Imagine that. Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas is now officially less than two months away. The 2023 NFL regular season is going by at a fever pace.
Even then, teams have separated themselves from the pack. The San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys look to be the top teams in the NFC. Over in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins (despite a recent setback) look to be the cream of the crop.
In no way does this mean we won’t see last season’s Super Bowl teams in that of the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagle get involved. Heck, the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars might have something to say about this.
As the league prepares for Super Bowl LVIII, we figured it made sense to take a late-season look at seven matchups fans would love to see.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Dallas Cowboys
Here’s some trivia for the youngsters out there. The Kansas City Chiefs were originally the Dallas Texans and actually won the AFL Championship in 1962. They moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs, enabling the Dallas Cowboys to become the first modern-era NFL expansion team (insert “the more you know” meme here).
These two teams obviously have a long and rich history. It’s one rooted in the Chiefs winning two recent Super Bowls with Dallas failing to have made it as far as the NFC Championship Game since all the way back in 1995.
Imagine the narratives here. Dak Prescott going up against Patrick Mahomes in an attempt to lead “America’s Team” back to the NFL mountaintop. An upstart Cowboys team (imagine that) taking on a Chiefs squad that many view to be in the initial stages of a dynasty.
The backdrop here would be always-boisterous Cowboys owner Jerry Jones taking on an “old friend” in that of former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid. Boy, it would be a popcorn-worthy time in Sin City for this one.
Baltimore Ravens vs Philadelphia Eagles
Some more history for you. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh got his start in the professional ranks as the Eagles’ special teams coordinator form 1998-2006. After one season as their defensive backs coach, Harbaugh headed to Baltimore. It was a surprising hire for a Ravens team that had enjoyed Super Bowl-winning success under then-coach Brian Billick.
Fast forward 16 years, and Harbaugh’s history with the Ravens is now well known. However, they have won only two playoff games since earning the Super Bowl title following the 2012 season. Now back on top of the AFC standings, Harbaugh is looking to change the narrative.
Speaking of narratives, the Eagles were so close to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy last February before falling short against the Chiefs. They have an MVP candidate in Jalen Hurts as well as two elite-level receivers in that of DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown.
Imagine the fireworks that would be on display inside Allegiant Stadium if Hurts were to go up against Lamar Jackson. A former NFL MVP who is in the race this season going up against one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. It would be akin to when Hurts took on Mahomes last February.
Related: Updated NFL power rankings
Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl LVIII featuring the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas. Who could write a better script? The 49ers going for the Lombardi in the home of their former Northern California rivals. The strip filled with 49ers fans. That’s one backdrop to this potential matchup.
Sure, everyone outside of Harbaugh on the current iteration of these teams had nothing to do with Super Bowl XLVII back in February of 2013. But that’s considered one of the best big games in modern history with Baltimore coming out on top by the score of 34-31.
On the field, this would be one heck of a matchup. Lamar Jackson going up against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Upstart sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy looking to etch his name in stone of 49ers franchise lore while leading the team to its first Super Bowl title since January of 1995. Christmas night in Santa Clara between these two teams could be a harbinger of things to come.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Philadelphia Eagles
Doug Pederson was the Eagles’ head coach back in 2020 when he benched Carson Wentz for rookie Jalen Hurts. It was one of Pederson’s final major moves in Philadelphia before being shown the door quicker than a knock-off steak sandwich.
We all love storylines leading up to the big game. It’s needed with two weeks in between the Conference Championship Sunday and the Super Bowl. Boy, would this one provide the storyline to end all storylines.
Unlike former Eagles head coach Andy Reid taking on the Birds in last season’s Super Bowl, Pederson actually led Philadelphia to a Lombardi Trophy. He was the toast of the city. He was the brother in “Brotherly Love.” Within just three short years, he was a forgotten man.
On the field, the idea of Hurts going up against his former head coach and an upstart Jaguars team would be full of storylines. It’s what the NFL had envisioned when it awarded Super Bowl LVIII to Las Vegas.
Related: Updated NFL QB rankings
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Detroit Lions
Speaking of the Jaguars, they are one of 12 NFL teams that have not won a Super Bowl. They are joined by the Lions on this not-so-friendly list. The Jags are also the second-newest team to not have hoisted the Lombardi, behind the Houston Texans.
While Jacksonville’s history only goes back to the days of Michael Jordan’s return to the NBA and O.J. Simpson’s not-guilty verdict, Detroit has wasted away in futility for the better part of six decades. They have not won a playoff game since 1991 and last earned any type of championship back in 1957 when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.
We all love a feel-good story. What Dan Campbell has done in turning around the Lions represents one. He’s changed the culture in Detroit, made this team relevant and has it playing stellar football. It’s only rivaled by the Jaguars’ return to relevance under the aforementioned Pederson. These would be two great storylines to follow.
Houston Texans vs Dallas Cowboys
You want Super Bowl LVIII storylines? You get them all here. America’s Team playing for its first Lombardi Trophy since January of 1996. Rookie Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud looking to etch his name in NFL lore. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attempting to maintain his team’s control over the state of Texas. Dak Prescott proving his worth among the franchise’s all-time greats such as Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.
Sure, it is highly unlikely that a first-year head coach in DeMeco Ryans is able to join a rookie quarterback in leading the Texans to the Super Bowl. But we can all dream, right?
Two Texas teams doing battle in the entertainment capital of the world with the Lombardi Trophy on the line. Heck, the two weeks leading up to this game might be funner than the three hours or so the two would be on the field.
Related: Updated NFL defense rankings
Miami Dolphins vs San Francisco 49ers
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel going up against his former mentor in Kyle Shanahan. An offense that scored 70 points in a game earlier this season taking on another offense that’s hit a new level under sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy. Fins signal caller Tua Tagovailoa joining Purdy atop the NFL MVP conversation. Two former 49ers running backs — Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson — looking to stick it to the red and gold.
Meanwhile, Miami’s last Super Bowl appearance resulted in a 38-16 drubbing at the hands of the dynastic 49ers back in January of 1985. It was Dan Marino’s only real chance to hoist that Lombardi. He was outplayed by Joe Montana as the 49ers would win their second of four titles in the 1980s.
On the field, this would just be an absolute blast. Two dynamic offenses and two young quarterbacks going at it. San Francisco’s elite-level defense trying to stop Tua bombs to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. You want fireworks? Well, hope for this one.