Here are the 11 best possible Super Bowl LVII matchups

Here are the 11 best possible Super Bowl LVII matchups

You know the ratings will be there if Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, or the Dallas Cowboys make the big game

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The NFL postseason is upon us, and as usual, anything can happen when it’s, win or go home. This year’s AFC field feels like a three-team race, while the NFC looks pretty open. Some teams don’t have a great shot, but it’s always fun to play matchmaker and look at the most exciting potential Super Bowl matchups.

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11. Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings

11. Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings

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Only two teams in NFL history are 0-4 in Super Bowls. After this matchup, there would only be one. The Bulls suffered the biggest heartbreak four years in a row, to open the 1990s by losing all their Super Bowl appearances consecutively. Bills fans still have nightmares of missed field goals — WIDE RIGHT! — and blowouts to this day. Minnesota lost their four Super Bowls between 1969 and ’76. That was long before half the fan base was alive, but it still hurts longtime followers.

Josh Allen vs. Kirk Cousins isn’t the sexiest big stage game on name value, but the narrative around this game would make it an exciting event. And anytime we can watch Stefon Diggs on the same field with the guy who replaced him in Justin Jefferson, everybody wins. These teams played in November, and it was a shootout that went into overtime, with the Vikings grasping victory on the road, 33-30.

Diggs and Jefferson combined for 22 catches, 321 receiving yards, and the latter scoring once. Allen or Cousins weren’t super efficient in this game, throwing two picks apiece, but they did combine to pass for nearly 700 yards. This wouldn’t be the highest-rated Super Bowl ever, but it wouldn’t be anything less than riveting.

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10. Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings

10. Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings

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This is probably the most unlikely Super Bowl matchup on this list, but it is fun to daydream about. Here’s a game that would feature arguably the most exciting wide receiver in football against the newly crowned best wideout in the game. Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson (pictured) would be the primary draw for this game, and it isn’t even close.

Even the most hardcore old-school football fan would be rooting for a pass play on every down with Hill and Jefferson on the field. But with Miami’s quarterback situation in flux and a Kirk Cousins problem in Minnesota, the odds of these teams meeting for all the marbles are nearly impossible. They did face off in Week 6 and the two super wideouts combined for 18 catches and 284 receiving yards but no touchdowns. In a rematch on the biggest stage, you’d imagine each guy would find his way into the endzone at least once.

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9. Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals

9. Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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A Bengals-Vikings Super Bowl would highlight the two best receivers under the age of 25 — Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase (pictured). Cincinnati made it to the big game last year, so it’s no longer inconceivable to think the Bengals could do the unimaginable. On the other hand, Minnesota would need to catch a couple of big breaks, but with the NFC being more open than the AFC, it isn’t an impossible task.

The last time these teams played was in Week 1 of the 2021 season, and the Bengals came out on top 27-24 in overtime. Chase and Jefferson snagged five receptions apiece in that game, and Ja’Marr added a TD. Most people would take the Bengals if this were the matchup based largely on Joe Burrow over Kirk Cousins. It would likely be an exciting game, although it would struggle to capture the casual fan.

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8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Buffalo Bills

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Buffalo Bills

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The only reason Tampa Bay is even getting consideration to make a Super Bowl run is because of Tom Brady (pictured). Many people expect Brady’s magic to guide the Bucs past the Cowboys in the Wild Card round, even after a disappointing 8-9 campaign. Similar to the Vikings, Tampa would need to get some breaks and be able to capitalize on them, but it is within the realm of possibility that it could happen.

Beat Dallas, then, if San Francisco and Minnesota win their first-round games, Tampa would travel to Philadelphia for the divisional round. Jalen Hurts would still be recovering from a shoulder injury and would have gone about a month by the point since he had a good performance. Hurts missed Weeks 16 and 17 and didn’t look great in the Eagles’ last game of the season. That could be all the opening needed for Brady’s Bucs to complete the upset. It’s a long shot, but stranger things have happened.

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7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

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A recent Super Bowl rematch would be on the table in this one, and you know Patrick Mahomes (pictured) and crew would be ready to exact a little revenge from that 31-9 beating they suffered at the hands of Brady and the Bucs. Kansas City had no answers for Tampa Bay in that game, but things would probably be different this time. The Bucs are nowhere near the same team they were in Super Bowl LV, and it would very likely be a blowout in the Chiefs’ favor. It took Brady all season to get on the same page with his receivers, while Mahomes never missed a beat, even without Tyrek Hill as a deep threat.

