2018 NFL Playoffs: Ranking the best potential matchups for Super Bowl LII
What would be the most watchable Super Bowl this year? We ranked them from one to 16.
If you're an NFL fan, there's a good chance that your favorite team is already done for the year. With only eight teams remaining in the playoffs, that means 24 other fan bases won't have much to cheer for when the divisional round kicks off on Saturday.
However, we're here to change that. If you don't have a team to cheer for this week, then you should be spending all your energy cheering for the best possible Super Bowl, and that's where we come in. With eight teams left in the playoffs, there's a total of 16 Super Bowl matchups that are still possible, and let's just say, some of them are a lot more appealing than others.
Not only did we rank all 16 possible Super Bowls, but we also included the potential point spread for each game and the odds that it will happen. For instance, an Eagles-Titans Super Bowl only has a 175-to-1 chance of happening, which means if you were hoping for Nick Foles against Tennessee, I have some bad news, it's not going to happen.
So what would the most appealing matchup be in Super Bowl LII?
Best Super Bowl matchups
The Super Bowl is on NBC this year and I'm guessing they'd probably move the game to the Bravo channel if they got stuck with Eagles-Titans. The only reason to watch this game would be to see whether or not Marcus Mariota throws another touchdown pass to himself. The good news for NBC is that the oddsmakers basically don't think this game has any chance of happening. Of the 16 matchups that are possible for the Super Bowl, this one has the longest odds at 175-to-1. One reason this game might actually be worth watching -- besides the fact that it's the Super Bowl and I'll watch no matter what, even if it's on Bravo -- is because one of these two teams would get their first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
15. Saints vs. Titans
Potential spread: Saints, -6.5
Odds of happening: 100-to-1
Last week, there was a chance that Mike Mularkey was going to get fired if the Titans lost in the wild-card round, but that didn't happen because they pulled off a 22-21 upset over the Chiefs. The good news for Mularkey is that if Tennessee ends up in the Super Bowl, the Titans might be forced to sign him to a contract for life. I'm not sure how much a contract for life would pay, but it would probably be at least Gruden money.
14. Eagles vs. Patriots
Potential spread: Patriots, -7.5
Odds of happening: 17-to-2
The crazy thing about this game is that if Carson Wentz was going to be on the field, Eagles-Patriots would definitely rank in the top-five for best possible Super Bowls. However, Wentz won't be on the field, which means Bill Belichick would have two weeks to gameplan for an offense being run by Nick Foles when I'm pretty sure he would only need two hours. This game would be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX, which is horrible news for fans in Philadelphia because I'm not sure they'd be able to handle losing to the Patriots for the second time in 13 years. The biggest downside to this game is that we would likely be spending the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl debating whether or not Donovan McNabb actually puked in Super Bowl XXXIX.
I'm not sure if he did, but I am sure that most Eagles fans probably wanted to after losing that game by just three points (24-21).
13. Vikings vs. Titans
Potential spread: Vikings, -10.5
Odds of happening: 75-to-1
Of all the teams left in the postseason, the Titans are the only ones that have a losing record on the road, which means this game would likely be a disaster waiting to happen. Imagine the worst road team in the playoffs being forced to play a road game in the Super Bowl. Oddsmakers have imagined it and they don't think it would be pretty, making the Titans a 10.5-point underdog, which is the biggest point spread of any of the 16 Super Bowl matchups that could happen. The one big reason this game would be worth watching would be to see if the Vikings can win their first Super Bowl in team history, and not only that, but do it on their home field. The Vikings and Bills are tied for the worst Super Bowl record in NFL history (0-4).
12. Eagles vs. Jaguars
Potential spread: Jaguars, -3
Odds of happening: 55-to-1
This is one of the games that would have the potential to turn into one of the most bizarrely entertaining Super Bowls ever. The only bigger mismatch than Nick Foles against the Jaguars defense would be Blake Bortles against the Eagles defense. The Jaguars 10-3 win over the Bills would probably be considered a shootout compared to what might happen if the Jags and Eagles play: We might only see three points the entire game, we could see a kicker win MVP. I'm getting so excited, I'm actually starting to hope this happens.
