Ranking Every Potential 2023 Super Bowl LVII Matchup from Worst to First

Brad Gagnon@@Brad_GagnonFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2023

Ranking Every Potential 2023 Super Bowl LVII Matchup from Worst to First

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    ARLINGTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 28:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys greets Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills after a game at AT&T Stadium on November 28, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    We're down to the elite eight in the NFL playoffs, leaving us with 16 potential matchups for Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona.

    Four potential rematches remain possibilities, including third Super Bowl meetings between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers as well as the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys. And of course, we could see the Jacksonville Jaguars become the 29th team ever to play in the game.

    With that in mind, and with a focus on player/coach matchups as well as rivalry dynamics and team strength and popularity, let's rank all of the potential matchups from worst to first.

16. Jaguars vs. 49ers

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars with George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers after the game at TIAA Bank Field on November 21, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. The 49ers defeated the Jaguars 30-10. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
    Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

    Look, there are some very popular, very intriguing and very talented teams still alive. We don't mean too much offense to the Jaguars, but they're pretty clearly the lowest team alive on the national totem pole right now.

    Would it be fun to see Trevor Lawrence on another national stage? Sure, but a matchup between the nine-win Jaguars and a San Francisco team quarterbacked by Brock Purdy wouldn't move the needle in comparison to any other possible tilt right now.

15. Jaguars vs. Giants

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 23: Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) and New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) after the NFL Football match between the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants on October 23, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    On paper, this is arguably worse than Jags-49ers. Neither team reached 10 wins in 2022. But that might result in a closer game than Jacksonville-San Francisco. You also wind up with a non-Goliath champion, which is always a little fun, and the New York Giants have a large following.

    Still, it's a low-profile matchup between two so-so teams.

14. Jaguars vs. Cowboys

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    JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 18: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to pass with pressure from Dante Fowler Jr. #56 of the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at TIAA Bank Field on December 18, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images)
    Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

    Like 'em or hate 'em, "America's Team" draws so much attention that a Super Bowl meeting between the unpopular Jaguars and the Cowboys still ranks ahead of every other Jacksonville matchup except the one that pits the former team's head coach against it.

    Still, the blowout potential is high here, so it remains in the bottom quarter.

13. Jaguars vs. Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars talks to Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles after the game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 2, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Jaguars fans won't be happy with the first four listings here. Both of them will likely have words with me on Twitter. Again, no disrespect intended but this goes with the territory when you have a small fan base and aren't an elite team on paper.

    This one, however, gains points because it would involve current Jags head coach Doug Pederson going up against the Philadelphia Eagles team that fired him just two years ago.

12. Bengals vs. Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Philadelphia Eagles talks to Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals after the game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 27, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Decent quarterback matchup between two young stars and this should be a competitive game, but there's really no rivalry here. The Bengals also don't attract close to as much attention as the Bills or Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, while the Eagles aren't quite as much of a draw as at least Dallas in the NFC.

    It's a "meh" matchup.

11. Bengals vs. Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 21: Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants calls a play during the first half of a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium on August 21, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    I think this would have a better chance at being a close contest than Cincinnati-Philadelphia, and you'd have that David vs. David factor with no Goliaths in the picture.

    Still, the Bengals aren't a hot attraction and the Giants had a negative scoring margin during the regular season.

10. Chiefs vs. Giants

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 01: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) scrambles in the back field against the New York Giants on November 1st, 2021 at GEHA field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    We interrupt the AFC feline-named team bashing for a shot at a Chiefs-Giants matchup that would have considerable blowout potential with a high point spread.

    Still, the very existence of Patrick Mahomes, Daniel Jones and that New York fan base keeps this one outside of the bottom half-dozen.

9. Bengals vs. Cowboys

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    ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 18:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks for an open receiver in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium on August 18, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Again, the Cowboys are the Cowboys and they make games fun because they're so polarizing.

    This could also be a very low spread one way or another, as Dallas and Cincinnati had nearly identical DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) totals at Football Outsiders.

