Surprises In The NFL in 2009

Kyle GibbsContributor IMay 14, 2009


5. Detroit Lions

I know this takes up a spot on the list, but honestly, how can it get any worse for the poor Lions? If they get a single win this season it will be an upside and in I believe they can win three this season, so to me that's a surprise.

Maybe next year they will be higher on this list with a real reason to be on here. That's if Matthew Stafford can develop like Lions fans hope he will.

So I give you a scenario; what if the Lions are 2-10, 1-11, or even 0-12 coming into the later part of the season? Why not put Stafford in and see what he's got? Because it looks like Culpepper will be taking the snaps come game time, they might as well go ahead and give the kid some real action.

Other than that I am in love with WR Calvin Johnson.

4. New Orleans Saints

The Saints are on my list after finishing last in their division last season (a very tough division at that), not having a winning campaign, and once again missing the playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.

They're near the bottom of this list because this team is stacked.

You have one of the best arms in the league leading an offense that can be the best in the league at times.

They did lose RB McAllister but still have Reggie Bush.

They have good WRs in Colston & four-time Pro Bowler Jeremy Shockey, the addition of Malcolm Jenkins at corner will really help develop that defense, and the returning LB Jonathan Vilma is a true leader and veteran.

I pick the Saints to win their division by a game over the Falcons.

3. Green Bay Packers

I knew the Packers first season without Favre was going to be rough. They went 6-10 last season but four of those wins were against their own division which shows they can beat the teams in the NFC North—a big plus.

Expect Aaron Rodgers to really develop this offseason and learn to use his experienced wide-outs, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.

He has a mediocre tail back in Grant but will definitely pound forward in tough situations this season.

Their defense should have a good ,just like the past couple of seasons, especially with the first round draft pick DT B.J. Raji & USC LB Clay Matthews.

I predict that the Packers will win their division this season and it really helps that they have the thrid easiest schedule in the NFL.

2. Cincinnati Bengals

Living 50 miles north of Cincinnati, I know the pain of the town being okay with the citiy's sub-par football team, it's a baseball city right? Well this year they have a right to celebrate pigskin with the rest of the NFL.

After finishing 4-11-1 last season, the pluses were they started 0-8, which means they finished 4-3-1. They didn't have star QB Carson Palmer or Keith Rivers, RB Cedric Benson ran for over 100 yards in the last two games of the season, and they beat the 4-12 Browns.

This season, the Bengals have had an amazing offseason even though they lost their best WR in Houshmandzadeh. They have gained WR Laveranues Coles, five-time Pro Bowler S Roy Williams, and Tank Johnson all from free agency.

In the draft they picked LB Rey Maualuga and T Andre Smith.

They are in a tough division with the two teams who reached the AFC Conference Championship, but I believe they can place second in the AFC North and have a good chance of reaching the playoffs for the second time in 19 seasons.

1. Houston Texans

That's right, the Texans are my surprise team this year.

This is a team that came in to the league in 2002 and nobody's paid attention to them. They haven't had a winning record and have never made the playoffs. They had their best season last year with an 8-8 record, which suggests good things to come.

If Matt Schaub can stay healthy, this team will be very explosive and turn a lot of heads. They have a dependable RB in Steve Slaton, who ran for over 1,200 yards last year with nine touchdowns.

And I don't even have to explain the amazing WR they have—Andre Johnson. I think he is seriously one of the most scary offensive player in the league, I would hate to see him go against my team.

They added USC LB Brain Cushing to help the defense stop the run better than they did last year, but come on, any team that played Tennessee's running game last year had terrible stats also.

I predict that the Texans will finally get their winning season and make the playoffs as a wild-card, after finishing second in the division to the Tennessee Titans.