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Ranking the best possible Super Bowl 54 matchups for every kind of NFL fan

Do you like touchdowns? How about defense? Here are the best possible Super Bowl 54 matchups, no matter what kind of football you like.

Divisional Round - Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Some football fans love to watch prolific offenses and some like lockdown defenses. And when it comes to the Super Bowl, some hardly even care about the game itself.

No matter why you plan on tuning in to Super Bowl 54, there are exciting matchups that could be in the cards, as well as potentially boring ones.

The Chiefs and Titans will battle in the AFC Championship, while the NFC Championship is a clash between the 49ers and Packers. The winners will meet in Miami on the first weekend of February.

Here are the best possible Super Bowl pairings, no matter what kind of football game floats your boat.

For the “may the best team win” fan

The NFL postseason already spit out the Ravens and the Saints — two of the four teams to win at least 13 games in 2019. But there are still some high-quality football squads left. You want a great game between the best the NFL has to offer? Here’s who to watch:

  1. Chiefs vs. 49ers
  2. Chiefs vs. Packers
  3. Titans vs. 49ers
  4. Titans vs. Packers

Kansas City (12-4) battled through some injuries in the middle of the season, but looks like it once again has an unstoppable offense. San Francisco (13-3) also had some bumps and bruises during the 2019 season. Now that it’s healthy again, it has a nightmarish defense that just beat the Vikings to a pulp.

The 49ers are the most complete team left, boasting the No. 4 offense to go with its No. 2 defense. While the Chiefs aren’t quite as balanced with a 17th-ranked defense, they’re the top seed left in the AFC now that the Ravens are gone and finished just below them at No. 2 in Football Outsiders’ efficiency rankings.

Tennessee is the Cinderella story of the field, entering the playoffs with a 9-7 record. As the No. 6 seed, the Titans wiped out both the defending Super Bowl champions (Patriots) and the No. 1 seed (Ravens). But it’d be disrespectful to the 13-3 Packers to put them in the bottom two spots, even if they have a middle-of-the-pack offense.

For the “bring on the touchdowns” fan

Generally speaking, offense is the people pleaser. High-scoring affairs are usually considered instant classics. If that’s the type of Super Bowl you’re looking for, these are the matchups to want:

  1. Chiefs vs. Packers
  2. Chiefs vs. 49ers
  3. Titans vs. Packers
  4. Titans vs. 49ers

Kansas City is the clear-cut top choice here.

The Chiefs offense — despite being without quarterback Patrick Mahomes and receiver Tyreek Hill for stretches of 2019 — finished the regular season fifth in the NFL in points scored. Kansas City is mostly healthy now and scored 51 points at the drop of a hat against the Texans in the Divisional Round.

Even if they play a defense as good as San Francisco’s, it’d be surprising if the Chiefs couldn’t get in the end zone at least two or three times. They scored at least 23 points in 15 of their 16 regular season games, after all.

It helps a bit too that the Chiefs defense has been suspect and allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per carry. Most Kansas City games turn into a track meet.

In the NFC, the edge goes to the Packers. While the 49ers offense finished the season ranked in the top five in both points and yards, the San Francisco defense is at full strength again. That means you should expect results closer to the 49ers’ 27-10 win over the Vikings rather than a Super Bowl that resembles the 48-46 shootout with the Saints in December.

If you want to see two teams light up the scoreboard, the Mahomes vs. Aaron Rodgers in a “wow that State Farm agent is so annoying” showdown is the way to go.

For the “I want to watch something historic” fan

The Patriots were in each of the last three Super Bowls and two more in the five years before that. On the one hand, it’s been an unprecedented era of dominance in the NFL. On the other hand, it’s so stale. The Titans liberated us from that problem by eliminating New England on Wild Card Weekend. But even without the Patriots, there are still some matchups that would entertain the NFL historian of your Super Bowl party.

