To finalize our 2009 NFL Preview, we present final standings, leaders, award winners, and playoff results.
As part of a broader endeavor with FOXSports.com's Fantasy Football, each regular season and playoff game is simulated 10,000 times. Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date and as accurate as possible as of Jun. 9. A schedule of the 2009 NFL preview content is located here.
On Tuesday, Jun. 23, we will also post our fantasy football cheat sheets and first NFL power rankings of the season.
Today we preview the playoffs. We present playoff results with links to box scores and play-by-play of each game. Box scores are from example games with a similar result as the average outcome. Final standings, leaders, and award winners follow the playoffs.
AFC Wild Card Games
No. 6 Houston: 27 at No. 3 Indianapolis: 21 (OT)
The lone divisional matchup of the playoffs is also the only overtime game. A more experienced Houston Texans team goes into Lucas Oil Stadium and eliminates the Colts on a 34-yard touchdown run six minutes into OT.
No. 5 New York Jets: 21 at No. 4 San Diego: 24
A 28-point fourth quarter culminating in a Chris Chambers game-winning touchdown reception with 14 seconds left in the game makes for a thrilling Wild Card playoff game. LaDainian Tomlinson, who gains 163 total yards and scores a touchdown, is the key to the Chargers' success.
NFC Wild Card Games
No. 6 New York Giants: 20 at No. 3 Minnesota: 23
Two of our top five teams in the league face off in the first round of the playoffs. A 45-yard Ryan Longwell field goal as time expires provides the difference in Minnesota.
No. 5 Dallas: 17 at No. 4 New Orleans: 30
The Saints' prolific passing offense is too much for the Cowboys' secondary. Tony Romo continues his poor late-season play with three interceptions.
AFC Division;al Games
No. 6 Houston 14 at No. 1 Pittsburgh: 15
The Texans keep it close the whole game, but their dream season ultimately falls short against the defending Super Bowl champions when Jeff Reed connects from 27 yards in the final seconds. Reed makes five field goals in the win to put Pittsburgh back in the AFC Championship Game.
No. 3 San Diego: 27 at No. 2 New England: 30
Far more points are scored in the second AFC Divisional Game, but the result is similar. The home team New England Patriots answer a last-minute, game-tying Chargers touchdown with a 49-yard, game-winning field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. Tom Brady throws for 297 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
NFC Divisional Games
No. 4 New Orleans: 20 at No. 1 Philadelphia: 27
The Eagles erase a three-point halftime deficit by outscoring New Orleans 13-3 after the break. Philadelphia is guaranteed home field advantage in the NFC Championship against Arizona or Minnesota.
No. 3 Minnesota: 21 at No. 2 Arizona: 28
The Vikings fail to avenge their biggest loss (and only game in which they are the underdogs) from the season. Arizona's win sets up a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game. Kurt Warner lights up Minnesota for 284 yards and three touchdowns on 26-of-35 passing.
Conference Championship Games
No. 2 New England: 20 at No. 1 Pittsburgh: 17
After an injury-plagued 2008, Tom Brady and the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl. New England goes into Pittsburgh to get a tough playoff road win. Brady is incredibly efficient against the vaunted Steelers defense, with no turnovers and only five incomplete passes on 23 attempts.
No. 2 Arizona: 17 at No. 1 Philadelphia: 28
The Eagles exact revenge from last season with a big home win in the NFC Championship Game. Philadelphia again comes back from a halftime deficit to win convincingly.
In a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX, Tom Brady and Donovan McNabb will square off for the title. Both quarterbacks have better weapons, so expect a shootout.
Super Bowl XLIV
Philadelphia: 34 vs. New England: 31
E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles! Andy Reid works his magic at halftime for the third straight playoff game, leading Philadelphia out of a hole to win the Super Bowl.
Young weapons prove the difference in this example game, as rookies LeSean McCoy and Cornelius Ingram both score touchdowns. Interestingly, Tom Brady's performance is enough to earn him the MVP award in the losing effort. Brady completes 25-of-40 passes for 279 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
It's not enough to win the game, however. Brady gets a chance to lead the team to victory on the Patriots' final drive. Trailing 33-30 with 1:21 remaining and the ball on their own 34, Brady helps New England pick up 37 yards in less than a minute.
Facing a 4th-and-4 with 33 seconds to go, another Philadelphia rookie, defensive back Victor "Macho" Harris, blitzes from the blind side and gets to the frantic quarterback before he can release the ball. Brian Westbrook totals 93 yards and two touchdowns, and Donovan McNabb throws for 297 yards and two touchdowns for the victorious Eagles.
Regular Season Awards
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: 328 rushes, 1,644 rushing yards, 15 total TDs;
2: Tom Brady;
3: Drew Brees;
4: Larry Fitzgerald;
Offensive Player of the Year
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: 335/544, 4,183 yards, 30 TDs, 14 INTs;
2: Adrian Peterson;
3: Tom Brady;
4: Andre Johnson;
5: Larry Fitzgerald
Defensive Player of the Year
DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys: 67 tackles, 15 sacks;
2: Mario Williams;
3: Troy Polamalu;
4: Jon Beason;
5; Trent Cole
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers: 69 receptions, 888 receiving yards, six total TDs;
2: Percy Harvin;
3: Donald Brown;
4: Mark Sanchez;
5: Andre Smith
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Aaron Curry, Seattle Seahawks: 63 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions;
2: Louis Delmas;
3: James Laurinaitis;
4: Brian Orakpo;
5: Brian Cushing
Coach of the Year
Rex Ryan, New York Jets: In the first season, Ryan leads Jets into the playoffs with a rookie quarterback;
2: Bill Belichick;
3: Andy Reid;
4: Gary Kubiak;
Final Standings (*division winner, + wild card)
|New England Patriots*||11||5|
|New York Jets+||9||7|
|San Diego Chargers*||10||6|
|Kansas City Chiefs||7||9|
|New York Giants+||9||7|
|Green Bay Packers||7||9|
|San Francisco 49ers||8||8|
|St. Louis Rams||3||13|
|New Orleans Saints*||9||7|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||5||11|
|Passing (by yards)||Yards||TDs||INTs|
|Rushing (by yards)||Yards||AVG||TDs|
|Receiving (by yards)||Recs||Yards||TDs|
|Steve Smith (CAR)||69||1154||7|