The 14-team NFL playoffs slate is now set, and that means there are 49 potential matchups for Super Bowl LVII. Which ones are the best, and which ones would we be suffering through as we wait for the next round of ads? Here's our ranking of all 49 matchups, from worst to best, ranked using a proprietary and highly scientific formula that combines team quality, history, watchability, popularity and general gut feelings.
Here we go ...
49. Seahawks-Ravens: A preliminary note: All of these Ravens matchups are predicated on the idea that Lamar Jackson will not be playing. If Jackson ends up being healthy, move each one up a good 15-20 slots in the rankings. Otherwise … woof.
48. Vikings-Chargers: I mean, it’s the Super Bowl, so you’re going to watch anyway.
47. 49ers-Ravens: Teams starting in the Super Bowl two quarterbacks whom nobody had heard of at the start of the season would be … interesting, to say the least.
46. Seahawks-Dolphins: This would be the greatest geographical disparity between Super Bowl teams, a record that will stand forever … or until the Jaguars move to London.
45. Giants-Ravens: A rematch of Super Bowl XXXV, in which the Ravens whomped the Giants 34-7 in 2001. This one probably wouldn't go that way.
44. 49ers-Dolphins: A matchup of two young, offensive-minded coaches leading teams that are patched together with duct tape and prayer.
43. Vikings-Ravens: If Kirk Cousins actually makes the Super Bowl, a whole lot of narratives are going to have to be rewritten and/or thrown out …
42. Vikings-Dolphins: … unless Cousins happens to lose the Super Bowl in typical Cousinian fashion, in which case the narratives will be carved into the crust of the earth.
41. Eagles-Ravens: An Acela Corridor showdown. Whatever happens in the parking lot will be infinitely more interesting than what happens in this game.
40. 49ers-Chargers: The Justin Herbert Starmaking Performance is coming soon. Might as well be here.
39. Vikings-Jaguars: Seriously, sit for a few minutes with the idea of the Jaguars in the Super Bowl. Wild thought, isn’t it? And it could happen.
38. Giants-Dolphins: Tyreek Hill back in the Super Bowl would be nothing short of amazing.
37. Eagles-Chargers: Quite the municipal divergence here: One city embraces the team as if it were its own children. One city forgets its team even exists.
36. Buccaneers-Ravens: Tom Brady’s run to another Super Bowl would drown out every other story — not just every sports story; every story of any kind — for two weeks before the game. Prepare thyself.
35. Eagles-Dolphins: The Saban Bowl, as former Bama teammates Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa reunite. On the plus side, both of them would get to play the entire game. On the minus side, they'd both be facing tougher opponents than Georgia in 2018.
34. 49ers-Jaguars: A Super Bowl pitting one of the league’s most storied, honored and elite franchises against … the Jaguars. And it would be a good game, too.
33. Giants-Chargers: Eli Manning will refuse to watch when the Chargers have the ball, just out of habit.
32. Eagles-Jaguars: The Doug Pederson Bowl! If there aren’t Philly Specials going off all night long, what are we even doing here?
31. Buccaneers-Dolphins: The Tamiami Trail Bowl. On the plus side, there’d be a boat parade no matter who wins, and those are always magnets for chaos.
30. Giants-Jaguars: The Trevor Lawrence Show would achieve liftoff if he can beat the New York Football Giants.
29. Eagles-Bengals: Combine the swagger of Joe Burrow and the volume of Philly fans, and you would have the most insufferable NFL fan base ever. Probably best these two teams don’t play much.
28. Buccaneers-Jaguars: The Florida Man Bowl. Everybody meet in the parking lot of the Daytona Buc-ees for the watch party.
27. Seahawks-Chargers: The combined renaissance of Geno Smith and Pete Carroll would be something to behold.
26. 49ers-Bengals: Super Bowl XXIII rematch! If San Francisco struggles, the Niners should bring in Joe Montana to take a few more snaps. He has experience with comebacks against Cincinnati.
25. Cowboys-Ravens: Can we take a moment to imagine how apocalyptic the NFL world would be if Dallas makes the Super Bowl for the first time in a quarter-century? Cowboys fans would come streaming down from the hills. The bandwagon would collapse under the weight of all the newcomers.
