The 2009 NFL Season Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
It's been a long season—trust that coming from a Bills fan.
There was a glimmer of hope for Buffalo in the first weeks of the season, nearly beating New England then pounding on Tampa, before utterly falling to a 6-10 season.
Anyways, not everyone cares about the Bills, and I'll leave my frustrations aside to take a peek on how well my regular season and playoff predictions were.
Now that everything is all set to go and the trip to Miami is closely approaching, let's take a look at how well I did in 2009.
New England Patriots: Prediction 10-6. Result 10-6.
Wow, I hit that one on the nail, huh? It's one of only three records I predicted correctly this year, but I was expecting a stronger AFC, which would have prevented New England from making it to the postseason.
New York Jets: Prediction 5-11. Result 9-7
Hey, who could blame me? Rookie QB, rookie coach, I mean come on. I really didn't think too much of them and there are a few games on their schedule they should have lost. Let's add in that the AFC was weak this year.
Miami Dolphins: Prediction 4-12. Result 7-9.
They were playing the toughest schedule in the division this year, so that's rough. I expected them to have a little more of a down season, but I knew this year was going to be a letdown of major proportions.
Buffalo Bills: Prediction 11-5. Result 6-10.
Call it favoritism if you like, but i really liked the way things were looking awhile ago. Throw out the fact I haven't written an article in quite some time, so it was a little foolish to expect something that big.
Well, there's always next year. Maybe...
San Diego Chargers: Prediction 15-1. Result 13-3.
Hey, maybe I got a little over ambitious. But I thought going into this season San Diego would dominate, and it happened, although the 11-game win streak into the playoffs I did not expect.
Denver Broncos: Prediction 8-8. Result 8-8.
Another one I hit just right. I predicted an average season out of Denver when everyone thought they were in dismay. I disagreed; I thought they would have a few upsets, but a 6-0 start?
Unexpected. Then they went 2-8, which somewhat looks like how the Bills finished.
Oakland Raiders: Prediction 4-12. Result 5-11.
Another faltered season for the ol' Raiders. But with their brilliance against opponents like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Denver, and with the win against KC, you have to wonder how bright the future might look for Raider Nation. Especially if Gradkowski stays at the helm.
Kansas City Chiefs: Prediction 4-12. Result 4-12.
Another team predicted perfectly. They're still finding their identity. Matt Cassel, who is young and has shown signs of brilliance, could be on the rise. Watch out for this franchise in the future, it might take awhile though.
Cincinnati Bengals: Prediction 4-12. Result 10-6.
Fault me for this if you must, I just didn't see a turnaround like this coming in one season. An inspired Bengals team has been playing great football all year. I saw they were playing well at the end of last year, but I didn't believe the hype—boy was I wrong.
Baltimore Ravens: Prediction 11-5. Result 9-7.
I saw a good season coming from this team, but I never thought I'd see them in the playoffs without Pittsburgh in there as well. But I'm wrong a lot, as you can tell. These guys played well, just not quite as good as I thought they were going to be. But, oh well, can't win them all.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Prediction 12-4. Result 9-7.
I had a feeling Mike Tomlin wasn't perfect, but I ignored it and saw Pittsburgh getting a good shot at a repeat. I was wrong,again—see the pattern? I get a feeling they'll be back next year with some redemption, and I can see them back in the picture again next year, because disappointments seem to inspire this bunch.
Cleveland Browns: Prediction 1-15. Result 5-11.
Let's just say my scenario would have been correct until they won four games to close the season. And don't remnd me of that "field goal-er-ific" match against the Buffalo "Roscoe Parrish fumbles the ball" Bills. Ugh. I do see Cleveland improving with Mike Holmgren at GM.
Indianapolis Colts: Prediction 10-6. Result 14-2.
I misjudged this team a lot; I thought this team would be in dismay with the coaching changes at the start of the year. The players weren't getting any younger, and holes were ripped with the losses of Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy.
