clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

All 16 potential Super Bowl matchups ranked from best to worst

We’ve all had about enough of the Patriots, right?

NFL: Super Bowl XLIX-New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL postseason is upon us, and that means we’re just a little closer to what each of these teams has been playing for all season — the Super Bowl.

As fans, this is something we all look toward from the moment the previous Super Bowl ends. It’s the highlight of each long, cold winter. The Super Bowl is essentially our most American holiday, and throughout the season we long for it all: the fanfare, the spectacle, halftime show, the commercials, the two best teams in the NFL clashing on the biggest stage.

Now that Wild Card Weekend is behind us and the teams and seedings for the Divisional round are set, and we at least have a clearer idea of what teams may be facing off against each other in Super Bowl LI.

Eight teams remain, giving us only 16 possible matchups for Feb. 5. We might disagree about which two teams would give us the best game — like all rankings, they are purely subjective, though I think most of us would love to avoid a repeat of last year’s lopsided contest between the Panthers and Broncos, which was pretty much over the second Von Miller took the field.

So you may have a different perspective on which matchups are the best and the worst, and that’s fine! But my matchup rankings are as follows.

The matchups, ranked:

1. Texans vs. Falcons - Two words: fresh blood. These are the only two teams in the Divisional round that haven’t won a Super Bowl, and with nine playoff appearances between them over the past eight seasons, it’s past time they both got a shot at the Lombardi Trophy.

Atlanta’s defense would look a bit more effective against a Brock Osweiler-led offense, and the Texans’ No. 1 defense would have its work cut out for it vs. Matt Ryan and company. We’d see if defense really does win championships.

2. Texans vs. Cowboys - The battle for Texas, in Texas! The Texans boasted the top defense during the regular season, and would present a real challenge for Dallas’ rookie offensive stars, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

3. Chiefs vs. Packers - The Packers offense is firing on all cylinders right now and would be fun to watch against the ball-hawking Chiefs. Kansas City finished the regular season tied for first in the league with 18 interceptions, with four returned for touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 10.

4. Cowboys vs. Chiefs - A dynamic Cowboys offense and a stout offensive line facing off against an aggressive and opportunistic Chiefs defense would make for an entertaining Super Bowl. It’d also follow in the six-month tradition of “C” teams winning championships (Cavs, Cubs, Clemson).

5. Falcons vs. Chiefs - The Falcons offense matches up well with the Chiefs defense, as was evidenced by a thrilling regular season game between these two teams. It came right down to the wire, and the Chiefs won on a late-game pick-two from safety Eric Berry.

6. Steelers vs. Falcons - Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, with their big-play potential, are a problematic matchup for the Falcons defense. Atlanta’s explosive offense would find a true test against a Steelers defense that might actually be able to keep the Falcons in check.

7. Steelers vs. Packers - With the way Aaron Rodgers is playing, and the relative mismatch of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown against the Green Bay defense, this would be a high-scoring, high-excitement game.

8. Steelers vs. Cowboys - Look, both of these teams have been to plenty of Super Bowls, and both teams have won their fair share. If I wanted to get all nostalgic about the 1970s, I’d wear bell bottoms or something. Begrudgingly, I admit this would probably be a decent game, though.

9. Texans vs. Packers - After a slow start against the Giants, Green Bay made quick work of the vaunted Giants defense. Considering how unstoppable Rodgers and the Packers offense have looked, they may be able to do the same against the Texans defense.

10. Chiefs vs. Seahawks - Kansas City and Seattle both have two teams with tough defenses. Defense wins championships, but a defensive battle means a low-scoring game, and probably a less interesting one.

11. Steelers vs. Seahawks - The Seahawks generally make for the least-exciting NFC Super Bowl prospect against any of the AFC teams with strong defenses. Nobody wants to see Ben Roethlisberger win a third Super Bowl ring in a 13-10 finish over the Seahawks.

12. Cowboys vs. Patriots - America’s Team vs. the contemporary perennial Super Bowl favorites? Regardless of what my esteemed colleague Charlotte Wilder thinks about it, this is like the plot of a cheesy sports movie. No, thank you.

13 & 14. Falcons or Packers vs. Patriots - Tom Brady has more Super Bowl starts than any other player in NFL history with six. The Patriots have won four of those. Enough already. Let some other teams have a shot.

15. Seahawks vs. Patriots - Yeah, their first Super Bowl matchup was a classic, but been there and done that. Heck, we already watched this game once earlier this season. Richard Sherman still gets mad every time the Seahawks call a passing play from the 1-yard line, and although I understand, I don’t need to see that again.

16. Texans vs. Seahawks - Between the “magic” of Brock Osweiler and the weakness along the Seahawks offensive line, this one might be the worst potential matchup of all.