10 Things I Guarantee for the 2009 NFL Season
With much thought, investigation, & pure gut feelings, I have collected 10 statements that I feel very confidently will be FACT by the end of the season.
People often say that opinions are like rear ends. Everyone has one. In most cases, they also stink. I hope to not fall in that category!!!
I come to these thoughts through years of study, having a very opinionated nature, being a huge fan of conspiracies, and watching hours upon hours of the NFL network preseason rebroadcasts.
Do what you will with these predictions of the future and please...Don't fear me!
Kurt Warner Will Duplicate Last Year's Numbers
Larry Fitzgerald. Anquan Boldin. Steve Breaston. A pretty weak running scheme. The gang is still there.
Though he has lost his offensive coordinator, He still has one of the NFL's fastest minds & even quicker releases in the entire league.
The Cardinals may not make it to the big game again, but Kurt Warner will have another All-Pro season.
By Season's End, Knowshon Moreno Will Be the Most Productive Rookie
Some people will be scared by the sprained knee that Moreno suffered in his first preseason action. Don't be. It doesn't change a thing.
Moreno is currently fourth on the Bronco's RB depth chart. Here is the order:
1) LaMont Jordan - Will pull a hammy within the first three weeks of the season. Probably signing an autograph.
2) Correll Buckhalter - Please review his history starting in Philly when Westbrooke was hurt. This guy is just "a guy"...a complementary back. He's not an NFL starter.
3) Peyton Hillis - This guy is interesting and really showed some running ability last year before being injured. But this is a new coaching staff and they want to see the car they brought running the race. That car is Moreno.
I'm hedging my bet by clearly stating "By Season's End" in my prediction. I'm looking at a legitimate and starting halfback job no later than by game four. Bank on it!!!
The Jacksonville Jaguars Will Make the Playoffs This Year
I know. I'm being a "homer" with this prediction. but let me flesh one this out. In the end, you won't agree probably but at least you'll respect my argument.
Jack Del Rio is scrambling to keep his job. Wayne Weaver is desperate to keep his team in Jacksonville. New GM Gene Smith is fighting to bring the Jagaurs back to respectability without sacrificing character. That is a lot of motivation.
David Garrard showed up to camp 15 pounds lighter to prove he is worth the money he's being paid and that he deserves to be a starting QB for the Jags.
Maurice Jones Drew wants to prove he can carry the load without Fred Taylor and is worthy of the huge contract he signed off season after season.
Torry Holt wants to prove his best years aren't behind him, while also mentoring a very young yet talented receiving corps.
Del Rio is killing the boys in training camp. Two-a-days in piecing heat with full pads. CBS Sportsline reporter Pete Prisco, who is touring multiple team's training camps, stated that the Jaguar's practices were the "Most physical of any that I have seen."
That translates to a team that will be mentally & physically tougher than they were last year.
My argument: Remember the Jags have the Rams, 49ers, Browns, Bills, Chiefs, Jets, and Seahawks on their schedule. All were also-rans last year. They match up against the Titans and Texans twice.
Both are teams who could take steps backwards this year. They play the Cardinals & the Dolphins. Both teams had amazing years last year. But were they flukes?
Finally, we play two games against a playoff team that is another year older, lost their inspirational head coach, and still has serious issues on the defensive side of the ball. That leads me to my next prediction...
The Colts Will Struggle This Year
I keep hearing people talking about "As long as Peyton is still there..."! I agree. He's possibly the best quarterback in football. But he took steps backwards last year.
For the first time, he dealt with pressure. The truth of the matter is that he didn't respond well. He threw more picks than since his rookie year. His TD rate was down. It almost appeared that, much like his golfing buddy Tiger Woods, a knee injury reminded him that he was a mere mortal. It showed on the field.
Reggie Wayne has actually shrunk without the shadow of Marvin Harrison. I know they have Anthony Gonzales. I've seen Anthony Gonzales. I've watched Anthony Gonzales play. And you sir...are no Marvin Harrison!
The defense is still suspect. Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney, and a bunch of nobodies. What has to be scary for Colts fans is that Sanders and Freeney haven't been the healthiest guys in the world either.
Offenses should be passing batons they run on the Colts so easily. I am positive the defense will lose at least three games this year for the Colts.
The last and most important point? It can be summed up very quickly. YOU DO NOT REPLACE TONY DUNGY. A good coach who was an even better man. A man who treated his players like men, but without being their buddy.
A man who's first Super Bowl was won with his players in Tampa Bay by his replacement. His second win came with a Colts team that has truly dominated the league for his tenure. No controversies. No drama.
This man will NOT be easily replaced.
Percy Harvin will Underwhelm and Ultimately Disappoint
Let's get it out of the way right now. If you have read any of my past articles or have looked at my profile, you know I'm a HUGE Georgia Bulldog fan. So I hate Florida Gators. It's instinctual. I can't help it. Nor would I change it.
