Yes, your football calendar is set. Now it's time to mark the most highly anticipated date. Which game are you looking forward to the most?
I've witnessed these two teams locking horns three times in Seattle since 2012, beginning with the Fail Mary game that led to my becoming a meme ( you can Google it), and I've watched the Packers walk away crestfallen on each occasion. Last January, with Aaron Rodgers hobbled by a painful calf injury, I was blown away by the Packers' collective excellence, execution and resolve during the game's first 55 minutes. Then, while standing on the Green Bay sideline, I had an up-close-and-personal view of an epic implosion, as Mike McCarthy's team melted down and squandered a Super Bowl trip. I live with a pair of Packers fans (my sons), so I know how desperate they are to wash away the stain of Brandon Bostick's unconscionable onside-kick misplay, Morgan Burnett's "No Mas" interception-return slide, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix's cement-footed two-point-conversion stare and the rest of the debacle, if only for one night.
I have a feeling these two teams will meet again in the 2015 postseason, so this contest might have a lot to do with determining where THAT rematch is played.
It's no accident that game is scheduled for that Sunday night -- it will probably go up against Game 5 of the World Series. And it should be an epic, with arguably the best quarterback in the game today (in the middle of his prime) facing one of the greatest of all time (as he nears the end). Oh, and here's a random note: Peyton Manning could be on pace to break Brett Favre's all-time passing-yardage record in that game. A nice bit of symmetry there.
Perhaps most critically, this game will give each team a good barometer for how it will match up against the other conference's elite as the focus on the playoffs starts to build.
Patriots at Cowboys is the best matchup on the 2015 sked. These two clubs rarely meet (once every four years), feature an outstanding quarterback matchup of contrasting styles and are the two most hated organizations in the league (for whatever reason).
But wait! There's more ...
[Aaron Rodgers](/player/aaronrodgers/2506363/profile) is going to be so sick of the Favre hoopla that he's going to shred the [Bears](/teams/chicagobears/profile?team=CHI)' D for 500 yards and five touchdowns. Gonna have to fend off the food coma until after this one!
Lambeau Field can be a tough place to play, and
Aaron Rodgers should be fully healthy this time. It's still early, of course, but I like the
Packers to get some revenge at home.
Finally, as reigning
Super Bowl champ, New England is obviously the team to beat in the AFC. The
Broncos thought they were going back to the
Super Bowl, but they had a very disappointing end to last season. Consequently, John Elway brought in a new coaching staff. This is the team Elway and Co. made those changes to beat. Can they do it?
We have rarely seen NFL quarterbacks with the size, arm strength and running ability of these two. It's as if Randall Cunningham was drafted No. 1 overall, and then a better version of him went No. 1 overall the next season. Luck is ahead of Newton in his NFL progress overall, but it would not surprise me if Newton takes a big step in his fifth season. We might only get this matchup every four years, so it's one to savor.