But folks, these are the Indianapolis Colts we're talking about here, and they alway make something out of nothing. Their 14-0 start was great for this franchise, nothing can stop them, and they helped Buffalo feel good about themselves in the last week—always feels good, people.
Houston Texans: Prediction 10-6. Result 9-7.
I saw them doing very well; I got something right. They had a big confidence boost by beating the big bad Patriots to finish off their first winning season in franchise history. They'll be back next year to give the playoffs another shot.
Tennessee Titans: Prediction 11-5. Result 8-8.
I didn't think Kerry Collins was that bad—oops, wrong again. I've always liked Vince Young and thought he was destined to be their franchise QB.
They proved critics wrong after an 0-6 start, finishing the season strong with an 8-2 record and a brilliant 2,000-yard season from Chris Johnson. They're the exact opposite of the Broncos—isn't that strange?
Jaksonville Jaguars: Prediction 11-5. Result 7-9.
Hey, I thought I saw a pattern: good, bad, good, bad, good, bad...you get the point. They were bad last year, and they did bad again. I really don't understand this team; they'll draft Tim Tebow, I know it, but yet again, I'm right about 29 percent of the time, so what do I know?
Dallas Cowboys: Prediction 6-10. Result 11-5.
The pain continues. I seriously thought there would be disarray with Terrell Owens out the mix, but this guy in the picture (Miles Austin) showed up out of nowhere.
Had anyone even known who he was, besides teammates and family, before this year? No. That's the answer, Miles is a great receiver and he may have just saved Wade Phillips' job.
Philadelphia Eagles: Prediction 7-9. Result 11-5.
I predicted the Eagles to have an off year; the emergence of DeSean Jackson, and good play by Donovan McNabb and LeSean McCoy, filling in for the injury-prone Brian Westbrook, helped this team produce once again. I wonder when they'll have an off year—maybe in a decade or so?
New York Giants: Prediction 11-5. Result 8-8.
They dominated with a 5-0 start before collapsing and stumbling to a 3-8 finish. I thought they were going to do as well as Philly and Dallas ended up doing.
Washington Redskins: Prediction 7-9. Result 4-12.
I expected Washington to perform decently, but ending the Lions' 19-game losing streak? Seriously? Maybe a new head coach will create a spark to help Jason Campbell, who did surprisingly well, and make a decent team out of them.
Arizona Cardinals: Prediction 8-8. Result 10-6.
So Kurt, are there any more doubters? Well I'm not one—this team is playing very well and once again, Warner looks ageless. Another productive year from Larry Fitzgerald, who seemingly dodged the "Madden Curse" (while the main effects to that went to Troy Polamalu).
The Cardinals could make another great run at the Super Bowl; the question: Is this their year?
San Francisco 49ers: Prediction 12-4. Result 8-8.
I hopped on the Mike Singletary bandwagon a little too soon, but trust me (although it's pretty hard to do so with my picks), give this team a few years and they could be dominant. This is a "wait and see" scenario.
Seattle Seahawks: Prediction 7-9. Result 5-11.
With another forgettable bad season behind them, along with Jim Mora, the 'Hawks are looking at Pete Carroll (a nightmare for a Trojan fan like me). It looks like it's going to happen; Seattle may just get a playoff pick from me next year, but I don't think they want one.
St. Louis Rams: Prediciton 0-16. Result 1-15.
I wasn't too far off; one win doesn't make me look as stupid as I have so far within this article. The Rams may continue this disarray for another 20 years, while Steven Jackson wonders how great he could have been on even a decent team.
Minnesota Vikings: Prediction 11-5. Result 12-4.
What can I say? I didn't see Favre coming back this year, and look where we are now. They rebounded by pounding on the Giants, and I see this team going very deep in the playoffs this year; we will wait and see.
Green Bay Packers: Prediction 10-6. Result 11-5.
I expected a good year from Aaron Rodgers and his receivers, and a decent year for Ryan Grant. They could be deadly in the playoffs.
Chicago Bears: Prediction 4-12. Result 7-9.
