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