Why they won’t: Colin Kaepernick takes a step back on his road to greatness.
Players to watch: Frank Gore remains as explosive as ever and aren’t you excited to see what Anquan Boldin can do?
4. New England Patriots (11-5)
Why they will win: Tom Brady and Chandler Jones.
Why they won’t: Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker. No, seriously. Brady’s weapons arsenal is as depleted as it has ever been.
Players to watch: Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount. This team has to run the football and get back to balance if they are to contend for the big prize.
5. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
Why they will win: Love the work they’ve done to fill in around Aaron Rodgers.
Why they won’t: This defense, built on speed, can’t go on living without becoming more stout.
Players to watch: Definitely like the big additions up front in Datone Jones on defense and David Bakhtiari on offense.
6. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
Why they will win: Count the potential Hall of Famers on offense: Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Steven Jackson to name three.
Why they won’t: You get the feeling Matt Ryan just doesn’t have the stuff to join the aforementioned trio. If he did, they’d be the clear-cut choice to win it all.
Players to watch: Will Jacquizz Rodgers ever live up to the hype and tear this up like the PAC-10?
7. Houston Texans (10-6)
Why they will win: Please see Atlanta Falcons, only insert names Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.
Why they won’t: Matt Schaub is the AFC version of Matt Ryan.
Players to watch: Is there any chance at all that J.J. Watt continues his torrid play at defensive end?
8. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Why they will win: Simply because I fell in love with them watching “Hard Knocks”.