Hope springs eternal at this time of year in the NFL.
Every team is 0-0 and thoughts of the Lombardi trophy are dancing through their heads.
Yet this season has a different feel.
With the lengthy lockout that robbed teams of offseason OTAs and chemistry-building workout sessions, the parity in the NFL is not as strong as in the previous half decade.
Teams that have a strong foundation at QB and head coach are at a distinct advantage over teams with new coaches and new QBs.
That means teams like the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts are at a much higher advantage than teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers.
But there are still around 15 teams in the middle of the pack that are more than capable of making the postseason.
Can the Houston Texans finally get over the hump and reach the postseason for the first time in franchise history? Can the Detroit Lions finally rid themselves of the awful memories of the last decade? Will a team like the Buffalo Bills or Oakland Raiders maximize its young talent and shock the world?
We'll provide you with all of the latest bold protections involving Super Bowl contenders, sleepers, pretenders and individual awards as we approach the highly anticipated start of the season.