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6. Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys

6. Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys

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Neither team has played in a Super Bowl since the 1990s, and the last two times Buffalo made it that far — Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII — they were vanquished by Dallas. As good as those Bills teams were, they were no match for Jimmy Johnson’s Cowboys led by the triplets (Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith).

Well, those guys aren’t walking through the doors in Dallas anytime soon. These Cowboys won’t make it that far, but if they did somehow and ran into the Bills, they’d get the breaks beat of them without a doubt. At the QB position alone, Dallas can’t nearly match what Josh Allen gives Buffalo. The Cowboys might keep it exciting but would fall short like they usually do in big games.

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5. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Buffalo Bills

5. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Buffalo Bills

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Two of the brightest young stars in the league, Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts, would headline this game, but it would also feature two of the NFL’s best defenses. Both teams ranked top six in total yards allowed and top eight in points.

This would be an exciting game with two QBs that can get it done through the air and on the ground. Hurts and Allen were in the MVP race for most of the year, and at one point, you could’ve given it to either, although Mahomes is likely to beat them out. The most significant edge on defense would be turnover differential. The Eagles ended the year at +13, while the Bills finished at zero. This feels like a game that would come down to whichever offense makes the most mistakes.

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4. Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles

4. Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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Everything about this game sounds like fun. Lamar Jackson (pictured), Jalen Hurts, two hard-hitting defenses — it doesn’t get much better. Of course, both players will need to be healthy, and since they haven’t been lately, it’s hard to imagine this game happening this year. This one is a fantasy matchup, and it would likely look like a video game despite the defenses.

Everyone would expect a high-scoring game, and we’d probably get that in the first-ever Super Bowl matchup of two Black QBs. Multiple Black QBs have made it to the big dance, and three have won it — Doug Williams, Russell Wilson, and Patrick Mahomes. But we’ve never had two Black signal-callers square off against each other in the big game. Even if it doesn’t happen this year, it could happen very soon.

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3. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys

3. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys

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Chiefs-Cowboys would be the highest-rated Super Bowl game of the last 50 years. You can put money on that. The Cowboys are a favorite seemingly every year, although they haven’t come close in over a quarter-century. The Cowboys’ brand against Patrick Mahomes in the biggest game of the year would do an astronomical rating.

It’s too bad one side will make this dream matchup extremely unlikely. Nothing about the Cowboys says they’re ready to go all the way, and the Chiefs have a tall order with the Chiefs and Bills in the AFC. We already know both teams can defeat Kansas City, so it’s not a lock for the Chiefs to get there anyway.

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2. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles

2. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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Another pairing that would feature Black QBs facing off for the first time in a Super Bowl would pit Hurts against Mahomes. KC’s defense isn’t much to write home about, but their offense is rarely tamed. The Chiefs will yield yards and points, but you’ve got to outscore them, which has proven challenging since Mahomes entered the league.

The Chiefs led the NFL in points per game (29.2), while Philly finished third (28.1). On defense, the Chiefs finished with a turnover differential of -3 and the Eagles -8. Kansas City’s has been horrid at times, but they always have Mahomes to fall back on. Philadelphia’s defense is as big a part of their identity as the offense, so they’d need to stand tough to win the franchise’s second Vince Lombardi trophy.

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1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers

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This Super Bowl rematch from a couple of years ago would feature the most potent offense in the NFL against the hottest team and best defense. San Francisco won their final 10 games to end the season after starting 3-4. They’ve become the scariest team in the league, even though they’re down to their third QB.

Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy will become the most relevant man in the NFL if the Niners navigate their way through the NFC to a Super Bowl rematch with the Chiefs. It was just a few years ago when the 49ers squandered a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead en route to the Chiefs winning their first title in decades.

No rookie has ever taken a team to the Super Bowl — and only nine backup QBs have won the Lombardi — and for it to be Mr. Irrelevant would be one of the greatest accomplishments by a player in league history. The NFL’s best offense squaring off with its best defense. What a game that would be, and there’s an excellent chance it could happen.

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