Jamaal Anderson Proving The Critics Wrong
Anderson is a borderline bust at this point, being a top-10 pick in 2007 and having a less-than-stellar first 2 years in the NFL. He improved quite a bit in 2008, especially against the run and has a chance to play a lot better in 2009. Some yelled for him to be converted to defensive tackle, but it’s still premature to want something that extreme. With additional help on the defensive line this year (remember that Atlanta didn’t address the defense at all last off-season, the 1st in the Dimitroff/Smith Era) from Jerry and Sidbury, Anderson should improve another couple notches in 2009.
Back-to-Back Winning Seasons…Finally
Atlanta still hasn’t achieved two seasons in row over .500 – that’s a good first step to try and break before anything else in 2009. Through all the optimism and speculation about 2009 and beyond, there’s a big difference between Atlanta and what the Colts have done with Peyton Manning at the helm this decade. At the end of the day, I think they get it done with 10 wins.
The Super Bowl
With my prediction of 10 wins in the last fan speculation, that means I believe their tough schedule will be a real obstacle in 2009. That doesn’t mean they cannot advance in the post-season. The NFC has become a place that’s very competitive and a wild-card team has only a slightly less chance to get to the big dance than the #1 or #2 seed. Philadephia scraped into the 2008 playoffs and advanced all the way to the championship game. Arizona won 9 games and advanced to the Super Bowl. This isn’t the 1990s where you need to win 13 games to represnet the conference in the Super Bowl.