2009 NFC Prognostications

Each year, I perform the futile endeavor of predicting the six playoff teams in each conference and selecting a Super Bowl champion.  In the four years I've been doing this, I've gotten two Super Bowl losers right and no winners.  So I'm shit at it.  But I like it.  Screw you.

First, the NFC...

#1 Seed - Atlanta Falcons
They've got the quarterback, running back, offensive line and receivers.  They added arguably the best pass-catching tight end in the history of the game.  They're front four on defense is better than the seven guys behind but with Anderson and Abraham on the edge, they're capable of consistently game-altering plays. 

#2 Seed - Chicago Bears
Maybe I'm crazy but I love this club and I think they'll put the conference on alert by winning at Green Bay in Week One and beating the champs the following week.  The Bears have one primary weakness, in the secondary, but should be able to compensate with their first productive offense in a generation.

#3 Seed - Philadelphia Eagles
This is more of an anti-Giants selection.  The Eagles are good on the offensive line and at the skill positions but I think no coordinator will be missed more than the late-Jim Johnson.  Johnson's attacking style compensated for a lack defensive talent for over a decade and his passing will force McNabb and the boys to put up 30+ each week.  I think they get to ten wins and that should be enough to take a fading NFC East.

#4 Seed - Seattle Seahawks
I'm notorious for clinging to teams whose window has already closed and that might be the case here.  But the Cardinals were one of the worst teams in football last December and I think that's closer to who they truly are.  Matty H has the best receiving corps he's ever had.  He's got runners with something to prove and a left tackle itching to re-start a Hall of Fame career.  Most importantly, his back is healthy.  I think nine wins takes the West and I think the Seahawks hit that number.   #5 Seed - Green Bay Packers
I think the top wildcard is coming from the North and I foresee some passionate performances from the Packers against the Vikings.  As a matter of fact, I think the Packers will beat the Vikings twice.  Why?  Because I want to see Favre's face when they do.  The Packers lost 9 of their 10 games in 2008 by a total of 41 points (and two of those in overtime).  They're good. 

#6 Seed - New Orleans Saints
The Saints have been close for several years but it seems they get their ass kicked in Chicago every winter, putting them out to pasture.  After a December 6th game in D.C., the Saints face @ Atlanta (dome), home Cowboys (dome), home Bucs (dome), @ Carolina (warm).  Those aren't particularly easy games but they won't need to battle the elements - a fight they've been losing since Sean Payton/Drew Brees took over.

Philadelphia Eagles over New Orleans Saints (There's that weather...)
Green Bay Packers over Seattle Seahawks (The better team dominates.)

Atlanta Falcons over Green Bay Packers (Go with the better run game.)
Chicago Bears over Philadelphia Eagles (McNabb mistakes cost club.)


The most exciting football game of the year is played as Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler each eclipse 300 yards in a dome-set shootout.  With the game tied at 31 late and 1:13 on the clock, Devin Hester fields a punt on the Bears eleven yard-line and crosses midfield.  Cutler hits Desmond Clark over the top on a play-action pass, gaining almost twenty yards.  After a short Matt Forte gain and a kneel down, Robbie Gould knocks through a 46 yarder to send the Bears to the Super Bowl.  Chicago 34, Atlanta 31.


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  • While I think your prognostication is slightly biased Jeff, I can't quibble with it much. My mantra of "21" holds strong as our defense cracks the top 10 and Cutler remains upright all year. If either of those predictions fade, then our nice little house of cards falls in on itself.

  • Great job Jeff, I'm glad you took some chances with your picks. That said I have to disagree with a couple of your major picks. First off I don't believe the Falcons will even make the playoffs this year. For as long as I can remember atlanta has been an inconsistant franchise for as long as I can remember. They make a nice run one year, become media darlings, and then fade away the next year. In fact I don't know if they have ever made the playoffs two straight years ever. The year after going to the super bowl in 98 they missed in 99 and in 04 they went to the championship game and missed the next year. So I think Ryan suffers the sophmore jinx, and they miss the playoffs. I don't like that defense either...
    And I like the 49ers to win the NFC west. Mike Singletary is going to be an excellent coach. His team will play with intesity and desire every week and they have enough top end talent to do something. That division blows, and Singletary will get them over the top as the 4th seed. Watch out for Frank Gore too.

  • Love the detail in the championship game. If you hit on even a few points (and I hope you do), you'll look like a genius.

  • What? Only ONE team from the vaunted, 4-letter network loving NFC East?! "Jeffy, you god some 'splainin to do!"

    One of the NFL Live crew had that division winning over FORTY games this season. Big Surprise, eh? Granted, they DO get to play the tepid AFC West in inter-division play, but still.

    Atlanta? A bold pick but I don't know if they have the defense to back it up. Matt Ryan's numbers last year were comparable to none other than Kyle Orton. But I can't say I liek anybody better in that division.