24. Buccaneers-Chargers: A thrilling matchup of two coaches whose greatest enemies are themselves.
23. Cowboys-Dolphins: A rematch of Super Bowl VI, in which the Boys thumped the Fins. Fun fact: This Super Bowl was actually blacked out in the New Orleans area (the game was at Tulane Stadium) because it wasn’t a sellout.
22. Seahawks-Jaguars: Jaxson DeVille, the Jags’ highlighter-yellow, Speedo-wearing mascot, deserves national prominence. This would bestow it.
21. Giants-Chiefs: One of these days, Kansas City is going to run an entire game’s worth of weird Turkey Bowl plays. Why not the Super Bowl?
20. Vikings-Bengals: LSU reunion! Between Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, this game could have passing mileage, not yardage.
19. Cowboys-Jaguars: Part of the appeal of the Super Bowl is having a team to hate. The Cowboys would fulfill that role nicely in this matchup. Plus, all the football newbies would wonder who that Jacksonville player is with the luxurious, blond locks.
18. Seahawks-Bills: We’re all waiting to see if Josh Allen can throw for 600 yards in a Super Bowl, aren’t we?
17. Giants-Bengals: How long does it take to wipe away a legacy stain on a franchise’s underachiever reputation? Two Super Bowls in two years might do it for Cincinnati.
16. 49ers-Bills: The Niners have the league’s best defense, and the Bills have one of the NFL’s best offenses. Immovable object vs. irresistible force is always a must-watch.
15. Seahawks-Bengals: Think Russell Wilson will be watching if the Seahawks make the Super Bowl? Yeah, us neither.
14. Vikings-Chiefs: Super Bowl IV rematch! In that game, the Vikings were favored by 13½ … and lost by 16. Is it any wonder Vikings fans spend their entire lives wondering when the hammer is going to fall?
13. Giants-Bills: The Scott Norwood Bowl. His name — and his miss — would be referenced a billion times in the run-up to this one.
12. Seahawks-Chiefs: Of all the turnaround stories in the league, the Seahawks might be the most impressive, and a run to the Super Bowl would definitely be among the most improbable in recent NFL history.
11. Cowboys-Chargers: This feels like a prove-it postseason for Dak Prescott. Getting to the Super Bowl would prove it.
10. Buccaneers-Bengals: Julio Jones deserves a Super Bowl ring, even if he’s a Buc In Name Only at this point.
9. 49ers-Chiefs: Super Bowl LIV rematch! That game was a whole lot closer than people remember now; the 49ers would love another chance to keep Patrick Mahomes in check late.
8. Buccaneers-Bills: This seems like it would be a blowout, but given that Brady has spent the past 20 years living rent-free in the heads of the Bills Mafia, this would be either an exorcism of demons or an admission of total defeat.
7. Vikings-Bills: In one of 2022's best games, Minnesota defeated Buffalo 33-30 in overtime earlier this season, marking just one of the many times we couldn’t figure out whether Minnesota is a great team with occasional lapses or a terrible team that occasionally shines. Still don’t know.
6. Cowboys-Bengals: With arrogance and attitude visible from space, Joe Burrow is the ultimate Cowboy Fan avatar … well, outside of the fact that he has actually been to the Super Bowl in this millennium.
5. Bucs-Chiefs: You just know Patrick Mahomes is itching for some revenge for that Super Bowl humiliation of a couple of years back.
4. Eagles-Chiefs: Now we’re into the all-killer, no-filler section of the rankings. The two No. 1 seeds — both deserving — would be a Godzilla vs. Kong matchup.
3. Cowboys-Chiefs: The most popular team in the NFL playing against the probable league MVP? This one could do World Cup Final-level numbers.
2. Eagles-Bills: The NFL’s third- and second-leading offenses (behind Kansas City) would combine to score roughly a thousand points. Take the over, no matter what it is.
1. Cowboys-Bills: At last, Buffalo will have its chance for revenge on the team that victimized it twice in the ‘90s. This one will be dripping with storylines. For once, everyone will agree that the game is more compelling than the ads.
Contact Jay Busbee at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.