NFL Preview 2010

The 2009 season ended in February when the New Orleans Saints, led by Drew Brees, beat Peyton Manning and the Colts 31-17. The game was the culmination of one of the greatest seasons in Saints history and was extra special in the wake of the devastation of hurricane Katrina.

To get to the Super Bowl, the Saints had to take down the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game.  The game was tied at 28 as the final whistle blew and a winner wouldn’t be crowned until after overtime. Little known Garrett Hartley etched his name into sports lore by kicking a forty yard field goal to send New Orleans to its first Super Bowl and send the crowd of 71,276 into a frenzy. He’s one of an elite club of four kickers to have ever won a conference title game on an overtime field goal.

Those two teams will open the 2010 season on Thursday in a rematch of one of the most exciting conference championship games in history. Brett Favre and company are back and looking for vengeance. I can’t think of a better way to get this NFL party started.


Team to Beat:

Last season, somehow, the New York Jets made it all the way to the AFC Championship game. They looked like they were on a gravy train with biscuit wheels. But then those wheels fell off and were eaten by Rex Ryan. They eventually lost to the Colts in a lopsided 30-17 game. En route to said championship game, the Jets beat Cincinnati (24-14) and upset San Diego (17-14). This road to the conference championship game was a surprise because New York finished 9-7 in the regular season and barely made the playoffs. After revamping and upgrading their team, Rex Ryan and his troops are my 2010 “Team to beat”.

Don’t look for a sophomore slump from quarterback Mark Sanchez. After a rookie season where he threw 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, Sanchez is primed for a breakout year. A second season with Jericho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards and the addition of running back LaDainian Tomlinson and cornerback Antonio Cromartie and the re-signing of Darrelle Revis put the Jets in elite territory when it comes to talent.

AFC Rundown:

Besides the Jets, the Colts, Patriots, Chargers, Ravens and Titans look like the most likely playoff contenders in the AFC. Fringe teams like the Dolphins, Broncos, Bengals, Steelers and Texans could easily surprise some people. But, the Bills, Chiefs, Raiders, Browns and Jaguars are more likely to be playoff spoilers than contenders and will probably just be munsoned out in the middle of nowhere.

Predicted order of finish:

What do you think? Are the New York Jets all that or all wet?

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AFC East

  1. New York Jets
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. Buffalo Bills

AFC West

  1. San Diego Chargers
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Oakland Raiders

AFC North

  1. Baltimore Ravens
  2. Cincinnati Bengals
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Cleveland Browns

AFC South

  1. Indianapolis Colts
  2. Tennessee Titans
  3. Houston Texans
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars


Team to Beat:

Regardless of the hype of teams such as Dallas, Green Bay and Minnesota, New Orleans is still the team to beat in 2010. The reigning Super Bowl champions are loaded with talent and will have a huge target on their back after defeating the Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV. En route to their first championship, the Saints beat the Cardinals (45-14) and the Vikings (31-28 in OT). Even after all of that, they were still underdogs in the big game.

Drew Brees has probably the deepest group of receivers in the NFL. Marques Colston (1074 receiving yards and 9 TD), Devery Henderson (804 RY, 2 TD), Robert Meachem (722 RY, 9 TD) and Jeremy Shockey (569 RY, 3 TD) are a force to be reckoned with.

Brees also has Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas in the backfield and their defense seems to be getting better and better every season. That’s why the Saints are my 2010 “Team to Beat” for the NFC.

NFC Rundown:

Besides the Saints, the Cowboys, Cardinals, Packers and Vikings are the most likely NFC playoff contenders. The Giants, Eagles, Seahawks and Falcons are fringe teams that could easily have better than predicted seasons. The Redskins, 49ers, Rams, Bears, Lions, Buccaneers and Panthers are probably looking at January tee times. I bet Charles Barkley is available to play. As long as you can handle his Rookie of the year swing.

Predicted order of finish:

Are the Saints ready to repeat, or will someone else claim the crown?

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NFC East

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. New York Giants
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Washington Redskins

NFC West

  1. Arizona Cardinals
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. San Francisco 49ers
  4. St. Louis Rams

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Minnesota Vikings
  3. Chicago Bears
  4. Detroit Lions

NFC South

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. Atlanta Falcons
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  4. Carolina Panthers

Playoff predictions:


New York Jets

New England Patriots

Miami Dolphins

Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis Colts

San Diego Chargers


Dallas Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

Atlanta Falcons

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