A Little Too Late: NFL Predictions of Division Winners For 2009

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst ISeptember 14, 2009

I don't see all of my articles so much as opinion, but rather, just ideas or food for thought.  I like to take a thought and draw it out as far as it can develop, sit back, and think about what I can derive from it for practical purposes.

I take a scientific approach to what I write, so it is not so much about what I can prove, but what you cannot disprove.  I am not sure that I can prove my arguments, but I know that you cannot disprove them.  I think that is what will bother people, because the only response they have is, "churlish cries of derision" as I once wrote.

FYI, I don't hate or have some personal tick with Sportsline.com, ESPN or Around the Horn, but they use their opinions as a guise for malice and an excuse at attempted sabotage of the Raiders, or to inadvertently perpetuate white hypocrisy on race relations.

I use my opinions as an excuse to challenge them in my swashbuckling way.

The truth is a world of competitive banter, that's all.  People call me crazy, while I think I'm just crazy like a fox.

When I'm incredulous, it is just an equal by opposite reaction to the incredulous opinions about the Raiders, white hypocrisy; and the fact that, "Hate/Fear Sells," you just have to make it sizzle through manufactured paradigms, so that people don't question what they're buying.

Here then, is where I attempt to win my blog cred: analysis and predictions.  The closer my analysis gets to accuracy, the more likely it is that my ideas have veracity.  The scoreboard and win-loss ratio, to me, is the only empirical evidence that can disprove someone's analysis and predictions.  Whether I or a writer succeed in that analysis, should determine whether you take that writer seriously.

Frankly, I think that many writers fear that

I picked the Miami Dolphins in May of 2008 for crying out loud.  Yet, the mass sports media will claim that "no one" would have picked Miami, except Dolphin fans.  It was not luck, so let us see if I can do it again.

To them, they figure that a writer can 'get lucky,' a few times, but could never make a career on it, because the fates of NFL teams are often perceived as a crapshoot, thanks to unpredictable things such as injuries.  Thus, they regurgitate groupthink with personal modifications and hope to get lucky, and if they fail, well someone else did too.

The reality is that you can predict, "most likely to get injured" (there's one for a yearbook) because if you understand that NFL team, then you can see that some players will be more likely to be subjected to tackles or intense play (ex, an offensive lineman without much support yet tough opposition).

Matt Hasselbeck is a good example of a player that I think is, "most likely to get injured," which muddles my analysis of the Seahawks.  All teams are essentially a House of Cards, thus if you downgrade one starter, even the weakest link, then the results can change dramatically.  If Hasselbeck gets hurt, then Seattle will crumble once again.

If Hasselbeck stays healthy, the Seahawks should contend in the NFC West.  Problem is, there is a greater chance of injury to Hasselbeck, than there is to either Marc Bulger in St. Louis or Shaun Hill in San Francisco, while the Cardinals have a solid backup behind Kurt Warner with Matt Leinart. 

Why is Hasselbeck more likely to get injured?  History of injuries, age, offensive support (in Seattle's case, the offensive line), defensive opposition, and whether that player is the primary target (perceived to be the best player).

Hasselbeck will face the rush early and often, because Seattle is a pass-oriented team that is trying to improve the running-game with offensive-coordinator Gregg Knapp.  It is probably too late for the Seahawks to fundamentally change offensive philosophies, but I think Hasselbeck should lean on the running game for the Seahawks to succeed, which is what Hasselbeck did with Shaun Alexander in 2005.

2006 and 2007 skewed the perception of Seattle, because the Niners, Cardinals, and Rams were not any good and thus by winning the division, the Seahawks would earn a home-game in the Wild Card round of the postseason.  Home games in the Wild Card round usually favor the home-team, even when that team has overachieved.  Especially when the opposing quarterback, Tony Romo in 2006-2007, has his mind on other things.

In the NFL, you cannot judge a team from what happened last year.  You must have the guts to predict what will happen this year.

I have written reasons for why I think each team will win, but I decided to publish the simplified version.  If you are interested to know my reasons, just email me.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears

Minnesota Vikings

Detroit Lions

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles

New York Giants

Dallas Cowboys

Washington Redskins

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

Atlanta Falcons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals

St. Louis Rams

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

AFC East

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Miami Dolphins

Buffalo Bills

AFC West*

Oakland Raiders

San Diego Chargers

Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

Houston Texans

Tennessee Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars

* = I believe that people whom claim to be unbiased are liars.  Thus, by rule, I allow for one exception; a Mulligan of sorts.  You can say anything you want about a team of your choice, and I won't impugn you for being loyal.  Just as, I can say anything I want about my team and you cannot impugn me for being loyal.

Why?  Because no organization can succeed when it is filled with disloyal players and personnel, no matter what their talent is.  That is why the fans must remain loyal within reason, because fan perceptions affect executive decisions.

To those like Chad Ochocinco who love to make theater: To the victor go the spoils, so save the celebrations for when you win.  Similarly to the writer's that expect you to care about what they think, when they never get any predictions right, other than the predictions that everyone gets right.

Look at the Patriots for instance.  They succeed in part because of loyalty within the organization.  Extract one of them and plant them in another organization, and the results will be much different.

Could be why Bill Belichik had it easy when he came to town in 2000--New England fans cared more about the Red Sox, while by comparison, the Patriots had been treated like a traveling circus, and so the fan perceptions didn't muddle the team's decisions.

I was in Warwick, Rhode Island a week and a half before September 11, and asked my great uncle about what he thought of the Patriots, his response was quite simple and laconic, "They suck."

Once you start just winning, just winning will compound into dominance.

Being a "yes man" does not count as loyalty, but questioning authority yet deferring the decision to the superior, does count as loyalty.


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