Since we are deep into the NBA Finals (Orlando in six) I figured there’s no better time to give you my predictions on the up-coming NFL season, than now.
So without further adieu, the 2009 NFL season by conference & division, starting with the NFC. (Spoiler alert!)
They had a magical run last post-season that catapulted them straight into the Super Bowl. In fact, they were two plays erased from winning the whole damn thing. Unfortunately Cardinals fans, not this year. First off, Larry Fitzgerald is a beast. He is easily the best wide-out in the game today, but he is no longer a secret. To the fans, to the media, and especially to opposing defenses. Expect him to see plenty of double teams, perhaps even triple teams, hell, I’d throw two corners, a safety and the kitchen sink at him if need be. He is the vital part of Arizona’s success, and he can’t do it without the help of their receiving core. Steve Breaston is a fine looking receiver, but I don’t think he’d be enough to force one on one coverage on Fitz. If they resolve the contract disputes with Anquan Boldin, and get him to wear a Cardinals jersey with a smile on his face, then perhaps I would change my opinion, but until then, division winners will be the highlight of the Arizona Cardinals season. Did I mention Kurt Warner turns 1000 years old this season? That doesn’t help the cause one bit.
Arizona Cardinals finish the season 10-6
San Francisco 49ers
We’re not going to be very good. With that said, you can best believe I will still root, root root for the home team! The 49ers remain very much in the rebuilding process, and quite frankly, I do not expect much of an improvement from a year ago. I do agree with the hiring of Mike Singletary and his no BS coaching style, and if given some leash, he will turn the franchise around, however, it will require a bit of patience. San Francisco isn’t too shabby on defense, they finished the season ranked 13th overall in yards allowed. Nate Clements is an outstanding corner and Patrick Willis who finished second in tackles, is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL. The majority of San Francisco’s problems stem from their inability to be consistent on offense. After an incredible 2006, Frank Gore is coming off consecutive seasons of average ball. Look for him to return to form this season. Listen close San Francisco, Sean Hill is our guy at quarterback. I truly feel he’s earned the job despite erratic play last year, but more so, are we honestly reconsidering Alex Smith? Really? Wait. Really?
Michael Crabtree is going to be bad ass, and keep your eye on Glen Coffee to give Frank Gore some Gatorade breaks, but unfortunately, that won’t lead to more wins.
San Francisco 49ers finish the season 6-10
Didn’t the Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl a few years ago? Wasn’t the MVP of the league, Shawn Alexander playing for them? We seem far removed from those days, don’t we? Seattle was terrible last season, and although it wasn’t entirely their fault (so many injuries, especially at wide-receiver), they still wouldn’t be in playoff contention regardless. Matt Hasselbeck will return healthy, but his biggest threat, Deion Branch says he’ll never be the same, which is cause for concern if you are Seattle. But no loss is greater than that of Head Coach Mike Holmgren retiring. Seattle fans should take solace in knowing that the man brought in to replace Holmgren, Jim Mora, Jr. is well capable of steering the team in the right direction. I was a huge Jim Mora fan, and was quite upset when San Francisco let him leave to Atlanta, where he did an excellent job. Unfortunately, the Seahawks aren’t that talented, and they should expect similar struggles to last season.
Seattle Seahawks finish the season 5-11
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams finished last in the NFC West, and if it weren’t for the lowly Detroit Lions, they would have tied for the worse record in football, finishing 2-14 along side the Kansas City Chiefs. Unlike the Kansas City Chiefs, there’s no Matt Cassel joining the team to help fix those passing numbers. Marc Bulger was un-Marc Bulger like in 2008. He finished 21st in passing yards, and tied for 27th in touchdown passes. With the departure of his favorite, and realistically his only target in Tori Holt, it may seem possible for the Rams to follow up a disastrous season with something worse. Granted Bulger will probably show some resemblance of his former self, it doesn’t solve the defensive problems. St. Louis finished 28th in yards allowed per game, and gave up nearly 30 points an outing on average. I do not see a light at the end of this tunnel, St. Louis is currently in recession.
St. Louis Rams finish the season 2-14