The regular season is over. The playoffs begin this weekend. The Super Bowl is a little more than a month away, and already NFL fans are salivating over potential matchups and storylines. There are a lot of possible matchups in the annual 12-team tournament, and we'll take a look at 10 of the best possible ones here.
This game would give the Ravens the chance to advance to the Super Bowl and win as a six-seed, all while gaining a measure of revenge against the Packers, who beat them 27-14 on December 7.
It would also be a compelling matchup from a style standpoint—two teams that possess stout defenses, solid running games, and productive wide receivers. Not to mention it might be interesting to see if Green Bay's offensive line could keep Aaron Rodgers alive against that Baltimore defense. That said, the odds of a matchup of five and six seeds are slim at best.
Rematch! Let's see if Donovan McNabb loses his lunch again. Or if the Eagles win this time around. On the downside—no T.O. Also, slim odds of this occurrence—the Eagles have been up and down all year, and the Patriots are wounded and vulnerable.
America's Team against America's most recent dynasty.
A shoot-out between Tom Brady and Tony Romo. One quarterback married a supermodel, the other dated a well-known pop star.
Two teams that are more or less evenly matched. This would be fun to watch. Both teams are three-seeds, so the chances are reasonable, but both teams aren't on the same level as the top-two seeds in their respective conferences, so it's a tough road. Still, this could happen, if the chips fall just right.
Two five seeds, two young quarterbacks, two strong running games, and one common thread—Brett Favre once called both teams home. Sure, Favre isn't there any more, but this could be the first Super Bowl in which the fans of each team have a common bond due to the actions of a player who is no longer playing in either city. Fun times.
Not really likely, though. Both teams have uphill fights, and the Jets seem happy to just be in the playoffs.
If the Jets somehow meet the Cardinals in the Super Bowl, a matchup between Matt Leinart and one of his replacements at USC, Mark Sanchez, would probably the number one story. That is, if Leinart was actually starting.
With Kurt Warner serving as the Cardinals starter, this is only a minor subplot. But if the the Cards get that far and Warner goes down, and the Jets also make it that far...well, it's unlikely. Very unlikely. But it could be fun.
Brett Favre plays for the Vikings. He spent 2008 with the Jets. He's the most polarizing NFL player not named T.O. or Randy Moss—and those two have had quiet years this season.
The reaction from Jets fans alone would be worth the price of admission. Sadly, this probably won't happen—while the Vikings have a good chance to go to Miami, the Jets probably won't stick around that long.
Another ex-player comes home match-up. Moss made his name in Minnesota, and it would be interesting to see him go against his former team on the big stage. It would also be interesting to see Tom Brady and Brett Favre shoot it out. The Pats would have to out-play the Colts and Chargers to get here, but it could happen.
This clash of the two seeds is eminently possible, and it would provide plenty of entertainment for pass-happy football fans. Might also be worthwhile to see LaDanian Tomlinson pass the torch to Adrian Peterson.
This meeting would've been awesome if both of these teams reached the Super Bowl as unbeaten teams. Alas. But there could still be a lot of fun to be had watching this one, since many folks felt that both of these teams were the best teams in 2009. It won't happen though...at least one of these two number-seeds will go down.
This one could be epic. Two offenses that are almost impossible to stop. Two fantastic, upcoming quarterbacks. Two teams that have been successful over the past few years yet haven't played for the crown. Oh, and Brees used to be a Charger. This matchup offers plenty of storylines, and has a good chance of happening.