I think i did pretty well at predicting that Jay "Interception" Cutler wasn't all he was "cut" out to be. Get it?
OK, terrible little joke right there. Anyways, I knew they would have a disappointing season.
Detroit Lions: Prediction 6-10. Result 2-14.
Did I put a little too much pressure on the Lions by predicting six wins? Maybe, but Matthew Stafford has shown he can light up a defense, and I believe he is the future of that franchise. Once again, this is the NFL, people.
New Orleans Saints: Prediction 12-4. Result 13-3.
I did pretty well at predicting the big season from New Orleans, and it had the fans chanting "Who Dat." I really like this team and could definitely see them in the Super Bowl. I'm just not sure yet if they'll win it, but that's why they play the game.
Atlanta Falcons: Prediction 8-8. Result 9-7.
Big season last year, somewhat of a letdown this year. But a bright spot with a back-to-back winning season for the first time ever; they'll be right back in the hunt next year as Matt Ryan goes into year three.
Carolina Panthers: Prediction 6-10. Result 8-8.
I saw a letdown a mile away—I wasn't that confident about it, but hey, not bad for me. I now believe that Matt Moore is the future of this franchise and is now leagues and leagues better than Jake "Mr. Interception" Delhomme.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Prediction 9-7. Result 3-13.
Let's just say I saw Tampa as what the Bengals ended up doing. They felt robbed from the playoffs last year after losing to Oakland. I'm glad they kept Raheem Morris, I like him, and Josh Freeman may be the next big thing. But I believe it's going to take more than a year to fix this mess.
1. Indianapolis Colts: 14-2, AFC South Champions
2. San Diego Chargers: 13-3, AFC West Champions
3. New England Patriots: 10-6, AFC East Champions
4. Cincinatti Bengals: 10-6 AFC North Champions
5. Baltimore Ravens: 9-7, 2nd NFC North
6. New York Jets: 9-7, 2nd AFC East
1. New Orleans Saints: 13-3, NFC South Champions
2. Minnesota Vikings: 12-4, NFC North Champions
3. Dallas Cowboys: 11-5, NFC East Champions
4. Arizona Cardinals: 10-6, NFC West Champions
5. Green Bay Packers: 11-5, 2nd NFC North
6. Philadelphia Eagles: 11-5, 2nd NFC East
Wild Card Round
Match of the Week: Baltimore at New England. This should be a very competitive matchup, defense at its best vs. offense at its best, with Baltimore pulling it out in the end.
Baltimore def. New England 24-21
Arizona def. Green Bay 27-17
Cincinnati def. New York Jets 33-20
Dallas def. Philadelphia 29-14
Match of the week: Cowboys at Vikings. The Cowboys, trying to run on some playoff magic, look to upset the Vikings and Brett Favre. But, unfortunately for the 'Boys, their magic falls short to Brett Favre-Mania.
Minnesota def. Dallas 31-13
New Orleans def. Arizona 22-17
San Diego def. Cincinnati 33-24
Baltimore def. Indianapolis 27-24
Match of the Week: Vikings at Saints. The NFC title game will be a brutal one, as the Saints fight to get to their first Super Bowl. Brett Favre and the high powered offense of the Vikings will fight to the end, but New Orleans receives their first ever Super Bowl berth by beating the Viking.
New Orleans def. Minnesota 28-20
San Diego def. Baltimore 27-10
Pro Bowl in Miami
The AFC prevails over the NFC, 36-25.
Super Bowl XLIV
Chargers vs. Saints: The Super Bowl will be a high profile offensive battle where the game will be decided within the last moments. But in the end, New Orleans gets their first championship for the city that has gone through so much over the past five years.
New Orleans Saints def. San Diego Chargers 34-27
As a championship sits in New Orleans, the NFL will be headed to the offseason with many questions:
Will Terrell Owens resign with Buffalo?
Will Pete Caroll run Seattle?
Will the Rams win more than a game next season?
What will the NFL have in store for Tim Tebow?
These are all questions waiting to be answered as the NFL season ends after a very historical season.