Super Bowl 2013: 5 Matchups We're Dying to See
It's a shame that the NFC and AFC have to square off in the annual Super Bowl. There are so many storylines and teams that are unique and completely unpredictable in the two conferences that we're looking at some must-see games over these first three weeks of conference play.
However, the NFC and AFC champion will square off on February 5 in New Orleans, as Super Bowl XLVII is set to feature something we've hopefully never seen before when it comes to NFL action.
From two—excuse me—three rookie QBs taking the league by storm to Peyton Manning's revival in Denver, there are plenty of reasons to get excited about the daydream of who you want to see in the league's biggest game.
Put your reservations about your favorite team aside and let your mind wander to what the outcome would be of these five games. If you like dream scenarios, this slideshow is for you.
Robert Griffin III vs. Any of the AFC's Six
I know it's cliche. And yes, he's the new Tim Tebow in terms of media coverage and annoying reports about his whereabouts. But RG3 is the man right now. You don't lead the league in jersey sales and not have some sort of special quality about yourself.
After beating the Baltimore Ravens (sans Ray Lewis), this team proved they can hang with the AFC's elite. No matter the opponent, you know that media coverage and speculation about the kind of game and market this would attract would bring Roger Goodell to tears.
For the NFL's sake, this is the game that they want to see. Of the six teams in the NFC, none has a better story than Robert Griffin III's, including sitting at 3-6 and having a head coach proclaim the team as done before sparking an improbable playoff run.
Against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos? Yep—old versus new.
Against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts? No-brainer. That story writes itself.
Against Ray Lewis and the Ravens? Compelling television for both sides.
You get the idea. RG3 markets himself just by showing up these days, and that's the case with his potential role as a Super Bowl participant this year.
Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons
In a weird way, this game was ahead of its time. We didn't know these would be the two No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences at the time of the matchup in September, but boy did these teams catch fire after playing each other.
If you'll remember, Peyton Manning tossed three interceptions in the early stages en route to falling behind pretty big. But Atlanta couldn't close the door on the Broncos, and Manning managed to stage a comeback that fell short at the end.
Now, both teams are sitting on first-round byes. Both QBs are MVP candidates, and the two coaches are candidates for the league's award for superiority.
Simply put, this would be a matchup of the best-of-the-best, and we've already seen a preview of this game in September, so it would be nice to draw on the similarities and differences between these two teams during that growth stage of the regular season.
If you're one of those people that doesn't want to see a team play twice, I guess you shouldn't keep reading.
New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle burst on to the scene with its win over the New England Patriots in the regular season and Richard Sherman entered the ranks of the NFL's elite CBs with his performance.
Now, the stingy Seattle defense shows no signs of wearing down, but will have to get past RG3 and the Redskins to get to the promised land. However, should they get there, the Pats waiting on the other side would be a great show of redemption for both teams and the ultimate test of Tom Brady's psyche.
It appeared Brady was extremely rattled after this contest with many of the Seahawks getting in his face and reminding him that he just lost.
Would he let those demons bother him in New Orleans? What about the demons of losing two Super Bowls to the New York Giants in his past two chances? Will Wes Welker show up?
We could write a slide about how compelling the television would be if the Patriots showed up by themselves. Though the Green Bay Packers make a compelling case to be a great matchup against the Pats, the Seahawks take the cake; their physical and emotional style of play doesn't really clash with the methodical precision of New England.
Something would have to give—again.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers
While boring on the surface, you'll find that this game would be a defensive struggle on paper. However, upon closer examination, notice that both teams look remarkably different than they did during the first half of the season.
Call it the "Second-Half Change" Super Bowl.
San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh made the choice to start QB Colin Kaepernick for good after Alex Smith sustained a concussion and Kaepernick led the charge to the tune of an offense that added the element of a running QB. His numbers and W-L record are both similar to what Smith produced, but the feeling in the locker room is that Kaepernick's game-changing ability will push the team over the top.
For Cincy, this resurgence has been all about defense. After a 31-23 loss to Denver, the Bengals decided to stop allowing 20-point games on D. Only the Cowboys scored 20 on the Bengals—and that was the only loss this team suffered in the final eight games.
On offense, both teams have bright stars in young sophomore QBs and standout receivers. On defense, big names lead the charge but surrounding pieces have been the glue to a brilliant team effort.
These teams are similar in more ways than one, and this is officially my sleeper pick for best matchup if the top two seeds don't square off in New Orleans.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings
This slide could have been titled, "Ray Lewis vs. Adrian Peterson."
In the swan song of Lewis' career, there aren't many folks who would complain about one of the best defensive players in NFL history winning a Super Bowl in his final try. The Ravens have been up and down this season but have the talent on both offense and defense to compete with anyone.
For the Vikings, Peterson has been a one-man show. He finished just nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's all-time regular season rushing record of 2,105 yards and single-handedly carried this team to the postseason after Percy Harvin, the only other real weapon on offense, went down with a season-ending injury.
Simply put, this one would be an old-fashioned head-banger.
Both teams love to run the ball. Peterson versus Lewis would be a matchup for the ages, as the NFL's best running back squares off for the last time against a man that made running backs turn the other way year after year.
If you're one for sentimental storylines, this one would be great. It's unlikely to happen, with the Vikes being a sixth seed and the Ravens struggling to find consistency, but sometimes the football gods bring us a game that transcends normal thinking.
Hopefully this one is cued up as one of those choices.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.
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