    The Saints are still battling a history of flameouts. I know they've overhauled that defense but will it be mardkedly better?

    Carolina. Will the REAL Jake Delhomme please stand up. He's got a great running tandem and Steve Smith, yet he manages 5 picks against the Arizona Cardinals?

    Tamps Bay. Also-ran.

    I do like the Eagles out of the NFC East, in spite of Michael Vick.

    I concur in the West. I don't think Kurt Warner's hip is right and that spells "fall back" for the cards in in AZ, Anquan & Fitz not withstanding.

    Gotta root for Sammurai Mike to work magic with the 49ers (although it would serve those cheaters right if they never went to the playoffs again for the crap they pulled back in the 80s)

    That leaves the North.
    I think (OK, I HOPE) THAT'S the 3 playoff- team division.

    I'm going with my IRONY PICK.
    Narcissus signs with the Purple, that LAST piece of the Queens' puzzle but... OOF-DAH, Aaron Rogers leads the Packers back to the promoised land. THAT would be ironic.

    To me, and like the Bears, it hinges on Green Bay's defense. Have they REALLY grasped Dom Capers 3-4 scheme so FAST and so WELL as the fake games would indicate?
    I hope not. But I AM a pessimist.
    I AM hoping that when that brand spanking new 3-4 lines up against something other than pure vanilla offense, the gaps in learning curve will be exposed.

    As for our boys, there's just an AWFUL LOT of questions that have to find the right answers to get them into the playoffs, let alone as a #2 seed. So many "Ifs". The health / durability of Peanut, Bowman, Tommie and Harris. The ability of the safeties. The sooo green wideouts (sorry, but it looked to me like Hester ran the wrong route on the Forte option play a couple weeks back). How good is that re-tooled O-line? Hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see all of those questions breaking the right way.

    I'll hedge my pessimism with the optimistic view that Jay Cutler can produce enough improvement on the offense to grab that last playoof slot in the NFC.

  • Jeff, solid post by the way.

    I look at it like this. The Bears did something this offseason that took me awhile to fully grasp. Regardless of whether or not we make the playoffs or win the superbowl (which we will), there has been a monumental shift in the direction and mindset of the organization. The Bears have decided that they are going to go for it... I mean, they know the fans deserve nothing less and the putrid excuses for Bears teams, Bears QB's and Bears coaching that we have had to put up with throughout the years is just over, it's finally over.
    For the forseeable future we are safe in knowing that our club is going to put forth a quality product that gives us a chance to win year in and year out. Do we need DB's? Yes. Could we use a sick new passrusher? Sure, who doesn't. the point is that we are doing things now that will ensure the growth of the ball club beyond this year and next. The next decade belongs to us.

  • This prediction won't be looking so good when the packers beat the bears by 20 this sunday. Remember what happened last time the bears went to lambeau they got their asses handed to them.

    It's an even bigger joke that you think the packers will beat the vikings twice. Just look at how awful Rodgers looked against the vikings d in minnesota last year. The packers also did their best bears impersonation by getting shredded by AD.

  • my order:

    1) Your 2009 chicago bears (13-3) (i'm dead serious, I think the secondary issues work themselves out, the line returns to form, and the D gets back into the top 10. Cutty and crew can score enough for the occasional shoot out).

    2) Panthers (12-4). They are good, just so long as Jake D doesnt shit the bed.

    3) Eagles (10-5). Nuff said about them

    4) Sea chickens (10-5). With 6 wins up for grabs in their semi-crappy division and a healthy Hasselback, they make the playoffs.

    5) Vikings (12-4). I hate them, and I want them to lose so bad... but they are sorta stacked. Even an implosion from Farve won't completely derail this team. Unlike the jets they have great D and an awesome run game... which will limit the chokeage, until the playoffs that is (I think the pack finish 10-5, but miss the playoffs).

    6) Falcons (10-5). Like Jeff said, they have the talent to be scary... but the D is less than awesome.

    Wild Card: Falcons over Eagles and Queens over Sea Chickens

    Round 2: Bears over Falcons and Panthers over Queens (two great running games, two QB's who love to choke. should be good).

    Championship: Bears OVER Panthers... and we get revenge for 2005 in a very freezing cold chicago..

