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Super Bowl LVII: Ranking the 4 potential matchups

We will soon find out what the Super Bowl LVII matchup in Arizona on Feb. 12 is going to be. Championship Sunday is nearly upon us.

The doubleheader opens up at 3:00 PM ET in the NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and homestanding Philadelphia Eagles. San Francisco has won 12 consecutive games heading in and will square off with NFL MVP finalist Jalen Hurts and the top seed Eagles.

Later in the day, a rematch of the AFC Championship Game from a season ago will kickoff at 6:30 PM ET from Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will host the red-hot defending conference champion Kansas City Chiefs.

With four teams remaining alive in the NFL Playoffs, there’s only four possible matchups for Super Bowl LVII. Below, we rank them from worst to first.

Related: Sportsnaut’s Super Bowl LVII predictions

4. Cincinnati Bengals vs Philadelphia Eagles

super bowl lvii matchups: cincinnati bengals vs philadelphia eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no real history between the Eagles and Bengals. They last played back in Week 3 of the 2020 season with the game ending in a 23-23 tie. The two teams also combined for eight wins that season.

Despite this, there would be some intrigue to an Eagles-Bengals Super Bowl LVII matchup. Two stud young quarterbacks in Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts going at it. For football fans, this wouldn’t be an unfamiliar scene.

These two went up against one another in the College Football Playoffs to conclude the 2019 season with Burrow’s LSU Tigers destroying Hurts and the Oklahoma Sooners by the score of 63-28. Burrow continued his record-setting season by throwing for nearly 500 yards with seven touchdown passes. Hurts completed just 15-of-31 passes for 217 yards in what was ultimately his final collegiate game.

In addition to this, Zac Taylor of the Bengals and NFL Coach of the Year finalist Nick Sirianni are going to be mainstays in the playoffs for years to come. That would add to the intrigue here, too.

Related: Ranking the head coaches heading into NFL Championship Sunday

3. Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers

super bowl lvii matchups: kansas city chiefs, san francisco 49ers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The only reason this is so low on the list of potential Super Bowl LVII matchups is the fact that Kansas City and San Francisco played in the big game four years ago. Just a couple weeks before a pandemic would shut down the world, 62,417 people packed inside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami to watch Super Bowl LIV.

San Francisco took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, only to see Mahomes and Co. score 21 unanswered in the final stanza to give Andy Reid his first Lombardi Trophy.

With that said, things have changed big time since this meeting. The 49ers are relying on a completely new backfield with rookie quarterback Brock Purdy and all-world running back Christian McCaffrey. Tyreek Hill is starring in South Beach for the Dolphins.

This doesn’t mean a Chiefs-49ers matchup come February wouldn’t be awesome. We’d just have to deal with two weeks of worn-out narratives from the media focusing on a game from yesteryear that pre-dated what we’d see come Feb. 12.

Related: Joe Burrow vs Patrick Mahomes preview

2. Cincinnati Bengals vs San Francisco 49ers

super bowl lvii matchups: cincinnati bengals vs san francisco 49ers
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Here’s a rivalry that predates the modern era. The last time these two teams played in the Super Bowl, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was nine years old. His father was was the then-Los Angeles Raiders head coach and would be joining San Francisco’s coaching staff a couple years later.

Nearly 35 years after San Franciso defeated Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXIII for its second win over the Bengals in the big game during the 1980s, these two teams could do battle once again.

The storylines almost write themselves. Zac Taylor is a product of the Shanahan coaching tree dating back to his days as the Los angeles Rams quarterbacks coach under Sean McVay. Both Shanahan and Taylor could also be seen as a product of the Bill Walsh coaching tree. The same thing can be said about Cincinnati’s head coach in Super Bowl XXIII, Sam Wyche, who coached under Walsh with the 49ers from 1979-82. Generations later, and these late-great coaches are linked.

From an on-field perspective, this Bengals-49ers matchup in Super Bowl LVII would be all sorts of epic. NFL MVP finalist Joe Burrow leading his team up against the NFL’s best defense while riding an 11-game winning streak. San Francisco looking to join the perfect 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only team in league history to win 14 consecutive games to close out a season. Imagine the storylines.

Related: Top Kansas City Chiefs teams of all-time

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Reid led the Philadelphia Eagles to the most-sustained success in franchise history from 1999-2012. That span saw the future Hall of Famer make nine playoff appearances and a conference championship. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they opted to fire Reid following the 2012 season.

As Philadelphia missed out on the playoffs four of the next five seasons and had to deal with Chip Kelly on the sidelines, Reid headed to Kansas City and started to build a juggernaut. In an interesting turn, Philadelphia would actually hoist the Lombardi following the 2017 season under Reid’s former pupil, Doug Pederson.

In and of itself, this would make for a major backdrop to a potential Chiefs-Eagles Super Bowl LVII matchup. That’s especially true with Reid now attempting for his second Lombardi against his former team.

But there’s a lot more that would go into this hypothetical matchup. Jalen Hurts looking to prove that he’s on the same level as likely NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City’s top-ranked scoring offense going tit-for-tat with an Eagles offense that scored the third-most points in the NFL. This would be the prime matchup from both a storylines and on-field perspective. It’s not necessarily that close.