Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 NFL Awards and Standings Predictions

The NFL season officially begins tonight, so I thought now would be an opportune time (and my last chance) to post my predictions for this year's NFL standings and awards.

If you want to see how dumb I am, check out my predictions for last year here. Hey, at least I got the rookies of the year right!

(Playoff seeds in parentheses...just like this sentence.)

AFC East
1. New England Patriots (2)
2. Miami Dolphins
3. New York Jets
4. Buffalo Bills

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (1)
2. Baltimore Ravens (6)
3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Cleveland Browns

AFC South
1. Indianapolis Colts (3)
2. Tennessee Titans (5)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
4. Houston Texans

AFC West
1. San Diego Chargers (4)
2. Denver Broncos
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Kansas City Chiefs

  • As much as I'd like to see my beloved Dolphins repeat, I just think the return of Tom Brady pushes the Patriots back into the elite class of the East and of the AFC as a whole. I like the Jets over the Bills, even with a rookie quarterback, because Buffalo's offensive line scares me and I like the Jets' team better overall.
  • Pittsburgh is just such a well-built team throughout, it's hard to pick against them to win the division again. I think Cincinnati rebounds a bit, but not enough to overtake Pittsburgh or Baltimore. I predict a mess of a season for Eric Mangini in Cleveland.
  • New head coach or no, the Colts still have the best quarterback in all of football, and maybe of all time. Peyton Manning will lead them to yet another title, as I think Tennessee falls off a little bit with the an aging Kerry Collins and a weaker defense.
  • The Chargers don't have much competition in the West, so I have to go with them again. Denver should never have traded away their franchise quarterback, and it will come back to haunt them. I like Oakland (slightly) over Kansas City because of the Raiders' potential playmakers on offense and the Chiefs' complete lack of an offensive line.
NFC East
1. Philadelphia Eagles (3)
2. New York Giants
3. Washington Redskins
4. Dallas Cowboys

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers (1)
2. Minnesota Vikings (6)
3. Chicago Bears
4. Detroit Lions

NFC South
1. New Orleans Saints (4)
2. Carolina Panthers (5)
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West
1. Arizona Cardinals (2)
2. St. Louis Rams
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. San Francisco 49ers

  • The East is always impossible to predict, but I think Philly has the most well-rounded team. I could envision any of the four teams winning the division under certain scenarios, so it's really just a toss-up.
  • I don't think Brett Favre completely bombs the season in Minnesota, but I don't think he'll be enough to overtake the Packers, which is just the best-built team in the division. I could envision Jay Cutler boosting Chicago into a playoff spot, but it's hard to know just how big of an impact he'll have right away. Detroit is's still Detroit.
  • Another very difficult division to call is the South. I think the Falcons struggle a bit with a tougher schedule in '09 and a very porous secondary. In my mind, it's a battle between the passing attack led by Drew Brees in New Orleans and the scary ground assault in Carolina.
  • There isn't much to like about the West outside of Arizona, and they should be able to win the division again. If Marc Bulger stays healthy, he and Steven Jackson could earn the Rams a second-place finish, though the same goes for Matt Hasselbeck in Seattle. I just don't like San Francisco's quarterback situation enough to have them getting out of the cellar.
Wild Card Round
Colts (3) over Ravens (6)
Chargers (4) over Titans (5)
Vikings (6) over Eagles (3)
Saints (4) over Panthers (5)

Divisional Round
Steelers (1) over Chargers (4)
Patriots (2) over Colts (3)
Packers (1) over Vikings (6)
Saints (4) over Cardinals (2)

Conference Championships
Steelers (1) over Patriots (2)
Packers (1) over Saints (4)

Super Bowl
Steelers over Packers

Super Bowl MVP
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers - This kind of thing is impossible to predict, since we don't have any idea who will be in the Super Bowl, let alone how the game will go. Still, Big Ben is the best guess if the Steelers do win.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings - Like most, I expect a monster year for Peterson. I don't think he'll be able to lift them to a deep playoff run, but he should put up staggering numbers.

Offensive Player of the Year
Drew Brees, QB, Saints - Brees has become one of the league's best passers in recent years, and I expect that to continue in '09. No matter how New Orleans finishes, Brees will be one of the league's top passers barring injury.

Defensive Player of the Year
Ed Reed, S, Baltimore Ravens - Reed is simply a play-maker in every sense of the word. He's the best defensive player I've ever seen with my own eyes, and I expect nothing less than another dominant season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets - Quarterbacks don't usually excel as rookies, and I don't really expect Sanchez to do so. Still, I think he's in a good situation with a decent line and a strong running game, which is why I think he'll put up decent enough numbers to grab this award.

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Brian Orakpo, LB, Redskins - My gut says to go with the safe pick in Aaron Curry, but everything I've hear about Orakpo has been extremely positive and I think he has the chance to be really special. I expect a big impact from him as a rookie.

Coach of the Year
Sean Payton, Saints - I don't think they'll go deep in the playoffs (and in that division, I could be totally off and they could not make it at all), but I think the Saints finally put together a good enough season to get Payton a little recognition.