SPORTS

Who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy?

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Matt’s Take:

The Do Not Disturb sign is ready, the cell phone is going on vibrate and the work email will be ignored tomorrow.

I simply cannot be bothered. I’ve waited months upon months for this day and I’m going to park my butt on the couch, stuff my face with pizza and wings and enjoy a carbonated beverage.

It’s kickoff Thursday in the National Football League. And what better way to get the season started than the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks taking on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

I know Andrew is going to be glued to the television. This may just be his Super Bowl, given that he’s a Packers fan.

As a Cleveland Browns fan I don’t really have much room to talk, but nobody expects the Brian Hoyer led Brownies to do much. Gotta love low expectations.

So how does the season play out? Who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy?

The Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots are your division champs in the American Football Conference (AFC), while the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers take the Wild Card slots.

In the National Football Conference, your champs are the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, the Chicago Bears, and the Dallas Cowboys. The Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals are your wild card teams.

Nobody can stop the Broncos and Peyton Manning as they march through the AFC playoffs to the Super Bowl. On the NFC side, Drew Brees and the Saints return to form and setup a rematch between the Saints and Peyton Manning.

And don’t expect a repeat of the Saints victory over Manning. New Orleans has a lot of firepower, but they don’t have enough to beat the Broncos.

Manning will hoist the Lombardi trophy once again, then retire. I’m calling it now.

Andrew’s Take:

We did it! We survived the last Sunday of 2014 without the NFL.

And now the season starts with a “bang.”

Don’t let Thursday night’s game completely determine your championship expectations. The Seattle Seahawks are probably going to beat the Green Bay Packers. There’s also a lot of time between Week 1 and Week 17.

Over those 17 weeks, here’s what I see happening.

In the AFC, things are clear.

The New England Patriots are going to take East, per usual.

The Cincinnati Bengals are going to win the North, of course.

The Indianapolis Colts shouldn’t receive any competition from the rest of the South.

And the Denver Broncos have to win the West.

Andy Reid could coach a bunch of peewees to the NFL playoffs, so the Kansas City Chiefs will take a Wild Card spot. And I’ll say that the Baltimore Ravens will take the last spot because, “Who else is there?”

The NFC has a lot more competition, except in the East. The Philadelphia Eagles are a sure thing.

Some would say that last season’s NFC North had the opposite of competition, considering the division champion Packers finished with only eight wins. But this is a new season. The Packers, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears will all have winning records. This still doesn’t change the fact that Green Bay owns the division.

The South will also see improved win totals across the board, but in very similar fashion, the New Orleans Saints will keep with recent tradition by winning their division, again.

Then there’s the NFC West. Before Sam Bradford’s injury, one could argue that the League’s four best teams are all in the same division. But now the Saint Louis Rams are toast. That means the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals will all make the playoffs.

For the sake of word count, I’ll fast forward from the Wild Card round to the Super Bowl. I’ve got the Packers and the Broncos, with superior D (Green Bay) prevailing.