Rating of all 49 potential matchups

The Super Bowl is coming next month and we know this: 18 teams are not going to take part. (Sorry, Jacksonville.) But it could be 14 teams! And that means 49 possible combinations of Super Bowl matchups are waiting for us. Here we organize them using a complex matrix of observability, star power, talent and gut feeling. And we start with …

49.Washington vs. Indianapolis: All due respect to the good fans of these teams, but you are the only ones in the country who want to see this matchup.

48. LA Rams v Cleveland: Who will LeBron put down roots for?

47. Chicago vs. Indianapolis: Super Bowl XLI rematch! There’s no Peyton Manning here to save you this time, Colts … though you probably wouldn’t need him anyway.

46. ​​Chicago vs. Cleveland: I thought Michael Jordan had already solved this problem once and for all.

45th LA Rams v Indianapolis: Outside of the commercials, I can’t think of a single compelling reason to watch this game.

44. Chicago vs. Buffalo: Play this game in a snow storm, you cowards.

43.Washington v Cleveland: The Browns beat the soccer team 34:20, but Washington was ahead by the end of the third quarter. That said, this wouldn’t be a good game, but it could be a tight one.

42. Chicago versus Pittsburgh: Shame about COVID and everyone, the hordes of Bearz and Stillers fans who came to Florida for this game would have been far more interesting than anything that would happen on the field.

41. Chicago vs. Baltimore: I would pay good money to watch Lamar Jackson try to escape Khalil Mack outdoors.

40.Washington versus Tennessee: Chase Young would be a grenade thrown into the smoothly functioning corridors of the Titan Offensive. That alone would make this a watch worth it. The. Alone.

39. LA Rams v Baltimore: What, if anything, did Sean McVay learn from being beaten by one of the game’s old masters in a previous Super Bowl, and how did it get under the skin of John Harbaugh?

38.Washington versus Pittsburgh: Hey, remember when Washington broke Pittsburgh’s perfect record on a Monday afternoon? Nobody saw this live so this would be a refreshing change.

The story goes on

37. Tampa Bay vs. Indianapolis: Philip Rivers could just decide that he likes Florida so much that he won’t leave after that game. (It’s old, it’s the joke we’re making here.)

36. LA Rams v Pittsburgh: Super Bowl XIV rematch! Terry Bradshaw would be completely retired to play in this one.

35.Seattle vs. Indianapolis: It would be amazing to see Pete Carroll and Frank Reich try to outdo each other in this game. At least five trick-taking games and the whole game would trigger a headless coaching call.

34.Washington versus Baltimore: You should stop at Laurel, Maryland and stop at I-95. Clean bathrooms, working vending machines, a dog relief area – what else do you need for a Super Bowl?

Derrick Henry and the Titans beat the Bears in Week 9 by 24-17. (Wesley Hitt / Getty Images)

33. Chicago versus Tennessee: The Titans won the first round here this season despite a late bear comeback. There will be no such comeback this time.

32.Washington vs. Buffalo: Super Bowl XXVI rematch … also known as “The Second Fall Of Buffalo,” also known as The Thurman Thomas Missing Helmet Game. If that happened somehow, the bills would have a lot of anger to work out.

31. LA Rams vs. Buffalo: These two had a decent little game in Week 3, with Buffalo winning 35-32. Scoring won’t be a problem.

30. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh: Antonio Brown. That’s it. That’s all the entire two week build would focus on. Everyone else could just go home and show up at kick-off.

29.Seattle vs Cleveland: The Browns have one of the worst pass defenses of any playoff team. Let’s see what happens when Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf decide to test this out.

28. LA Rams vs. Tennessee: The last time these two franchises met in a Super Bowl, it was one of the best games in league history, right up to the final duel in the final. That alone is enough to require a refill.

27.Washington v Kansas City: This would be known as the Super Bowl, which puzzled a thousand thoughts as to why Kansas City should change its name too. Also: The Alex Smith Bowl.

26. Tampa Bay v Cleveland: Do you remember the scene in that Super Bowl 100 commercial where Brady made Mayfield hold his rings? Yes, Baker would have to hold another one after that.

25. Seattle vs. Pittsburgh: Super Bowl XL rematch! This was a mess of a Seahawks team, as opposed to the lean unit of today, while the Steelers of that bygone era … like now being led by Ben Roethlisberger.

