The New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl.



What, nine words isn’t a long enough column? Why not? Those nine words are all I really need to say.

You want more explanation?

Fine. But just remember those nine words on Feb. 4. They’re really all that matters. Everything that follows just accounts for what will be filler between Thursday’s opener and that coronation 10 days before Valentine’s Day.

So, what makes me think the Patriots are going to win?

1) The greatest quarterback of all time.

2) The greatest coach of all time.

3) The franchise’s complete commitment to getting their 40-year-old quarterback and 65-year-old coach yet another Lombardi Trophy before they exit the team facility for the last time, destination, Canton, Ohio.

In free agency and via trades, the New England brass pushed all in during the offseason. They traded for Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen to replace the departing Martellus Bennett, keeping a potent one-two tight end punch intact with Rob Gronkowski and Allen. They traded a first-round draft pick for receiver Brandin Cooks, giving Tom Brady a real weapon on the outside for the first time in years. And they signed the best available free agent cornerback in Stephon Gilmore.

Sure, Julian Edelman is out for the year. But the Patriots won the championship last season without Gronkowski. Enough said.

Beyond that, there are only two AFC teams I can see beating New England in the playoffs. They are the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders, in that order.

Those are my first three playoff teams in the conference. Let’s look at the rest.

I like Tennessee to win the other division. Andrew Luck will not start in week one, signaling that this may be another ugly year for the Indianapolis Colts. Houston still doesn’t have a quarterback and Jacksonville is, well, Jacksonville. The AFC South is the Titans’ for the taking.

Cincinnati underachieved last year and is due for a bounce back to claim a wild card spot. I’ll give the other wild card to Kansas City, reluctantly.

The easy picks in the NFC are Seattle and Green Bay to win their divisions. Both teams will be fine as long as their running games manage to hold up.

I’ve been on the Arizona bandwagon for a while, so I’ll stay there and put the Cardinals in the playoffs as a wild card.

That leaves three teams to come out of the NFC South and East divisions, which are tougher to figure out. I’ll take Dallas to remain atop the NFC East despite the Ezekiel Elliott suspension and go with Carolina to bounce back from a rough 2016 season to reclaim the NFC South title. And even though I’m not fond of Atlanta and think it will be difficult for the Falcons to find their way back after that Super Bowl fiasco, I’ll pick them for the other wild card.

My AFC playoff predictions are no mystery, as I have New England topping Tennessee and Pittsburgh taking out Oakland in the divisional round after Kansas City and Cincinnati are eliminated in the wild card round. The Patriots will then knock off the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

In the NFC, Atlanta and Arizona will go out in the wild card round, leaving Seattle to beat Carolina and Dallas to avenge last season’s loss to Green Bay in the divisional round. The Cowboys, however, will not be able to overcome a Seahawks squad that knows how to get the job done in the postseason.

That will set up a rematch of the 2015 Super Bowl, in which Malcolm Butler’s goal-line interception bailed out the Patriots just as it seemed Seattle was headed into the end zone for the winning score.

This time, it won’t come down to the final play. Brady and Belichick will etch their names deeper into the NFL record books with a convincing double-digit win.

This season, really, when it comes down to it, is simple.

The New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl.