There are eight teams still left in the NFL postseason right now, with the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons coming from the NFC and the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans representing the AFC. These remaining eight present 16 different possible Super Bowl LII combinations, and NFL.com’s Marc Sessler just released the Top 5 marquee match-up possibilities.
Your NFC South Divisional Champion New Orleans Saints are on the list twice (the only NFC team to appear twice in the Top 5) at #1 and #4. At #1, a rematch up of the Week 2 meeting between Drew Brees and Tom Brady:
Look, people. Daddy gets it. There’s an understandable level of exhaustion tied to any matchup involving the Patriots. We’ve seen this show before a thousand times, but the AFC lacks for juicy teams outside of New England and Pittsburgh. Besides, what’s not to like about a coaching duel between Bill Belichick and Sean Payton? A tussle between Tom Brady and Drew Brees would serve as the titanic capper to an otherwise-strange NFL season. Hating the Patriots is easy, but give them their due: New England’s last two Super Bowl appearances have been ultra-thrillers. Games for the ages. In fact, when was the last Pats-infused Super Bowl that wasn’t highly entertaining? A showdown with the Saints has the potential to top them all.
At #4, another meeting of future Hall of Fame QBs - Brees and Big Ben Roethlisberger:
The Saints are pure fun to watch. Same goes for the Steelers -- when they play to their potential. For many of the reasons New Orleans vs. New England would be a joy, the matchup of Big Ben vs. Brees would come packed with high-stakes career implications. Roethlisberger -- after an offseason of retirement whispers -- would have a shot to nab his third Super Bowl title before possibly calling it quits. Brees, meanwhile, could bookend his wonderful NFL journey with a second title -- a feat that seemed so far away just months ago. Two future Hall of Famers guiding high-flying offenses into the biggest game around? Sign me up.
It’s a little surprising that Brees vs Brady made the top spot over a Super Bowl LI rematch between Brady and Matt Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons (which came in at #3), but it’s hard to argue that seeing Brees and Brady against each other, playing at this level, at this point in their careers, with these stakes, wouldn’t be absolutely incredible.
Obviously, if you’re the Saints, you’d prefer an easier AFC opponent if you were to make it that far, but who out of the AFC would you like to face? Maybe the Jacksonville Jaguars, who even with their talented defense still have Blake Bortles at QB? Maybe the Tennessee Titans who have been horribly inconsistent all year? Or would you prefer Brees get another crack by facing the GOAT?
If the Saints don’t make it to the Super Bowl, what combination of teams would you prefer to see? Maybe #2 on Sessler’s list: the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers? Or maybe you’d hope for Brady to crush Atlanta’s dreams again?
Let me know who out of the AFC you’d want the Saints face in Super Bowl LII and what teams you’d prefer make it if the Saints get eliminated this week. Tell me in the comments. Send me presents.