NFL fans and analysts are fond of two things at this time of the year: Super Bowl and regular-season predictions. It does not matter how often we are all wrong—increasingly so as the game's balance has narrowed the talent gap between teams to make outcomes more uncertain.
Both groups will also routinely dismiss the regular season. After all, the 2010 Green Bay Packers and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl as sixth seeds.
Still, teams have to survive the regular season to qualify for playoff spots, and there is no doubt playing the games at home is preferable to trying to win on the road. The regular season matters so far as it determines where and against whom teams will play if they want to make it to February.
After that, the team that is playing best will win. That includes either staying healthy or overcoming tremendous injuries as the Packers did in 2010 and the New York Giants did in 2007.
It always takes character to win even a conference title. Teams are being judged on having shown they can rise up in big moments as well as having potential talent that will develop throughout the season.
At the completion of the regular season, I see the following matchups and results from the second season that is for keeps.