While I know it says on our BlitzNation End of the Year schedule that today’s category would be “Team of the Year,” after the Saints collapse against the Bucs this past weekend, it just seemed to easy to figure out who the team of the year would be in the NFL. It would be the Browns. Only kidding.
But since it is probably obvious at this point that the Colts have proved the most this season, we’re now going to turn our attention to the surprising and disappointing teams of 2009 in the NFL. There’s certainly a lot of ways you can go with this one, so let’s get started!
Surprising Team of the Year Candidates
New Orleans Saints
Look, we knew the Saints had a solid nucleus. And we knew they would have no problems putting up points this year. But if anyone expected the defense to play as well as they have this season, then they need to be coaching somewhere. The Saints had a playoff team entering this season, but we didn’t think they had a team that could start the season 13-0. They’ve struggled as of late, but that doesn’t get rid of the fact that they are of the most dangerous teams in the league, and surprised us all with their amazing start.
Remember back in the preseason when analysts were making their picks for the year? Well, I do. And I can tell you that a lot of them had the Cowboys on the outside looking in in terms of making the playoffs. Most thought that this would be the year the Cowboys officially collapsed, and with the loss of Terrell Owens, they simply would be unable to score. Wade Phillips was going to lose his job, and people were already talking about who would replace him. Fast forward a few months later, and this team looks legit. They could make a run in the playoffs.
I’ll admit. I honestly thought this would be the worst team in the league after watching them in the preseason. After all, they had just traded for an average QB at best in Kyle Orton, and their superstar, Brandon Marshall, was seeking a trade. It looked like rookie coach Josh McDaniels had a huge mess on his hands. But the Broncos won eight games this year, and still have a shot at making the playoffs. While eight isn’t a ton, it’s probably about six more than we though they’d win when the season started.
A lot of people were on the Bengals’ bandwagon before the season, but none of them could have envisioned the domination that the Bengals would put on the rest of the AFC North. Everyone thought this division belonged to the Steelers and Ravens, but the Bengals emphatically proved that statement false. They went 6-0 in the division this season, and are now preparing for a run in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the other teams in the division are still fighting for a playoff spot.
The Texans have always had the talent to be good, but it’s been about the execution. And while they’re still only 8-7 on the year, if you’d said that entering the final week of the season, they would have a better chance to make the playoffs than the Titans or Jaguars, I would have said you were crazy. That’s the case though, and although they need a few things to bounce their way, they still have a shot. That’s all you can ask for.
And the most surprising team of the year is…..
Though the Saints certainly shocked us with their start, the Broncos start might have been more shocking overall. This team started 6-0, and capped that start off with a win at San Diego. Everyone wrote this team off when they traded Cutler for Orton, but they’ve rebounded with a solid season.
Disappointing Team of the Year Candidates
New York Giants
When the Giants started the season 5-0, we all thought they were THE team to be reckoned with. Offensively, they were great. Defensively, they were great. The team simply had no flaws. But after they dropped a Week 6 game in New Orleans, and gave up 48 points in the process, this team was never the same again. They currently sit at 8-7 as we end the final game of the season, and have no shot at making the playoffs. I picked them to go to the Super Bowl, but now, they don’t even get that chance. BlitzNation’s Khai Gordon sums it up best in her post following the 41-9 beatdown that the Panthers gave them this past week.
The Bears were the talk of the NFL off-season. They traded away their solid quarterback for a Pro Bowl quarterback, and with Jay Cutler at the helm, the sky was the limit for this team. But somewhere, everyone forgot that one player doesn’t make a team. Cutler’s made some horrendous throws this season, but it’s been so much more than that for the Bears. Playcalling has been bad. Defense has been bad. Offensive line has been bad. Receivers are inexperienced. And all these little things have added up to a 6-9 season thus far, though some would say they played their best game this past Monday against the Vikings.
We can go all the way back to January to include the Titans in this discussion. They were the number one seed in the AFC, and there were real feelings in Nashville that this could be the team to win the championship. That didn’t happen though, as they fell to the Ravens, and disappointment spread everywhere. That ending clearly carried over into this season, as they started the year 0-6, including an absolute atrocity when they went to Foxboro, and fell 59-0. The Titans played themselves back into the race, but now they are on the outside looking in. This team expected better.
Call me crazy, but I honestly thought the Seahawks could win the NFC West this year. Not just because it’s a weak division overall, but because I thought they had the offense to do it. But injuries and dysfunction have plagued this team this season, and they have only 5 wins on the year, and will be hard-pressed to get the sixth this week against the Titans. Seattle is 1-6 on the road this season, which pretty much solidifies the fact that this team is not what we thought they were. But hey, at least they retired those hideous green jerseys, right?
It seems like the Jaguars are always in the discussion when it comes to the playoffs, and that’s no different now. But this team is always built around defense, and their defense hasn’t played all that well this season. You would have to think that this team had higher expectations when it came to being a force in the AFC South, but with a 7-8 record, they simply haven’t been all that dangerous. Will it cost Jack Del Rio his job? We’ll see.
And the most disappointing team of the year is…..
No, I didn’t choose them just because I’m a Bears’ fan. People legitimately thought this team could reach a Super Bowl this season. But they’ve been awful at times this year. Not even this Monday’s win against the Vikings is enough to erase the bad season that Bears’ fans have endured this year.
Who are your picks for most surprising and disappointing team of the year?
This post is a part of the BlitzNation 2009 End of the Year Special. You can view our other posts in the special by clicking here!
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