The Super Bowl is less than three weeks away. Which of the four possible matchups would be the most compelling?
Fresh off of what many are dubbing the best NFL playoff weekend ever, many are starting to cast an eye towards Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. The AFC side will be represented by either the Kansas City Chiefs or Cincinnati Bengals while the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers, a pair of division rivals, square off for the NFC crown on Sunday.
The NFL is surely bummed to not have Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady in the mix right now but the four teams left do create some interesting Super Bowl matchups. Let’s rank the four potential options we have for the big game from least compelling to most compelling.
Power ranking the potential Super Bowl LVI matchups
4. Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams
This is easily the fourth choice on the board since there isn’t a ton of intrigue linking these two franchises together. There is a connection between the coaches as Bengals’ head coach Zac Taylor previously served as a quarterbacks coach under Sean McVay with the Rams in 2018, but that alone doesn’t a great matchup make.
It would be interesting to see Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford square off in a duel of top overall picks under center as well. The Rams and Bengals haven’t met since 2019, when Los Angeles scored a 24-10 win in London over a Cincinnati team on its way to the number one pick that netted them Burrow, so this game checks in last for good reason.
3. Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers
This matchup is much more intriguing since there is a lot of history between San Francisco and Cincinnati, who met twice in the Super Bowl in the 1980s. Joe Montana and the 49ers won both times, setting up a revenge angle for the Bengals decades in the making.
A 49ers-Bengals Super Bowl would also tie it with Steelers-Cowboys for the most common Super Bowl matchup in NFL history, an interesting stat that would no doubt get dissected until the cows come home. These teams also played a thriller in Cincinnati during the regular season where the 49ers survived a late Bengals’ rally to win 26-23 in overtime, so a rematch with the Lombardi Trophy on the line would be stellar.
2. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams
If you’re looking for the matchup with the two best teams left in the postseason tournament Chiefs-Rams is your pick. The star power would be immense as each side features marquee players like Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald.
These franchises also played one of the NFL’s all-time best regular-season games in Los Angeles in 2018, a 54-51 thriller that showcased a ton of explosive offense and game-breaking plays. With Stafford under center now instead of Jared Goff, there’s a good chance that this game gives us the closest facsimile to the Bills-Chiefs epic from the Divisional Round.
1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers
There’s something to be said about a Super Bowl rematch and these teams just met for the Lombardi Trophy two years ago in Miami. San Francisco led most of the way before Kansas City stormed back with 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to steal the title in a game the 49ers could have won if Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t miss Emmanuel Sanders on a potentially game-winning throw late.
The 49ers have become the team of destiny in this postseason as they have overcome tremendous adversity in terms of injury and opposition in order to fight their way to the NFC title game. Seeing whether or not San Francisco can overcome the Kansas City juggernaut to get revenge in the big game would be the best Super Bowl matchup we can hope for at this juncture.