The 2014 NFL season begins this weekend, and it's time for my annual pre-season Super Bowl prediction.

On paper, the two teams that most recently played a meaningful game, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, look like the best teams in football, and should be penciled in as repeat participants in the 2015 big game.

But, wait! Things are never as they seem, so let's take a closer look at the contenders.

In the NFC, Seattle clearly looks like the cream of the crop, and looks like a team capable of repeating as Super Bowl champions. It's difficult to repeat, but with Percy Harvin, one of the most dynamic and exciting playmakers in the game, back and healthy, it's possible that the Seahawks will be even better this year.

There's talk about the Green Bay Packers, who may have a legitimate shot at making it if Aaron Rodgers stays healthy this year. Their division isn't all that strong, and the addition of Julius Peppers makes their defense better.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

New Orleans looks like they may be regaining Super Bowl form with a high-powered offense that can be as productive as any in the league. The question is all about their defense and if it's good enough to get them over the top.

San Francisco has under achieved since their last Super Bowl appearance, and now there are huge questions about quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who needs to return to his earlier form. Otherwise, it could be another disappointing season for 49er fans.

Atlanta will be better, and Philadelphia will win the East, but, neither one stacks up to the Seahawks, as they edge the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship.

In the AFC, all eyes are on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. With upgrades on defense, an even stronger Peyton, and one of the most explosive offenses in all of football, how could the Broncos not be the pick?

It doesn't like we have a lot of serious Super Bowl contenders in the AFC. Indianapolis should get some consideration with Andrew Luck getting better and better.

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

New England is never bad, and with a healthy Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots' offense is a defense's worst nightmare. The last few years have ended in disappointment for Tom Brady, and now, he's running out of time. He is hungry.

San Diego and Kansas City will be improved, and Cincinnati seems to be close, but Denver and New England are still head and shoulders above the rest. This time, it's the Patriots turn to inflict season-ending disappointment. Sorry, Bronco fans. It's just too difficult to get back.

This year, my Super Bowl prediction goes with history, and against it.

It's been more than 40 years since a team lost the Super Bowl and came back to win it the following season.

That's a lot of history not in the Bronco's favor.  In another bit of history, each of the past eight Super Bowl winners have failed to even win a playoff game the following season.

Seattle bucks the odds and breaks the trend this year.

Super Bowl XLIX :    SEATTLE 31  NEW ENGLAND   21


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