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September 9, 2009 · 1 PM
NFL 2009 Forecast: A peek into the future of football
By Ryan McAfee
Are you ready for some football? I have taken the time to travel to the future, to give you my unbelievably accurate outlook on the 2009 NFL season. Hold on to your flux capacitor, because here are my predictions:
Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3, Division Winner
The Steelers will yet again prove their badassness and win the division under the tutelage of Omar Epps, their head coach. He will lead them with a firm hand, brilliant coaching decisions and an uncanny ability to do whatever Dr. House says.
Baltimore Ravens 11-5, Wildcard Winner
Joe Flacco has a full season under his belt, and considering how successful he was as a rookie, all signs point to an even better 2009 campaign. Add that to a balanced running game with Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success. Too bad their postseason dreams will fall short after McClain devours the entire recipe in a late-night snacking binge.
Cleveland Browns 7-9
The Browns will start Brady Quinn at quarterback this year and shake off last year’s poor effort from Derek Anderson with an improved, though still losing season. Under center, Quinn will throw with more accuracy, move in the pocket more efficiently and run with the ball better than his predecessor. Unfortunately, even he will be unable to de-suckify Braylon Edwards.
Cincinnati Bengals 6-10
The Bengals will have their best season in years. Almost anything is an improvement from 4-11 and letting Joe Flacco score a 40-yard touchdown run against you. To celebrate a great season, other players will follow Chad Ochocinco’s lead and change their last names. Meet Carson Nueve, Cedric TresDos and Chris DosEquis.
New England Patriots 13-3, Division Winner
The NFL’s dimple-chinned prodigal son returns to the roster under center, and his handsome gaze will automatically make other teams forfeit for 9 of their wins. Two more wins will come when Bill Belichick makes a joke before the game, inducing an unbeatable mentality among his players, and the final two games will be won on various tuck-rules and Doug Flutie extra points.
Buffalo Bills 10-6, Wildcard Winner
After adding Terrell Owens to the roster to compliment Lee Evans, Trent Edwards will fall nicely into his role as quarterback. Marshawn Lynch’s suspension won’t really affect the team’s performance, nor will Terrell Owen’s ridiculous existence. In fact, the only thing that will hinder the Bills from being successful in the postseason will be the team having to see Marshawn Lynch’s face on a daily basis.
Miami Dolphins 7-9
Miami’s defense will play solidly like they did last year, but the offense will suffer in the passing game. It’s not that Ted Ginn, Jr. isn’t a legitimate deep threat; it’s that Chad Pennington can’t throw the ball as far as Ginn can run. “Go long! No, not that long.”
New York Jets 5-11
Coming off a season that started out great and ended poorly with a 9-7 finish, the Jets decide to not waste the fans’ time and lose early and often.
Fun fact: The highlight of the season will come mid-way through the season when the Jets have a bye week and don’t lose.
Indianapolis Colts 13-3, Division Winner
Who won the NFL MVP last year? Oh yeah, it was Peyton Manning. What? Tom Brady was hurt all season? Fair enough.
Houston Texans 10-6
This is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but the future looks Texan to me. The boys from Houston will turn the corner and usurp their former unsuccessful campaigns with a winning season. Matt Schaub will manage to play a full season with the league’s most underrated receiving corps, Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter.
Tennesse Titans 8-8
After an impressive 2008 season, the Titans will come back down to Earth with a humbling 8-8 performance in 2009. The defense will be stifling, but the offense will fail to produce enough points to help the Titans win games. The turning point in the season will be when 56-year-old Kerry Collins breaks his hip and they have to bring in the backup quarterback. You know, what’s-his-name. V-something. V-Vi-Vinny Testaverde. That’s who it is, right?
Jacksonville Jaguars 6-10
The Jags have added Torry Holt to their otherwise unknown receiving corps, but their offense will still rely heavily on the running game. However, their defense is still below average, and QB David Garrard will have an efficient, yet statistically unimpressive season. The most excitement will come when a homeless man breaks into the Jaguars locker room and starts screaming about receptions and Arkansas or something—turns out it’s Matt Jones.
San Diego 11-5, Division Winner
Even though the Chargers play in arguably the worst division in football—OK, the worst division in football – Rivers, Tomlinson, Gates and Chambers will return to form as one of the premier offenses in the league. Last year’s biggest underachievers will bounce back, giving sports writers the opportunity to employ headlines like “Rivers is Flowing,” “Gates-way to Heaven” and “I Wanna (B)L.T.”
Oakland Raiders 8-8
JaMarcus Russell and company will finally put the pieces together and not be completely worthless. To practice that parts/sum thing, the Raiders will also put the pieces together jigsaw-style during their regular “team puzzle” nights. This will lead to amazing team chemistry, homoerotic hugs, high fives and a life-sized puzzle of John Madden stretched across the locker room floor.
Denver Broncos 6-10
Kyle Orton is their quarterback.
