There are going to be some absolute humdinger games these finals, but really the fate of the flag rests on whoever wins the 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 games.
Not much separated Carlton last year from WCE who were fourth, and the semi-final over in Perth between the two was an absolute cracker, and knocked the stuffing out of the Eagles. Compare that to Hawthorn, who played the Swans (who along with St Kilda and Essendon, were another level below WCE and Carlton, who themselves were a level below the top 3 again), and the effort they put up in the Prelim compared to WCE, where they probably should have beaten Collingwood.
There's going to be some ripping games throughout, but it's going to favour the winners of that first week enormously. Tough to see them not making the GF, whoever it is.