Which team from 2008, that did not make the playoffs, have the best chance of going in 2009?
Right off the bat I would guess that the New England Patriots have the best chance, since Tom Brady is healthy. And the rest of the team is stacked.
But New England would probably be most people’s guess as to who will return to the playoffs after not making it last year. But what other team has the best chance?
Some might guess the Cincinnati Bengals might have a shot, since Carson Palmer is back, but they question is: Will he return to his old form? And what about the Bengals defense, which ranked in the bottom half of the league defense last year?
Another team to consider is the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers has a season of starts under his belt and should improve. I also think that new defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, will help the young defensive improve.
It will be interesting to see how fast the defense transitions into the new 3-4 defense.
All of these teams are worthy and have a legitimate shot at the playoffs, but I think the New Orleans Saints have the best chance. The reason I think this can be summed up in two words.
Brees, if he stays healthy, will throw for well over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Look for the Saints to be scoring plenty of points once again this season.
The key to them making the playoffs lies in two areas: The defense and Reggie Bush.
The defense, especially the secondary, must improve. The team hopes that their first round draft pick, Malcolm Jenkins, will help improve the shaky secondary that has allowed 67 pass plays of 25 yards or more over the past two seasons.
The Saints front four did not play too well last year either and defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant are suspended the first four games, so it won’t be easy.
Offensively, Reggie Bush has to stay healthy this year if the Saints want to make it to the playoffs and go deep. His return game and running game is a nice complement to their explosive passing game. Not to mention Bush’s receiving ability.
In order to win in the tough NFC South, the Saints must do all of these things. And I believe they will and this is why they have the best shot, besides the patriots, to make a return to the playoffs after not making it last year.