8. Bengals vs. 49ers

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    MIAMI, FL- JANUARY 22:  Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball towards the end zone while pursued by Lewis Billups #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals during Super Bowl XXIII  on January 22, 1989 at Joe Robbie  Stadium in Miami, Florida. The 49ers  won the Super Bowl 20-16. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
    Focus on Sport/Getty Images

    They've met in two Super Bowls, both coaches are branches on the Mike Shanahan coaching tree, and both teams would be looking to get monkeys off their backs following recent Super Bowl defeats.

    It's quite a solid matchup, but a low-profile Bengals fan base and the absence of a high-profile quarterback in San Francisco limits this game's potential.

7. Bills vs. Giants

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    12 Jan 1991:  Kicker Scott Norwood #11 of the Buffalo Bills misses a 47-yard, game-winning field goal wide right in the final moments of the Bills 20-19 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)
    Icon Sportswire

    For obvious reasons, the Bills, Chiefs, Eagles, 49ers and Cowboys dominate the top half of this list. The Giants sneak in here with Buffalo because this could be a fun throwback to one of the best Super Bowls ever played.

    There's also the "Brian Daboll versus his former team" narrative, but the blowout potential is high because the Bills are a much better team on paper.

6. Bills vs. Eagles

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    ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 27: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills slides after running for a first down during the second quarter of an NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles at New Era Field on October 27, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

    Less of a narrative for this potential Bills Super Bowl matchup, but you get two rabid fan bases backing two teams that lost just three games each this season.

    Plus, we're talking about Josh Allen versus Jalen Hurts, and it's hard to imagine this wouldn't come down to the wire.

5. Bills vs. 49ers

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 07: Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills looks to pass during the third quarter of a game against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on December 07, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    These were the top two teams in the NFL in terms of both DVOA and scoring margin, and Josh Allen versus Mr. Irrelevant would be quite the narrative as the Bills seek their first-ever Vince Lombardi Trophy.

    Still, there's not much of a rivalry or a narrative within the matchup so it's only at the bottom of the top five.

4. Chiefs vs. Cowboys

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    KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - NOVEMBER 21: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys speaks with Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs after an NFL game at Arrowhead Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    Big stars, hot-shot head coaches, strong fan bases, dynamic quarterbacks. Can't ask for much more than Chiefs-Cowboys, which really only lacks a bit in the narrative department compared to the top three potential Super Bowl matchups on this list.

    Still, that this ranks fourth shows how many sick possibilities remain on the table here in mid-January.

3. Chiefs vs. 49ers

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    MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Damien Williams #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The Chiefs won the game 31-20. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
    Focus on Sport/Getty Images

    There's a lot to love here. Kyle Shanahan's attempt at redemption against the very team that burned his 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, plus the David (Brock Purdy) vs. Goliath (Patrick Mahomes) factor as Mahomes looks to further solidify his legacy and establish a Chiefs dynasty with Andy Reid.

    It's also likely to be close, but Purdy is a wild card.

2. Chiefs vs. Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 03: (L-R) Head coach Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles and head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs shake hands during pregame at Lincoln Financial Field on October 03, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Take Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, Jalen Hurts and two high-profile teams, and then throw in the element of Reid facing his former employer in the freakin' Super Bowl and you have a sweet battle between the only 14-game winners from the 2022 regular season.

    Still, this falls just short of the top spot because of the history between two other teams in contention...

1. Bills vs. Cowboys

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    ARLINGTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 28:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys greets Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills after a game at AT&T Stadium on November 28, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Buffalo-Dallas Super Bowl Take No. 3 would be the ultimate juiciness level for fans and the media. The Bills hope fifth time's a charm on the Super Bowl platform and third time's a charm specifically against the nation's most popular, but polarizing, franchise.

    You've got Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, a deep historic rivalry and two of the league's four highest-scoring offenses. It really would be the NFL's dream come true for SBLVII.

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