… Why in the world did we give up on the run blocking of Tolbert? He was a beast on special teams as well.

    Most of the Chargers runs came from the single back formation, including the last play of the game where Sproles was destroyed by Ray Lewis (WHY NO BLOCKING BACK?)

    I don’t know what Tolbert did to get on the bad side of the coaches but I do know this, when he was in there we were running the football effectively.

    The kicking of the field goal on third down will go down as the worst call I’ve ever seen. The second worst call is the run on 4th and 2 to end the game. OH and here is Norv’s explanation for that call…

    “It didn’t look like fourth-and-2 to me; I thought it looked more like fourth-and-1 to me. We threw the ball and they were very soft on the third-down play. If you look at the play, we got great movement on the outside. Ray made a great play.”

    FN

  11. danielbalc said,

    I wrote my above comments before seeing any replays. It appears as thought there was a full back in on the last play and the Chargers had opened up a hole on the ride side that looked like two yards. Unfortunately Ray Lewis made a terrific play to win the game. He admitted to remembering the play earlier in the game and that was how he knew there would be a chance for him to get in.

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