Super Bowl XLVIII is just weeks away, and there are now only four options for the finals with four teams left in the NFL playoffs.
While the remaining teams are full of talent, we rank the particular matchups that would make for the biggest, best and most exciting Super Bowls.
No. 4: Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots
This matchup would be two teams returning to the Super Bowl to attempt to get some revenge for recent Super Bowl losses. The Seahawks lost their only Super Bowl appearance in 2006 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Patriots would be trying to overcome the memory of their two previous losses—both upsets at the hands of the New York Giants.
The Patriots might not be at full strength at this point, still recovering from the loss of Rob Gronkowski, but they have reinvented themselves as a running team with LeGarrette Blount leading the revamped charge. And with Tom Brady at the helm, they will be dangerous through the air no matter who is catching his passes.
On the other side of the ball will be the vaunted Seattle defense, whose secondary will give even a Hall of Famer like Brady fits. Their offense isn't so bad either. Second-year sensation Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch provide a lethal one-two punch, even if the Seahawks aren't the healthiest of teams on offense either.
No. 3: Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers
While there's no inherent rivalry here, this would be perhaps the most talented Super Bowl matchup possible with the remaining teams. San Francisco would try to avenge its loss in last year's Super Bowl, while Peyton Manning would try to win his second championship and cement his legacy.
Manning and Colin Kaepernick would be the big draws here, but the talent around them cannot be overlooked. The Broncos have an unbelievable trio of receivers in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker, along with running back Knowshon Moreno and breakout tight end Julius Thomas.
The Niners have some weapons of their own, especially since Michael Crabtree came back to complement Anquan Boldin on the outside. Vernon Davis is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league, and Frank Gore has been one of the most underrated running backs in years.
While Denver's defensive durability continues to be a major point of discussion, San Francisco has some big star power on its defense. NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, Donte Whitner, Carlos Rogers, Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks and rookie Eric Reid lead one of the most formidable defenses in the NFL.
It would be awesome to see two of the league's most exciting teams face off and witness a legendary quarterback faceoff with an up-and-coming superstar for the league title.
Both of these matchups would have it all: great talent, intense competition, individual battles and interesting storylines. While no team in the league can be considered a heavy favorite at this point, it wouldn't be a shock to see these teams face off in February.
No. 2: New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers
The narrative here would be all about the QBs. Kaepernick's journey has similar to Brady's. Both got their chance when the starting quarterbacks went down and played too well to give up the role, even when the previous starters returned.
It would be interesting to see the acclaimed Bill Belichick go up against the multi-faceted offense that the 49ers throw out there. Could the Patriots contain Kaepernick both on the ground and through the air? With the return of Crabtree, the 49ers look as dangerous as they've ever been. But never underestimate Belichick when he has two weeks to prepare.
On the other side of things, there's no denying that the 49ers have an incredible defense. It will be hell for the Patriots to try to keep Brady upright and give him enough time to throw. But if he gets even just a little space, Brady will have a chance to pick San Francisco's secondary apart. That's easier said than done, though.
No. 1: Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
This would be a great way for the season to end—the two teams that were the undisputed best in the league all year going head-to-head for the Lombardi Trophy.
Would it be the offensive juggernaut Broncos led by the record-setting Manning trying to secure a second Super Bowl title to add to his legacy? Or would it be the swarming defense of Seattle that cancels out Denver's quickness?
How many more chances will Manning have? And how many chances will Seattle have with a quarterback still locked into a rookie deal before it has to figure out paying him and possibly losing some of its talent elsewhere? It would definitely be two hungry teams fighting it out.
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