Now to my prediction that has NOTHING to do with the previous paragraph. In my opinion, Percy Harvin will NOT be the human highlight film that people are expecting. I personally feel he is going to be a bust. Here is my reasons.
Reason 1) He was hurt a lot while in college. Now he will be hit by players bigger and faster than he has every seen. It doesn't bode well to his health.
Reason 2) He alienated coaches and fellow teammates with his arrogance and selfishness. The stuff will get him taped to a goalpost in Minnesota.
Reason 3) If someone looked at you and said "Hey...I'll give you $25 million if you won't smoke pot for six months", how would you answer? He either believed his body would reject a blood screen, or is the biggest idiot walking the face of the earth. You decide.
Reason 4) Percy Harvin missed the annual rookie symposium & his first practice with " exhaustion." OK...Listen to me. Britney Spears gets exhaustion. Lindsey Lohan get exhaustion. Hell, Amy Winehouse is exhausted right now. Professional athletes shouldn't be exhausted.
All of these facts, combined with three preseason games I've watched, doesn't give me reason to temper my opinion. As far as I'm concerned...if he fails, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy!
If He Remains Healthy All Year, Adrian Peterson Will Surpass 2000 Yards Rushing
This is actually the easiest prediction of the bunch. Adrian "All Day" Peterson is simply the greatest running back in the NFL & possibly one of the best ever.
I believe this will be a truly memorable season for AP. The Vikings may not win a championship, but Peterson will be the offensive player of the year.
Matt Hasselbeck Will Win Comeback Player of the Year
This is my most unsure prediction. So much will have to go correctly.
1) Matt will have to go uninjured. This is dicey because he has a problematic disc in his back. Last year, he was feeling better, then aggravated it on the plane ride home. I just feel confident that he will work his way through it.
2) The running game will need to return. Julius Jones is a journeyman. Edgerrin James is close to washed up. Justin Forsett is exciting but inexperienced.
One of these players will have to step up & take the pressure off Hasselbeck. I think it will be James, though the ghost of Shaun Alexander will not rise again.
3) The Cardinals will need to have an even worse defense this year than last. It is imperative that the Seahawks win their division. I'm already on record saying Kurt Warner will match last season's numbers.
So, for the Seahawks to win the division, Arizona will need to lose a few 42-39 games.
The reason I say that Seattle will need to win their division for Matt Hasselbeck to win the award is that the Brett Favre "machine" will be working overtime to get him the award if he has any success in Minnesota. And that would just be depressing!
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Will Be the Worse Team in Football
Just a feeling. Others are saying it. Terrible quarterbacks. Iffy blocking for an inexperienced running back crew. One great receiver, Antonio Bryant, who most are waiting for him to show his crazy side. The rest of the receiving corps are nobodies or never-was'ers.
Let's not even start on the once mighty defense. When Derrick Brooks left, they lost there heart. They lost their leader. And because of that, they will lose many, many games.
Roger Goodell Will Loosen the Blackout Restrictions
As a Jacksonville Jaguar fan, I currently am looking forward to only seeing half the season on television. We are currently due to having all of our home games blacked out. That is just ridiculous. Also criminal.
I am a father of three, with a working wife & a comfortable income. Unfortunately, I still can't afford to go to Jaguar games. When I was single, before starting a family, I was a season ticket holder for the team's first six seasons.
Now, paying for escalatingly high electricity bills for a home that has lost most of it's value is a little more important than going to the game.
Now a league that was created, then grew under the watchful eyes of the American television population is turning around and biting the hand that fed them. It is time for even the NFL to realize we are in a recession.
Roger Goodell has make some amazing decisions in his short tenure to return the game to a place that he and the fans can be proud of. Decisions made seemingly without the league's best interest always in mind, but instead made with decency.
I ask you now, Mr. Commissioner, please give me back my football. Please take into consideration the current economic climate & lift the blackout rules for one season.
The goodwill created would far exceed the financial losses...whatever those would be. This may be more of a wish than a prediction...but hey I can dream!
The Scoreboard in Dallas Will Directly Affect the Result of a Game
Before you Cowboy fans start yelling, I know and understand that Jerry Jones followed NFL regulations for the height of the scoreboard. They actually placed it five feet higher than required. But that doesn't matter.
A scrimmage or game hasn't been played without a punt hitting the scoreboard. The official ruling is that when it happens, the play will stop and will be played again. WHAT? Football now has DO-OVERS? This is a joke...right?
I have a feeling that a game will be effected by this at some point this season. It has to. There is too much that happens in a game so rigidly timed that it can't.
The funny thing, or infuriating if you will, is that the scoreboard will be raised this year for a U2 concert. If you can raise the scoreboard for the Edge, then it can be raised when Edgerrin James comes to town.
My final prediction is that this will be the greatest football season ever. But then again...I say that every year.
Thank you for looking in on my predictions. I hope it was enjoyable and please check out my other articles. As always, if you agree, disagree, or even think I'm an idiot...your comments are always welcome!!!