Twenty-four teams have taken a well-deserved dirt nap.
We're close enough to Super Bowl LIII to conjure up fantastical images of fill-in-the-blank player lifting the Lombardi in awe as pounds of confetti flitter down from a previously designated storage space atop Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Who will be there in the end? The answer is painful for those of you who spent the past five months scrapbooking and dream-journaling over a hopeful Bengals-Buccaneers championship tilt -- but plenty of possible power pairings remain.
Below is my list (deal with it) of the matchups I'm hoping for most:
7) Cowboys vs. Patriots
I'd quickly be traded to Horse & Hound by NFL.com if I refused to include the Cowboys in one of these scenarios, so here we go. This tiff between Tom Brady and the well-paid henchmen of Jerry Jones would turn an already raucous Super Bowl Week into a calamitous gaggle of media types shoving boom mics and GoPros into the face of every living organism capable of making a comment about the game. It would mark a long-awaited return to Super Sunday for the 'Boys, who -- despite being propped up on national television five times a year no matter what type of stench rises from the organization -- haven't lifted the Lombardi since a pre-Lewinsky Bill Clinton roamed the White House.
6) Chiefs vs. Saints
I'll keep solving league bugaboos; you keep reading.
5) Chargers vs. Rams
The (in theory) battle for Los Angeles. I remain unconvinced the league needs two teams in Hollywood -- much less one psychically linked to a painful exodus from nearby San Diego -- but this matchup would go a long way toward both clubs growing deep roots in a city doused in beyond-the-gridiron distractions. We'd be treated to a bustling week of fawning reporters quote-tweeting Sean McVay's ability to name-drop six to seven Chargers players from memory, but the real gift would be Philip Rivers slaying a flock of gridiron ghosts.
4) Chiefs vs. Rams
Let's circle back to the 32-year-old McVay, who is far more than a brainy sound bite. Operating as one of the NFL's most inventive architects of offensive strategy, the Rams coach is an ideal foil for Andy Reid, who was 27 years old when McVay arrived on Earth. After watching the Chargers flip the script with a victorious romp over the Ravens in a rematch of a Week 16 loss to Baltimore, I'd be down with these two squads reprising their Monday night epic -- a 54-51 Rams win -- to see how the defenses would adjust. That game gave birth to a zillion hot-take think-pieces telling us that football no longer needed nose guards, linebackers or cornerbacks -- but try whistling that nonsense to Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips after not a single team allowed 25 points on Wild Card Weekend. My one concern: How could it possibly top their first affair?
3) Colts vs. Saints
Peyton Manning can't make up for his game-ending gaffe in the Colts' loss to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV, but Andrew Luck exacting revenge for Indianapolis would go a long way toward erasing that bitter memory. Playing as well as any team in the AFC, Indy dives into Saturday's tilt with Kansas City as a raging headache to deal with and one of the finest-coached teams league-wide under Frank Reich. After a year-plus of tracking breathless reports about Luck's possibly doomed throwing shoulder, a trip to the Super Bowl by the quarterback would serve as one of the finest comeback tales in pro football lore.
2) Chiefs vs. Eagles
How long must Reid wait to enter the Promised Land? Seen league-wide as a godfather-type of the coaching set -- one whose branches spread wide -- Reid is a likable, creative, ever-evolving wizard who just watched two of his prized pupils, Chicago's Matt Nagy and Philly's Doug Pederson, match wits in the wild-card round. More than just a student-vs.-teacher showdown, a Reid-Pederson tussle would simultaneously pit the Eagles against the coach they willingly parted ways with after the 2012 season. Dripping with juicy storylines and career-defining stakes, this has the makings of an ultra-classic.