11. Falcons vs Titans
Potential spread: Falcons, -4.5
Odds of happening: 115-to-1
Most of America should probably be hoping this game doesn't happen, because if we get an Atlanta-Tennessee Super Bowl less than a month after a Georgia-Alabama national title game, everyone in the South will likely spend the next 10 years talking about how much better the South is at everything.
To be fair, the weather, the sweet tea and the biscuits are all better in the South and I know that because Southerners tell me that every day. One big storyline in this game would be Mike Mularkey making a game plan to stop Matt Ryan. Mularkey was Ryan's offensive coordinator during his first four seasons in the league (2008-11).
10. Falcons vs. Jaguars
Potential spread: Pick'em
Odds of happening: 25-to-1
Of the 16 possible Super Bowls, only two of them have been labeled as a possible "pick'em" and Falcons-Jaguars just happens to be one of them. Everything this game lacks in sexiness, it would likely make up for in excitement. The good news for the Falcons is that if they somehow were able to jump out to a 28-3 lead on the Jaguars, there's a good chance they wouldn't blow it and that's because the Jaguars aren't really built to come back from a deficit that big. Of course, if this game actually happens, that means the Jaguars will have beaten the Steelers and possibly the Patriots on the road, so maybe a comeback from a 28-3 deficit actually wouldn't be that crazy.
9. Eagles vs. Steelers
Potential spread: Steelers, -4.5
Odds of happening: 20-to-1
They would probably have to close down the entire state of Pennsylvania if this game were to happen, or better yet, the NFL could just move the game to Happy Valley and cram 105,000 people into Penn State's Beaver Stadium. Ben Roethlisberger will probably be hoping this game doesn't happen and that's because he always seems to struggle against the Eagles. In Pittsburgh's past three meetings with Philly, the Steelers have averaged just 8.3 points per game and Big Ben has put up some pretty ugly numbers (202 passing yards per game, one total touchdown, two interceptions).
8. Vikings vs. Jaguars
Potential spread: Vikings, -6
Odds of happening: 25-to-1
If defense wins championships, then the football Gods will likely have to flip a coin to see who wins this game. This game would match the AFC's top-ranked defense against the NFC's top-ranked defense in a game that might as well be sudden death because one score might be all we see if these two teams play. Minnesota and Jacksonville were the only two teams in the NFL in 2017 that surrendered less than 17 points and 290 yards per game on the season.
7. Saints vs. Jaguars
Potential spread: Saints, -1.5
Odds of happening: 33-to-1
If we can't get the NFL's top ranked offense (Patriots) against the NFL's best defense (Vikings) in the Super Bowl, then this game would be a nice consolation. Saints-Jaguars would give us the NFL's second-best offense against the league's second-best defense, which would be almost fitting for Drew Brees, who's finished second best in NFL MVP voting three times. Not only would we get to watch Brees going up against the Jaguars defense, but there's a good chance that the River City Relay would be shown roughly 100 times in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl and that definitely wouldn't be a bad thing. If you're not familiar with the play, the Saints were trailing 20-13 with seven seconds left and then proceeded to score one of the wildest 75-yard touchdowns that you'll ever see. Even wilder, is what happens after the touchdown.
If a Saints-Jaguars Super Bowl was was just half as exciting as that one play, then ratings would probably go through the roof.
6. Saints vs. Steelers
Potential spread: Pick'em
Odds of happening: 11-to-1
If you like offensive fireworks, then this is the Super Bowl you should probably be rooting for. This game would us give two of the NFL's top three offenses from 2017. Also, with both quarterbacks over the age of 35, it wouldn't be crazy to see either Ben Roethlisberger or Drew Brees decide to call it quits if their team ends up winning it all. The best part about this game is that Saints and Steelers fans would get to spend two weeks arguing about which team actually wears black-and-gold. Also, if you can't get a ticket to this Super Bowl, that's OK because it would probably be more fun to watch on Bourbon Street.
5. Falcons vs. Steelers
Potential spread: Steelers, -1.5
Odds of happening: 12-to-1
The Falcons and Steelers don't play often, but when they do, the game almost always turns into a classic. Since 1996, the teams have met a total of six times with all six games being decided by one score and three of those games going into overtime. This game would also be a highlight reel waiting to happen thanks to the presence of Julio Jones and Antonio Brown.
This game alone might end up producing five of the best Super Bowl catches of all-time.