Kansas City Patriots—I mean, Chiefs 5-11
The key addition this offseason for the Patriots—er, I mean, the Chiefs – was Matt Cassel. Despite his best efforts, Cassel will prove that not only do the Chiefs suck without a talented quarterback, but they suck with a talented quarterback, as well.
Minnesota Vikings 11-5, Division Winner
The NFL’s most obnoxious headline creator (Brett Favre) returns to the league in his 14th straight season of debating on whether or not to return to the NFL. Even though he is turning football fans across the U.S. against him, he’s still better at quarterback than any other turd the Vikings will put out there under center to take up space and hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson. Instead of “handoff to Peterson left, handoff to Peterson right, screen pass to Peterson,” the Vikings will be more diverse with their play calling, like “handoff to Peterson right, handoff to Peterson left, flare pass to Peterson in the flat.” However, their go-to play will read something like this: “Avoid the sack, and chuck the ball downfield as hard as you can with no regard to where your receivers are in relation to the defenders, causing an interception.”
Chicago Bears 9-7
The Bears acquired Jay Cutler from the Broncos in exchange for Kyle Orton, two first-round draft picks, a third-round pick, a hand cart full of emotional baggage and a year’s supply of insulin. Personally, I think the Bears got away with a steal. The act of removing Orton from your team is already good enough, but adding Cutler in his place is infinitely better. Observe this simple formula for the Bears’ success: Bears – Orton = Good
Green Bay Packers 8-8
The 2008 season for the Packers was sub-par, despite a great performance by Aaron Rodgers in his first year at starting quarterback. 2009 will be much of the same, with the Packers’ offense having to play catch up after the defense allows teams to march all over them. Adding to the pain of being marched on, Favre and the Vikings will take the division. Ouch.
Detroit Lions 0-16
Philadelphia Eagles 12-4, Division Winner
Yes, the Eagles were the team to take fresh-out-of-prison Michael Vick to add mediocre passing stats to their team. Brian Westbrook will put in a full, injury-free season, and DeSean Jackson will become a true no. 1 option for Michovan VickNabb. The only problem the team will have will be when Vick loses and has to be euthanized by the coaching staff. Too soon?
Dallas Cowboys 11-5, Wildcard Winner
The Cowboys will prove the old adage that offense wins games, but defense wins championships, which will they’ll also adopt as their team motto. It’s a big improvement over their previous motto: “Special teams are relatively unimportant to the result of the game.”
New York Giants 8-8
The lack of a true standout receiver will show in the Giants’ inability to make big plays through the air. Their defense will, of course, be great, but as the old saying goes, “when your best player inadvertently shoots himself in the thigh after his gun falls out of his sweatpants and he tries to catch it, accidentally pulling the trigger while at the club, you’re destined to have a bad season.”
Washington Redskins 8-8
Washington will fail to take the next step as a team in this tough division and, like usual, they will fail to make the playoffs. But hey, at least they’re not the worst team with a racist team name. Suck it, Chiefs!
Atlanta Falcons 13-3, Division Winner
The surprise team of 2008 shows no signs of backing off. Matt Ryan has a full season under his belt, Michael Turner returns to try to win another rushing title, and the addition of the best tight end in the game to the roster can’t hurt either. You know what can hurt them? Fire. Because they’re human and fire hurts humans.
New Orleans Saints 11-5, Wildcard Winner
Drew Brees and company look to get back to the top of the NFC. Brees will be Brees; Marques Colston will be one of the top receivers in the league; and Reggie Bush will prove once again that he’s still only average as an NFL running back, but above average as a chinstrap-beard shaver.
Carolina Panthers 9-7
The Panthers will stick to John Fox’s tried-and-true method of running between the tackles and playing solid defense. The biggest problem with the Panthers is the fact that they play in a tough division, and they just cut Kevin Kaesviharn. I’ll be damned if I’m going to get behind a team who cuts Kevin Kaesviharn.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-11
Hey, they may not have much of a running game, but at least they make up for it by having a crappy quarterback and a below-average defense!
Arizona Cardinals 9-7, Division Winner
Even though they went to the Super Bowl, the Cards still won’t get their regular season act together and match their high-scoring offense with their ability to play solid defense. Matt Leinart will see time at quarterback, too, but only after he hires Tonya Harding’s guy to give Kurt Warner a “Nancy Kerrigan Special.”
San Francisco 49ers 6-10
Rookie: Coach, why are they booing?
Coach Mike Singletary: They’re not booing, they’re saying “Bruuuuuuuuce.” You know, like Isaac Bruuuuuuuce
Rookie: But coach, the defense is on the field
Seattle Seahawks 6-10
With Jim Mora, Jr. taking over at the helm, the Seahawks look to get back to their Super Bowl form, only this time with crappier running backs. Adding to their failures is Mora’s play-calling, which will include as many quarterback draws and quarterback option plays as he used to run in Atlanta. He’ll realize way too late in the season that his quarterback is slower, balder and a whole lot whiter.
St. Louis Rams 4-12
The Rams will start to make progress as a team until they actually play their first game against somebody besides their own defense.
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