Last year I was 3-for-6 in picking AFC playoff teams, and only 2-for-6 with the NFC, but I did get two of the four participants in the conference championship games correct (although I was off on the Super Bowl matchup). I think this year might hold just as many surprises as 2008 did.
Once again, I’m not picking every single game, so the wins and losses might not add up quite right, but they’re more meant to give my general feel for each team (e.g., the Bears “feel about like” an 11-5 team to me this year). My total number of wins and losses league-wide (256-256) do add up, though.
So here are my picks for the impending 2009 NFL season, with playoff teams and winners in bold.
|Pittsburgh 12-4||Indianapolis 11-5|
|Baltimore 10-6||Tennessee 10-6|
|Cincinnati 8-8||Houston 6-10|
|Cleveland 4-12||Jacksonville 5-11|
|San Diego 13-3||New England 12-4|
|Denver 8-8||Buffalo 10-6|
|Kansas City 4-12||Miami 5-11|
|Oakland 3-13||New York 4-12|
|Chicago 11-5||New Orleans 10-6|
|Minnesota 8-8||Tampa Bay 8-8|
|Green Bay 7-9||Atlanta 7-9|
|Detroit 2-14||Carolina 6-10|
|Seattle 11-5||Philadelphia 13-3|
|San Francisco 9-7||Dallas 10-6|
|Arizona 9-7||New York 9-7|
|Saint Louis 4-12||Washington 7-9|
|Super Bowl XLIV
A few notes, tidbits, and further thoughts on the above:
- I’m taking the Chargers again this year—they just seem like they’ve been poised for a big breakthrough season for a few years now, plus they’re the most stable team, both in terms of their roster and their coaching staff.
- It probably goes without saying, but never count out the Patriots, Steelers, or Colts. They’ve been the most consistently dominant teams of this decade.
- Remember how the Dolphins won the AFC East last year? Neither do I.
- Ditto for the Panthers in the NFC South—although that division is wide open again this year, so none of the four teams winning it would surprise me.
- I could see both NFC Wild Cards coming out of the same division: either the East or the West. I split the difference in my picks, though, and went with one from each.
- It wouldn’t surprise me if I’m wrong about the Vikings—while my disdain for Brett Favre might be clouding my judgment, the Vikings do have more tools surrounding him than the Jets did last year, but I’m still fairly confident that he’ll find a way to disappoint yet another fan base.
- Speaking of Minnesota, am I the only one who was surprised they didn’t make a play for Michael Vick after Favre initially told them he was going to stay retired? It seemed to me like he would fit into their offense well, taking the lead in place of Tarvaris Jackson, but as far as I know they made no effort to sign him. Instead he’s now yet another weapon on the Eagles’ already high-powered offense, which I think will be the class of the NFC.
- Jay Cutler gives the Bears the same kind of spark they had in 2006 with Rex Grossman when he was on his game, if he can play up to his potential. Here’s hoping.