4. Saints vs. Patriots
Potential spread: Patriots, -3.5
Odds of happening: 9-to-2
If this Super Bowl happens, we should probably just go ahead and assume that Tom Brady and Drew Brees are both going to play until they're 70. The two quarterbacks have a combined age of 79, which would easily give them the highest combined ago of any two quarterbacks who have played against each other in a Super Bowl. (The record is currently 71. Also, Brees is 38, but turns 39 on January 15). Brady and Brees dueling it out on the NFL's biggest stage would be must-see TV. The only reason this game isn't one or two spots higher is because these the Saints got dominated 36-20 by the Patriots in New Orleans back in Week 2.
3. Vikings vs. Steelers
Potential spread: Vikings, -4
Odds of happening: 15-to-2
The Vikings could exorcise a lot of demons if they get to play the Steelers in the Super Bowl. For one, they'd get a chance to avenge their ugliest loss of the season. Back in Week 2, the Steelers handed the Vikings a 26-9 beatdown, which came in Case Keenum's first start of the year. As if that wouldn't be incentive enough, the Vikings would also get a chance to avenge a 16-6 loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl IX. I feel like Bud Grant's still bitter about that loss. The Vikings would also get to a chance to end their 0-4 run in the Super Bowl and they'd get to do it all in a home game. So what happens when you exorcise that many demons? I'll let this guy tell you.
Crying and boozing. That sounds about right.
The good news is that if everyone reacts like that guy, there will be enough heat generated in Minnesota to keep everyone warm for the next seven winters.
2. Vikings vs. Patriots
Potential spread: Vikings, -1
Odds of happening: 3-to-1
This game would have nearly every storyline that anyone possible dream up.
First team ever to be playing a Super Bowl at home? Check (Vikings).
The most hated team in the NFL also playing? Check (Patriots). There's a good chance 90 percent of America would be pulling for the Vikings because that's roughly the number of people in the country who seem to hate the Patriots.
The NFL's best offense (Patriots) against the NFL's best defense (Vikings)? Check.
The team with the most Super Bowl appearances (Patriots currently with 9) going up against the team with the most Super Bowl losses (Vikings, 0-4)? Check.
Patriots as underdogs? Check. The Patriots haven't been an underdog all season, but the early line has them as a potential one-point underdog.
Me in Minnesota selling t-shirts that say, "Winter is coming for the Patriots?" Check, but only if I can get the copyright in time.
To add some flair to this game, Randy Moss could even handle the coin toss since he played for both teams.
1. Falcons vs. Patriots
Potential spread: Patriots, -5
Odds of happening: 11-to-2
The best way to cure a hangover is to call your buddy and go out drinking again and that's exactly what the Falcons would be doing here. No one would ever use the words "Super Bowl hangover" and "Falcons" in the same sentence ever again if Atlanta makes it to the Super Bowl and beats the Patriots. Generally, I'm not a fan of rematches, but I'd be glued to my TV for four straight hours if these two teams play in Super Bowl LII. The two weeks leading up to the game would be an absolute circus as the Falcons would face 14 straight days of "No, but really, how'd you guys blow a 25-point lead?"
The one group of people who might not watch this game would be everyone in Georgia. After last year's Super Bowl and UGA's blown lead in the national title game, I have to think at least half the state is mortified at the thought of watching another football game where there's a championship on the line.
Although these two teams played earlier this season, I'm going to ignore that because it was outdoors and played in a crazy fog. If you've ever seen a turtle try to do anything while it's on its back, that's basically the Falcons offense trying to function when they're outdoors, so it wasn't surprising to see New England win 23-7 back in Week 7.
Oddsmakers actually feel like there's a good chance this game could happen with odds now at 28-to-3. Just kidding, that was a lame Super Bowl LI joke. The odds are actually 11-to-2.
It had been rumored that the Jaguars might cut ties with Bortles, but instead he'll stay in...
Dez has struggled with injuries over the last few seasons
Cohen started last season red-hot before falling off dramatically but he has a ton of tale...
Beckham got injured during the 2017 preseason and then fractured his ankle after just four...
The Eagles were one of the most aggressive teams in the NFL in 2017, and it helped them win...
The ex-Dolphins offensive lineman was detained over a threatening social media post