No. 5: Will Matt Ryan get his happy ending? Most general managers in the NFL would probably swap their roster with the Colts. Indianapolis has had one of the most balanced and well-built teams for three seasons. But the QB solution has eluded them, and Matty Ice provides yet another hope that this season might be different. Philip Rivers was too scattershot in the playoffs. Carson Wentz was too passive during last year's ill-fated campaign. This year, a former league MVP senses his last great chance at a Super Bowl ring. Ryan has been vocal at Colts camp, and comfortable taking on a leadership role. If he completes this season with a Lombardi Trophy, it'll be one of the greatest happy endings in NFL history. It can happen, too, since Indianapolis may not have the aerial firepower, but they have just about everything else.
No. 4: Will Trey Lance make the 49ers look smart? This 49ers have made a bet that a raw, unpolished FCS signal-caller is an upgrade over a veteran, experienced one. Lance (North Dakota St.) takes over for Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois), although Jimmy G is still on the roster. If Lance can create more big plays with his powerful arm and dynamic legs, the 49ers can be even better than last year. And last season, they held a 17-7 lead in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game. But leads were swaddled like a cranky infant under Garoppolo, since his arm was always a liability. So if Lance falters, the 49ers brass implodes their own championship potential.
No. 3: Can the Cowboys resist the drama? "Big D" often stands for "Big Drama" in Dallas, as soap opera storylines are always stuck to the bottom of Jerry Jones' shoe. The owner will never fail to place unneeded pressure on his coaching staff, and Mike McCarthy is already under the heat lamp. The spectre of Sean Payton floats above AT&T Stadium, as Dallas gets set for another year as one of the most talented teams in the NFL. But something always craters, and once again, there are inklings of discomfort in Dallas. If the Cowboys can avoid their self-created melodrama, it could be a playoff season. But this always seems unlikely in Dallas.
No. 2: Can Aaron Rodgers create a new superstar? Davante Adams is gone, so now it's up to Rodgers to do more with less. Randall Cobb is the old reliable, but he's no gamebreaker anymore. Allen Lazard is a familiar face, but can he become a top target for the Packers? There's Sammy Watkins, Romeo Doubs, and Christian Watson. Can Rodgers make any of them that new deep threat? One of the most talented QB's ever has made household names out of plenty of wideouts, and he'll have to pull his trick once more if the Packers are going to win a ring.
No. 1: Can the Bills finally deliver happiness? There's only pain and suffering in the lives of Buffalo sports fans. The Bills have "Wide Right," the "Music City Miracle," and now the "Coin Toss." None of them, as we know, ended with a Bills celebration. But this season may be different -- in fact, plenty of experts are predicting it'll be. Buffalo has the most talented roster in the NFL, with a bona fide superstar under center in Josh Allen. The party in Western New York will be an all-timer if they win a Super Bowl. And judging from their opening night performance, the Bills are ready to make it happen.