With only a week before the kickoff of the NFL season, I, Mr. Satchel Page, will throw my hand in with the ranks of pundits and prognosticators predicting the path of the pretenders, paupers, and the eventual princes of the pedestal propping up the prize of all pigskin, the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Now, I don’t know everything. But I do know a lot of things. And I have been quite successful in picking Super Bowl contestants over the past decade. I even called the Ravens and Seahawks, believe it or not. So I feel I have something to contribute that you can ascribe to or at least think about when the season begins.
So without further ado, here is Satchel’s preview of the 2009 NFL season.
I think this division will be quite interesting. Maybe not as interesting as last year due to the injury suffered by Tom Brady in Week One.
But with the Miami Dolphins returning as division champs, a healthy and hungry Patriot team, and what I’m believing to be a reemerging Buffalo Bill squad, this division should again come down to the last couple of weeks before anything gets settled.
I’m going with New England because I believe that they are going to play with an edge the entire season and are frankly the most complete team. However, I believe that either the Dolphins or Bills will hold down one of the Wild Card spots. The Jets and Rex Ryan appear to be more bark than bite right now.
It’s hard to go against the Super Bowl champions in this division. Pittsburgh, when healthy, is probably the best team in the league, even with their deficiencies. And they proved it last year.
This team is just built for the playoffs with a strong defense, a talented running back corps, and an attitude that reminds you of the great dynasties in the NFL.
Baltimore will once again be strong. I expect Joe Flacco to have another good year, although he won’t surprise anybody.
Cleveland will only make noise throughout the year because of the never-ending quarterback controversies. And Cincy? Well, I think this is it for Marvin Lewis and the Bungles.
This could very well be the most competitive division in football. Even more so than the NFC East.
If Tennessee is sold on Kerry Collins, they stand a strong chance to make the playoffs. I think Jacksonville will also be in the hunt in the latter part of the season. However, my surprise pick to make the playoffs this year is the Houston Texans.
This is, of course, contingent on the health of Matt Schaub. If Schaub can stay on the field long enough to let his weapons make plays for him, the Texans should look forward to their first ever wild card spot.
Oh yeah, that other team? As long as No. 18 is there, it’s essentially their division.
You might as well put the Trojans in this division so the Chargers can have some competition. San Diego would have to lose their entire first and second squads to lose this one. With three new coaches and two new quarterbacks and one guy still with a lot to prove, this should be a battle for the number one pick in the 2010 draft.
I’m taking Pittsburgh vs. New England in the AFC championship game. I’ll give you my winner and representative in the Super Bowl in just a few.
Here we go. I have to be honest. This year looks like it will either be very good for my Cowboys or very bad. They have the pieces to make a serious contender; however, shoddy play calling and injuries can put our season in the dirt.
Washington will play well this entire season, and yet will find ways to lose a lot of games. New York has too many questions at wide out. Losing Plexi-glass and more importantly, Amani Toomer is going to hurt them more than they think.
And Philadelphia, being the only NFC East team to not have a Super Bowl ring (ha!) will be satisfied with staying in the news because of Michael Vick. Besides, it’s Donovan McNabb’s year to get hurt again.
This is where it gets good. This division is chock full of quarterback stories, with none more interesting than the other.
The last shall be first so we’ll start with Detroit and their No. 1 overall pick, Matthew Stafford. The Lions will, in fact, win a game this year either Week 3 against the Redskins, or Week 8 against the Rams. And Stafford, well, he’ll be the starter whenever it happens.
Chicago is going to find out that the Cutler experiment was a major bust, as he will keep them out of playoff contention as he did in his years at Denver. If you ask me—and you just did—as far as SEC quarterbacks go (and I went to an SEC school), the only one I’m sold on is Big Brother Manning.
Minnesota, I think, was a better team before they picked up Brett Favre. Don’t get me wrong; he’s an all-timer. Definitely a top five all-time. But I believe he’s going to throw the season down the drain as he did in the NFC championship game a couple years ago.
Which leads me to Green Bay. It disgusts me to say this, but the Packers look like the monsters of the NFC this year. Aaron Rodgers is a much better fit for this offense than Favre is in Minnesota. And with Dom Capers now the defensive coordinator and installing a 3-4 defense, Green Bay looks the strongest and most primed for the Super Bowl.
This division is always much ado about nothing. With only one Super Bowl EVER to split between them, this group is always alternating as to which team can be the flavor of the month and, thus, bring the most disappointment to their fans.
This year, I think it’s the Dirty Birds. Matt Ryan has shown that he belongs in this league as not only a starter, but also among the game's elite. And while he’s been given even more weapons, including future HOF’er Tony Gonzalez, like Flacco, I don’t think Ryan is going to surprise anybody this year.
Carolina, Tampa Bay, and the Aint’s will continue setting their fans up for epic failure with streaky and inconsistent play throughout the season.
This season should prove to be a better showing for the NFC West as opposed to last year. The 49ers are making strides in the right direction. However, without a solid QB, don’t expect them to make much noise.
The Seahawks look as if they are ready to make a strong push back into the playoffs. However, the West will be won yet again by the Cardinals featuring Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, and Mr. Larry Fitzgerald.
I’m thinking this year’s MVP trophy will be handed to either Fitzgerald or Aaron Rodgers. Oh did I mention the Rams? If I did, I didn’t mean to.
The NFC championship will feature the Cardinals and the Packers this year with Aaron Rodgers leading his team to Miami for Super Bowl Ecks Ell Eye Vee.
As for the AFC, I’m taking New England in a close one. I’m expecting magic and redemption from the golden one, Tom Brady.
Super Bowl XLIV
In a rematch of Super Bowl XXXI, the Patriots will redeem their defeat in New Orleans at the hands of Brett Favre and Reggie White defeating the Packers 27-14, and earning Belichick and Brady their fourth Super Bowl.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Defensive Player of the Year: Troy Polamalu
Offensive Rookie: Mark Sanchez
Defensive Rookie: Aaron Curry
Comeback Player: Carson Palmer
Breakout players: Darren McFadden, Leon Washington, Anthony Gonzalez, Mario Williams, AJ Hawk, and Antrel Rolle