Ranking all 36 possible Super Bowl matchups

The NFL playoffs are upon us, and with 12 teams in the mix, there are 36 possible matchups. Some would be epic, some would be a great chance to catch up on some chores. We’re ranking all 36 right here based not on likelihood, but on watchability alone. (Spoiler: Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes will make for good watching no matter which team they’d play.) And away we go:

36. Titans vs. Vikings: With all due respect to the fine fan bases of Nashville and Minneapolis, let’s be honest: Nobody’s excited about the thought of this matchup.

35. Bills vs. Vikings: This could literally end up as a 4-2 Super Bowl. Wouldn’t that be great?

34. Titans vs. Eagles: This is probably Tennessee’s most favorable matchup given that injury-riddled Philadelphia is now down to drafting fans to play wide receiver.

33. Patriots vs. Vikings: Look, nobody wants to see the Patriots in the Super Bowl anymore. But if they did make it to the Big Game yet again, this would be the least compelling of the six possible matchups.

32. Titans vs. Packers: Aaron Rodgers ought to have more than one ring. This would be his best matchup to get No. 2. Beyond that, this is a watch-for-the-commercials game.

31. Bills vs. Eagles: The only really compelling aspect of any Eagles matchup is whether Philly can get Carson Wentz a ring of his own. The only compelling aspect of any Bills matchup is whether they can get a ring for the franchise. Something’s gotta give!

30. Titans vs. Saints: A Tennessee-Louisiana matchup would prompt calls of SEC bias, which are always fun.

29. Texans vs. Vikings: One of these days Kirk Cousins has to come through in prime time, right? And one of these years, the Vikings will win a Super Bowl, right? Right …?

28. Titans vs. 49ers: If the Ryan Tannehill Experience ended with Tennessee knocking off the NFC’s best in Miami, there’d be a movie made within an hour.

27. Bills vs. Seahawks: Can you imagine what the pregame buildup would be like if Buffalo made it to another Super Bowl? What on earth would the media talk about? I haven’t a clue.

26. Texans vs. Eagles: Could Deshaun Watson win both a college football championship and a Super Bowl? With this matchup he sure could.

25. Titans vs. Seahawks: Certain teams play each other so infrequently that they seem not even to exist in the same league as one another. These are two such teams. Other than that, you’re going to be hanging around the nacho plate during this game.

24. Bills vs. Packers: If this is the matchup, the NFL needs to move the game out of Miami and onto a snowy high school field somewhere in the upper Midwest.

23. Chiefs vs. Vikings: A rematch of Super Bowl IV, which the Chiefs won 23-7. This year’s KC model could score that much in a quarter.

22. Texans vs. 49ers: The Texans are sneaky good, and could punch San Francisco in the mouth. Or they could get blown out by half a hundred. You never know, do you?

21. Bills vs. Saints: Watching Drew Brees challenge a hungry defense like Buffalo’s: never not fun.

20. Ravens vs. Vikings: Purple-on-purple crime. Plus, we’d watch Lamar Jackson standing in line at a buffet … which he’d be able to do after working the Vikings for about a quarter and a half.

19. Texans vs. Saints: There’s a decent chance that whichever city wins this game will outright annex the other.

18. Chiefs vs. Eagles: The Andy Reid Bowl would include all kinds of trickeration, mainly because Kansas City would hang 28 on Philly in the first quarter and the Eagles would have no choice.

17. Texans vs. Packers: Sure, Watson and Rodgers are fun to watch. But this is your basic replacement-level Super Bowl. There’s a reason it’s smack in the middle of this list.

16. Bills vs. 49ers: Somehow the Bills avoided losing to the 49ers during the great 0-for-4 run of the early 1990s. This would give them a chance to tick that off the to-do list.

15. Texans vs. Seahawks: Watching Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson run in circles around one another would mean this game has a very good chance of coming down to one of those “amazing play that redeems a terrible game” moments.

14. Ravens vs. Eagles: Winner gets Delaware.

13. Patriots vs. 49ers: Two of the NFL’s greatest franchises squaring off would give Kyle Shanahan a chance to redeem himself for not running the ball in Super Bowl LI.

12. Patriots vs. Eagles: The revenge factor here wouldn’t make up for the annoyance of having to see the Patriots in another Super Bowl. But the Eagles would probably bring in Eli Manning to stand on the sidelines and just stare at Brady.

11. Ravens vs. Packers: As with everything Ravens, the Lamar Jackson Factor makes any potential matchup worth watching.

10. Patriots vs. Packers: A Super Bowl XXXI rematch. Look for Green Bay to haul Brett Favre out of retirement for this one, too.

Think the Seahawks wouldn't like a rematch? (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Think the Seahawks wouldn't like a rematch? (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

9. Patriots vs. Seahawks: And Marshawn Lynch is back in uniform! Come on, it’s setting up all too perfectly.

8. Chiefs vs. Packers: A rematch of the very first Super Bowl. Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes have met in the State Farm Cinematic Universe, but this would be a fine real-world showdown, and a chance for the Chiefs to avenge a defeat earlier this year.

7. Patriots vs. Saints: Who’s not going to tune in to Brady vs. Brees? The best possible matchup if we have to see New England in the game again, and my view on that is not at all influenced by the fact that this was my preseason Super Bowl pick.

6. Chiefs vs. Seahawks: Two of the finest coaching minds in the business, and also two of the best at coaching themselves into knots. Seeing Andy Reid and Pete Carroll toss the Lombardi Trophy back and forth with bad decisions would be something.

5. Ravens vs. Seahawks: Battle of the presumptive MVP frontrunners. We’ve heard for years that running quarterbacks are the future of the NFL, and this might be the future’s beginning. The Ravens won this matchup easily earlier this year.

4. Chiefs vs. Saints: Brees and Mahomes. Come on, what more do you want? This one is an instant classic, and I feel comfortable saying that even though it’s weeks from happening.

3. Ravens vs. Saints: If anyone can scheme up a way to stop Jackson, it’s Sean Payton and his band of football alchemists over on the Saints sideline.

2. Chiefs vs. 49ers: Strength on strength. The 49ers had the best pass defense in the NFL for 2019, and you know what Patrick Mahomes can do. This would be a hell of a chess match.

1. Ravens vs. 49ers: Big on big. The 49ers might just be the most complete team in the league, and Lamar Jackson is the most complete player. Sure, it’s a rematch of both a Super Bowl and a game earlier this year, but the hype for this one would be stratospheric and justified.

Let's do Ravens vs. 49ers again. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Let's do Ravens vs. 49ers again. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)


Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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