Super Bowl shuffle

Kyle Riviere
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere.

College football kicked off last weekend, but this week, it's the NFL's turn to make a grand entrance.

So, who will be in the Super Bowl this year?

Like every season, it's tough to say this early. Free agency and preseason injuries have changed the landscape of many franchises.

However, I'm going to do my best to pick two frontrunners here in this column.

The AFC should be quite the spectacle.

The Patriots bring back virtually their entire offense, and Tom Brady is chomping at the bit to make a statement after all of this ridiculous "Deflategate" hoopla followed him around all offseason.

They bring back a formidable front seven, but they lost three important pieces from their championship team.

Losing Vince Wilfork at nosegaurd will hurt them against the run, and losing both Derrelle Revis and Brandon Browner will be two huge blows to their secondary.

Even losing Haloti Ngata in the middle, the Ravens should still have a tough front.

They'll run the ball well, but they lack weapons through the air. Steve Smith is really their only proven receiver.

The Bengals have tons of talent, but as long as Andy Dalton is their quarterback, I just can't take them seriously as a title contender.

Even though Peyton Manning struggled at the end of last season, let's not get overanxious here. He's still one of the top quarterbacks in the league.

He'll have a solid run game to rely on and two good targets to throw to in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.

The Broncos will once again bring back a solid defense--which should make them one of the top teams in the league.

But I think the team that beat them in last year's playoffs are set to have a breakout season.

I'm going to go out on a limb and pick the Colts as the AFC champion in 2015-16.

Ever since Andrew Luck has arrived, Indianapolis has progressed each year.

In his first season, they reached the second round of the playoffs.

Last season, they made it to the AFC Championship Game. This is the year they get over the hump.

I think Luck will continue to improve at quarterback as he throws to a bevy of weapons in T.Y. Hilton, new addition Andre Johnson, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.

The running game should be improved with the addition of Frank Gore.

I still have my reservations about their defense, but I think their offense is good enough to outscore teams when the defense is struggling.

As for the NFC, many have jumped on the Cowboys bandwagon after their great 2014-15. I'm not one of them.

I think DeMarco Murray was their MVP last season, and he's gone. They're left with Darren McFadden as their running back, and he often gets injured on his way to pick up the mail.

Top cornerback Orlando Scandrick will miss the season with a torn ACL, and I still don't trust Tony Romo in clutch situations.

I was high on the Packers until top receiver Jordy Nelson was lost for the season with the dreaded ACL tear.

With that injury, the Lions now look to be the favorites in the division.

They should score a ton of points, and their front will be nasty with the addition of Ngata on the defensive line, but their secondary is a huge concern.

The Eagles have weapons everywhere. With the addition of Murray and with Chip Kelly calling the plays, they'll probably score the most points in the league.

Their front seven is stout, but their secondary will be their Achilles heel.

Also, quarterback Sam Bradford can be great if he stays healthy, but that's something he hasn't been able to do since his sophomore season at Oklahoma.

That's why I have to go with the Seahawks as the representative of the NFC.

Once again, they return the most proven and complete team.

Russell Wilson is back at QB, along with running back Marshawn Lynch. Oh yeah, they now have arguably the best tight end in the league in Jimmy Graham (still can't believe the Saints let this guy go).

Virtually everyone returns from the best defense in the league. Yes, that includes the "Legion of Boom."

And keep an eye on rookie Tyler Lockett. I think this guy will have a huge year as a returner on special teams and as a deep threat in the passing game. I watched too many Kansas State games to not think he'll contribute.

I think the Seahawks will be extremely motivated after being just one excruciating yard away from a title last year.

Defense will once again be the key as they take home another Lombardi Trophy.