    Guess my guess is as good as anyone at this point... injuries will probably have a TON to do with the pecking order in the NFC.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    dangit. For the falcons i meant 11-5. eagles 10-6, packers 10-6. As i see it we sweep the pack, they split with the queens and are the NFC north team that chokes and splits with Detroit.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    ugh. and seahawks 10-6. geez. time to go home.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    watching a replay of last years superbowl on NFL network. 90 yd drive with 2:25 left in the game down by 3. that is why football is the best game in the world. baseball should just end quietly and save itself the embarassment.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    Yeah. Love the Bears. Think it's going to be a toss-up between them and Minnesota this year... but I really don't think they can pull off a victory on the road in week one. GB's passing attack is too good, and our backup secondary can't even stay on the field for a full preseason game. Bear down, but I'm really looking forward to week 2.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    Didn't we all think that before Week 1 last year? The weak Bears versus the mighty Colts.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Amen, Ghost...If you don't realistically believe that Chicago can win week in and week out, (whether they do is another thing entirely) then why do you cheer for this team? This Sunday, I go to watch this game with a Packer fan, fully expecting to be laughing in his face as the Bears own Green Bay in their own house...I expect to feel this way each week.

    To paraphrase a great philosopher, if you don't live and die with your team, you aren't a fan...and I'd much rather live than die...

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    This first game really worries me. I don't want to come away with the same feeling I had on Saturday after watching the Illini/Missouri game. I went into that game expecting Illinois to own Missouri but it ended up the other way around. If the defense can keep the big plays to a minimum and shut down the slant routes then the offense will do their job. Can't believe it is only Wednesday. It will be a long Sunday waiting for the late game.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Good to see Tommie working hard. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-09-haugh-bears-chicago-sep09,0,4710848.column This guy has had a lot of bad luck with injuries.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Butkus agrees with Jeff!! Check out Dick's last commentat the end of the article!

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    The Falcons ? They suck, defense sucks, so can't have them as a serious playoff team, if they even get that far. They have one receiver and a very young QB, I don't care how strong his arm is.

    Green Bay ? Does anybody recall their record last year ? What changed ? They swap a 3 for a 4 and they're suddenly awesome ? They have a rookie DT, so, and, what ? Green Bay suckz. The Packers suck ballz and we will show everyone who got all excited about a sucky team in the off-season exactly how much they suck by pulling down their pants and kicking them in the ballz in front of their own fans, give them a collective wedgie and dump them in the nearest trash can. Jeez. Next.

    Glad to see no Niners on there, their best QB is their 3rd string, go figure. Bears (healthy) are between a 13-3 to 15-1 record in spite of our DBs. We pants either the Ravens Titans or Pats in the Superbowl. I really hope it's the Pats. Round two. Ding ding. Did I mention Green Bay suck ?

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Good link! Thanks, Ender!

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Ohhh, those FUNNY Raiders. Richard Seymour has yet to report.
    Tom Cable: "He wants to be here". Right, Tom. And I want to be tossed into a pit full of rattlesnakes. As Dan Ackroyd would say "Tom, you ignorant slut".

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    And where are the Giants, one of the most solid teams in the NFC ? Bears are most likely tops, with the Giants second. If the Saints get into the playoffs then they're #6. Falcons aren't in the top 6.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    The Butkus article seems like the writer just wanted to rehash all those media born negatives about Cutler.

    I'm not prognosticating about the seasons end, but I will prognosticate that next weeks game and the coming games will tell the tale. Get by games one and two with a 2-0 record and ride the wave all the way through the remainder of the season:

    -Stay healthy
    -Create some major offensive rythem
    -QB and receivers mesh
    -JC makes some new WR stars out of our unknowns (he should get a percentage of their future paychecks after they hold-out because they suddenly think they are good)
    -Stay healthy
    -Kill Minnesota
    -Stay healthy

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    ESPN "expert" picks kicking the Bears to the curb. Only Williamson and (Surprise!!!) ViQueen homer Kevin Seifert giving them any chance.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Aren't the Raiders something else? I love it, Albert! I think Jeff hit it on the head the other day when he said that the Raiders will never return to the top of the NFL until Al Davis dies or relinquishes overall managerial control to one of sounder body and mind. Even I think Al Davis is an ancient old man.

    But it's funny that Tom Cable punched out some assistant. It's terrible...but it's funny. I think the Raiders need deserve what they get. Remember they fired Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden (three Super Bowl victories between them).

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Not that I am a fan, but you dont think the Giants are aplayoff team?

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    just watched the 4-letter network's preview of the black-n-blue division. mike golic & marcellus wiley need to be shot for where they put the bears at (9-7 and 8-8 respectively). when we win the division, i wanna see all these bullshit commentators eat their words (and hopefully get fired). at least salisbury is gone (thank GOD)!!!!

    also, what's up with this "Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFC North" shit? am i missing something? did they ONLY win 5 games? (not saying that he did anything to cause it, but isn't it a little too early to anoint this dude as better than Cutty)?

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    I'm sick of watching TV spots and reading commentary about the season expectations and the Bears are an Afterthought. On Total Access, that spoon Mariucci got the NFC North - and didn't even mention the Bears !! He 'previews' a four team division and doesn't get around to the divisional winners !! The guy has killer insight, admittedly, he picked the Lions 'to do better'. If they win a single game they'll do better than last year, great stuff Steve.

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