DOUBLE TAKE: How does the NFL season play out?

MATT ALGARIN and ANDREW METZ
Matt Algarin and Andrew Metz

Matt’s Take:

So both of my fantasy football drafts have wrapped up, and as I type this I’m killing the next five hours until The Ohio State Buckeyes begin their title defense against the only team to beat them last year, Virginia Tech.

It’s a work holiday, which means I was only in the office until 1 p.m. With the U.S. Open on the tube, I can turn my attention to the upcoming NFL season.

When I start thinking about legitimate Super Bowl contenders, there’s not too many to choose from. The obvious choices are the New England Patriots (defending champions), Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts.

Here’s how the divisions/wildcards play out in the AFC. North: Cincinnati Bengals; South: Indianapolis Colts; East: New England Patriots; West: Denver Broncos. Kansas City and San Diego take the wildcard spots.

Here’s the NFC. North: Green Bay Packers; South: Carolina Panthers; East: Dallas Cowboys; Seattle Seahawks. The Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions take the two wildcard slots.

In the AFC Championship Game, the Colts will finally make good on their potential and beat the Patriots. In the NFC Championship, the Packers are going to slip past the Seahawks, who were looking to reach the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season.

Aaron Rodgers, even without top target Jordy Nelson, is just too good. We all know Green Bay should have beat Seattle last year.

How many people would be excited for an Andrew Luck/Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl? The simple answer is plenty. This matchup has all the makings of great ratings.

It’s safe to say we can hand a second Lombardi Trophy to Rodgers, who last hoist the trophy in 2011. Rodgers takes home MVP honors as well.

Andrew’s Take:

Football fans can be so cute.

There’s a certain amount of delusion that comes along with dedicated fandom. Here we are, on the eve of Week 1, and there are fans of all 32 NFL franchises that believe that “this is the year.”

How do you politely explain to non-Green Bay NFC North fans that their team has no chance? That, obviously, could be my own personal delusion talking, but I also need to be proven wrong.

I know the Packers haven’t won it all since 2011, but when it comes to the NFC North, superiority is clear.

I was put in such a situation last weekend. While making small talk with a new acquaintance, it was revealed that this conversational counterpart is from Minnesota, and thinks the Vikings “could take the North.”

Don’t worry, I played it cool. I lied when I said, “Yeah man, Teddy Bridgewater could surprise everyone.”

Because that’s not going to happen. I shouldn’t even waste your time with anything more than an NFC Conference Championship prediction, but I’ll humor you. The Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and whatever NFC South team stinks the least are all going to the playoffs. But the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers will each receive a first round bye and a rematch in the Conference Championship. Then the Packers will get their revenge.

The name of the game is the same in the AFC.

I don’t know that the Indianapolis Colts will get their revenge on the New England Patriots, but they will win the AFC none-the-less.

Other playoff teams will include the Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburg Steelers and Denver Broncos.

In the big one, Super Bowl 50, Aaron Rodgers will stop sharing the top-tier quarterback category, as he eliminates Andrew Luck from the conversation.