Just to add, darkhorse in the NFC would be Green Bay, if they survive next week against a struggling Detroit team, Aaron Rodgers comes back, and they're a team that can get really hot. I'd actually have them over SF, I don't think SF is going anywhere this year until Kaepernick gets his poo together, which I'm not even sure he'll ever be the QB people thought he was. I'd say NFC's most likely team is Seattle, followed by Taints/Panthers almost dead even, and GB as the #4 as a darkhorse. In the AFC, it's a 2 team race, and if anyone outside of NE or Denver make the superbowl, I'll be shocked.
My initial thought to this is that the Packers don't have enough defense to hang. If you look at the NFC candidates, they are all ranked top 5 in scoring defense:
1. Car - 13.7ppg
2. Sea - 16.3ppg
4. SF - 16.7ppg
5. NO - 17.8ppg
18. GB - 24.1ppg, a full TD more/game than the other 4 and 10ppg more than us.
However, when you look at the AFC candidates, which we all seem to agree is a two horse race, they are:
9. NE - 20.9ppg
26(!) Den - 26.3ppg - tied with the Texans
We've thought of Denver as having an elite D this year (because we listen to the media too much), but here they sit at the bottom of the league in scoring D. They've given up 10 rushing TDs and an astounding 21 passing TDs (we've given up 12 TDs total).
While I initially wouldn't have thought that GB was legit based on their D, they are in better shape then Denver in that category. The Pats at least seem to be somewhat balanced with the #9 D, but Denver is clearly winning shoot outs every game (when Denver faced decent D (twice, KC and NE) they still put up 30pts). Not quite what one would expect from Foxball, eh? If Rodgers can get the GB offense back up to the 30ppg category, then I agree, they have to be put back into the discussion. NFC is stacked!