  1. Chiefs vs. Packers
  2. Titans vs. Packers
  3. Chiefs vs. 49ers
  4. Titans vs. 49ers

Could there be a more poetic ending to the NFL’s 100th season than a rematch of Super Bowl I? Way back on Jan. 15, 1967, the Packers and Chiefs traveled to Los Angeles for the AFL-NFL World Championship Game (which retroactively renamed Super Bowl I).

Green Bay cruised to a 35-10 win, and then won again a year later when they played the Raiders in Super Bowl II. The Chiefs got their moment in the spotlight by beating the Vikings in Super Bowl IV — and Kansas City hasn’t won another AFC Championship since. If the Chiefs finally make their return to the Super Bowl, it’d be perfect if it were a rematch 53 years in the making.

A Titans-Packers matchup would offer an entirely different type of history, though. Tennessee is the only team left this year that has never won a Super Bowl. It made it to Super Bowl 34, but came up literally just a couple feet short against the Rams.

Green Bay is led by Matt LaFleur, who has a chance to become just the third rookie head coach to ever win a Super Bowl. The only other two to pull off the feat were Don McCafferty with the Colts in 1971 and George Seifert with the 49ers in 1990.

If the Titans and Packers met, each side would be trying to etch their name into the history books: one for their first Super Bowl title, and the other to join the list of coaching wunderkinds.

The 49ers have the opportunity to tie the Steelers and Patriots as the only three teams to win the Super Bowl six times. But aside from the 1993 trade of Joe Montana to Kansas City, there isn’t much history between the 49ers and Chiefs, or the 49ers and Titans.

For the “let’s make this party last” fan

The buffalo wings are ready, the nachos are melted, and it’s time to watch the big game. Maybe you don’t care much about who wins. Maybe you like the commercials, the gathering of family and friends, and an excuse to party in early February. You probably won’t get lucky enough to have a four-hour game like the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship, but here are the teams that could keep the game going a while:

  1. Chiefs vs. Packers
  2. Titans vs. Packers
  3. Chiefs vs. 49ers
  4. Titans vs. 49ers

Passing-heavy offenses and points being put on the scoreboard are the two things that make for a long game. Running the ball and defense can make a game end quickly.

That’s why Tennessee and San Francisco are the worst-case scenarios here. The Titans lean heavily on their Derrick Henry-led rushing attack and are the only team left that hasn’t played in a game longer than three-and-a-half hours in 2019.

The 49ers are even worse. They melt down opposing offenses into mush and recently decided they have no qualms with running the ball a dozen times in a row. San Francisco’s 9-0 win over Washington earlier this season somehow took just two hours and 36 minutes to finish. It was the shortest NFL game in the last decade.

If you want your party to last at least three hours, root for the Chiefs and Packers to survive the conference championships.

For the “defense wins championships” fan

Super Bowl 53 had exactly one touchdown — a 2-yard run for Sony Michel in a 13-3 win for the Patriots. Most people thought it was horribly boring, but some insisted it was actually an incredible game between two well-prepared defenses. For those of you in the latter group, here’s what you should hope for:

  1. Titans vs. 49ers
  2. Titans vs. Packers
  3. Chiefs vs. 49ers
  4. Chiefs vs. Packers

The Tennessee defense really wasn’t that special in 2019. It finished No. 21 in yards allowed and No. 12 in points allowed. However, it’s the Titans’ grinding offensive style that could turn the Super Bowl into a low-scoring contest.

The Titans are relying on Derrick Henry more than ever, and he just became the first player in NFL history to top 180 rushing yards in three consecutive games. All that rushing success also means the Titans can control the tempo of the game and keep opponents off the field. None of the last three teams to play Tennessee (Texans, Patriots, Ravens) managed to score more than 14 points.

If Tennessee faced the 49ers in Super Bowl 54, it’d be the age-old battle of the unstoppable force (Henry) vs. the immovable object (the 49ers defense).

The most important thing for defense lovers: keep the Chiefs out.