24. Chicago vs. Kansas City: If you know a bear fan, hug them tightly. Because this Super Bowl, while the bears watch the guy who could torch them, could send Chicago fans over the edge.

23. Tampa Bay v Baltimore: A fight of the league’s best rushing offensive (Ravens) against the best rushing defense (Bucs) should be worth watching, right?

22. LA Rams v Kansas City: If we got a rerun of the regular season classic on Monday night that these two played a few seasons ago, it would be the biggest Super Bowl ever.

21. Seattle vs. Tennessee: After a decent little AFC rivalry in the 20th century, the Titans and Seahawks now run in different orbits and have actually only played four times in this millennium. Still, this would be a solid game.

20. Green Bay v Indianapolis: In one of the most surprising results of the season, the Packers lost to the Colts in overtime in week 11, sparking a wave of “Packers scams?” Columns. (Spoiler: they weren’t.)

19. Tampa Bay vs. Tennessee: The Super Bowl is located in Tampa Bay. It’s entirely possible for Derrick Henry to run out of the stadium, all the way to Tom Brady’s rented house, through the streets of Ybor City, and back to the stadium without anyone putting a glove on him.

18.Seattle vs. Baltimore: If that happens, some poor fool will be asking about the rise of mobile quarterbacks at Super Bowl Media Day like it hasn’t been in two decades.

17. Green Bay vs Cleveland: Play this one in old school leather helmets, you cowards.

16. Seattle vs. Buffalo: In week 9, Buffalo began to put some tough stuff on Russell Wilson’s halo on a 44:34 win that wasn’t even that close. Revenge game could be fun.

15. New Orleans vs. Indianapolis: Seeing Alvin Kamara against one of the league’s stingiest running defenses would definitely be a treat.

14.Green Bay vs Pittsburgh: Aaron Rodgers-to-Davante Adams three times for TDs in the first half could even make Mike Tomlin lose his eternal cool.

13. Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo: How cruel would it be for Buffalo to take revenge on New England only to victimize Tom Brady in the Super Bowl? Surely the soccer gods can’t be so bad.

12. New Orleans vs. Cleveland: If only because you feel like Drew Brees would leave Baker Mayfield in midfield after the game and tell him what he did wrong and how to do better next time.

11. Green Bay vs. Tennessee: The Packers completely blew out the Titans 40-14 in week 16 in the snow. Unfortunately for Green Bay, the chance of snow in Tampa is slim at best.

10. Seattle vs. Kansas City: Seattle’s torn pass defense against Patrick Mahomes? Yes, this one could draw an FCC fine for carnage.

9. New Orleans vs. Tennessee: Just tie a rope around Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry’s waists, place them in midfield, and tell them to drive in opposite end zones. The first wins. I would fucking pay attention to it.

8. Green Bay vs. Baltimore: This is a Super Bowl that feels like it should have happened by now, if only because these two teams have been in the mix for so long.

7. New Orleans versus Pittsburgh: With Roethlisberger and Brees this would be the equivalent to the Coachella concerts from a few years ago with the Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan et. al .: a celebration of dad rock football.

6. Green Bay vs. Buffalo: Have you ever seen a Super Bowl where every pass was at least 40 meters long? You will be here

5. New Orleans vs. Baltimore: You’d have a hard time finding two quarterbacks that were different from Drew Brees and Lamar Jackson, but that would make this matchup a must-see.

4. New Orleans vs. Buffalo: The Saints have one of the best pass defenses in the game, and Josh Allen is out here right now, waiting to test them out. This could be the first Super Bowl to score 200 total points.

3. Tampa Bay vs. Kansas City: Put Brady and Mahomes in the field and all of your valuation problems will be a thing of the past, NFL.

2. Green Bay vs. Kansas City: The Battle of the State Farm Shills. As a rally scream that kind of shit, but this game would be an instant classic. Also a Super Bowl I rematch that could be a selling point.

1. New Orleans vs. Kansas City: Drew Brees in his last game against Patrick Mahomes trying to do it again? Yes, that will work for drama.

There you have it. Forty-nine possible outcomes. We will definitely get one of them. Let’s hope it’s good.

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