2011 NFL Playoffs: Ranking the Top 16 Super Bowl Matchups

Enough of the previews, predictions, power rankings and all those other NFL Playoff topics right now. Let’s focus on the pinnacle and goal what every team is striving for.

The Super Bowl.

With six teams in each conference, there are 36 distinct possible Super Bowl match-ups.

Now, these aren’t a ranking of the best teams, or the teams that have the best chance of getting to the Super Bowl, although you will see the best teams in each conference at the top.

They are rather a ranking of the most compelling Super Bowl match-ups, and those consist of better teams.

That is why you will see the Patriots, Steelers, Eagles, and Falcons near the top.

I know that a lot of you will disagree with most of this list, but this is just my opinion

For an article featuring the entire ranking of Super Bowl matchups, click here.

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16. Green Bay Packers Vs. Baltimore Ravens

If you want to see a great defensive battle, then this is the match-up for you. The Packers are led by Clay Matthews and the Ravens are still led by Ray Lewis.

This would be as hard-of hitting match-up in the Super Bowl out there. But if you’re a fan of offensive football, this isn’t the game for you.

Sure Aaron Rogers and Joe Flacco are some great young quarterbacks, but I don’t think they would have much success against the opposing defense.

Maybe it’s just me, but America wants to see an offensive battle as opposed to a defensive battle. We want to see points on the board, not punts.

Prediction: Packers over Ravens

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15. Green Bay Packers Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

“The Battle of the Hair.”

Clay Matthews in one corner and Troy Polamalu in the other.

This game, like most games featuring the Ravens, Steelers, Packers, and Bears, are to me looked at as defensive battles.

These would be games where both defenses would be dominant over the other teams offense.

I would find these match-ups very compelling, but in regards to America, we want to see an offensive showcase in the Super Bowl.

We want to see the Eagles, Patriots, and Falcons.

Prediction: Steelers over Packers

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14. Atlanta Falcons Vs. Indianapolis Colts

Is Matt Ryan the next Peyton Manning?

I am not saying that he should be mentioned in the same breath as Manning, but should these two meet in the Super Bowl. Would this conversation begin to start?

This would be more of an offensive showcase than those defensive match-ups that I just mentioned.

I could be wrong, but I think America wants to see points in its biggest game, not punts.

I think that this would be a great game, but there are better games that could be played.

Prediction: Falcons over Colts

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13. New Orleans Saints Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

This would be rematch of their week eight battle which the Saints won 20-10.

Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger are both quarterbacks that have won Super Bowls before so they know what it takes to hoist a Lombardi Trophy.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Falcons fan, but I just don’t want to see the Saints in the Super Bowl again.

I could be wrong, but I think America wants another NFC representative in the Super Bowl this year—and hopefully that’s something that the Falcons or Eagles can make sure happen.

This would still be a great game though, each quarterback trying to win another ring would be something special to watch.

It’s just not something that I want to see and something that I don’t America wants to see either.

Prediction: Steelers over Saints

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12. New Orleans Saints Vs. Baltimore Ravens

This would be a rematch of their week 15 match-up which the Ravens won at home 30-24.

The first game was a great game to watch.

Ray Rice was able to gash the Saints defense for 153 yards.

This would be a good rematch, but do people really want to see two wildcard teams in the Super Bowl.

We have shown the ability to root for one wild card team, but could we really handle two of them in the biggest stage.

Do we really want to see two teams that didn’t even win their division to play in the Super Bowl?

I’m not saying they aren’t good, but we would rather see the Steelers, Patriots, Falcons, Eagles, and Bears.

Prediction: Saints over Ravens

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11. Philadelphia Eagles Vs. Baltimore Ravens

We want to see Mike Vick run around the field and we want to see Ray Lewis chase him.

When you get to these last 10 or 11 match-ups it truly becomes a difficult task to rank these games.

The Ravens don’t have the best offense in the NFL, and the Eagles don’t have close to the best defense i in the NFL.

But the Ravens have a defense we want to see in a Super Bowl and the Eagles have the offense we want to see.

Even with that said, this game would still be a very entertaining game featuring two of the best teams in the NFL—but then again, so are all of these match-ups from now on.

Prediction: Eagles over Ravens

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10. Philadelphia Eagles Vs. Indianpolis Colts

Here it is. The top 10. These are the games that that we really want to see.

And let’s start with a match-up featuring Michael Vick versus Peyton Manning

New school versus old school.

This would be a game featuring the two extremes of quarterback play in the NFL.

Yes, the Colts have struggled, but Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning. He is still someone that we want to see in the Super Bowl.

And we would love to see Manning play Michael Vick and the Eagles in the Big One.

Can Michael Vick truly redefine the definition of a quarterback and lead a team to a Super Bowl with his abilities?

This game would answer all of these questions and then some. This would be a great game to watch.

Prediction: Eagles over Colts

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9. Atlanta Falcons Vs. Baltimore Ravens

Remember the first match-up between these teams on a Thursday night in primetime.

I know, I was at that game.

The Ravens drive down the field to score a go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute left, only to see Matt Ryan connect with Roddy White on a 33-yard, game-winning touchdown.

A rematch would have similar results. These teams are evenly matched as the first game between these two teams.

I am not all for rematches in the Super Bowl, but whether you like it or not, this would be a great game.

Neither team has received the respect that they deserved from the media this year. One thing is for sure is if they reach this stage they won’t be ignored.

Prediction: Falcons over Ravens

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8. New Orleans Saints Vs Indianapolis Colts

Who wins their second ring—Peyton Manning or Drew Brees?

This game would be an offensive shootout because neither of these teams’ defense is that good.

Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have both struggled this year, but if they reach this stage they will be coming into this game on fire.

They would each be able to pick apart the other teams defense and there would be a lot of points put on this board.

And in the Super Bowl, that is exactly what we want—points.

Prediction: Saints over Colts

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7. Chicago Bears Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Time for the last defensive showcase on this list.

Let me make it clear, that I love defensive battles. Some say that it can’t be a good game unless both offenses are in rhythm—but I really do love defensive battles.

But the reason this comes in at number seven is because as a nation you want to see an offensive thriller in the Super Bowl.

This would be a great game. Both quarterbacks have shown that they can shine in big moments—but Big Ben is the one with the rings.

Say what you want to about Jay Cutler, but this guy can be good—and if he reaches the Super Bowl he will prove that to everybody.

I would love this game, but you, as a nation would rather see one of the top six match-ups. It really is hard to go wrong with any game in the top 10-15.

Prediction: Steelers over Bears

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6. New Orleans Saints Vs. New England Patriots

Even though the Saints are a five seed, they are still a team that would make a compelling opponent for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Drew Brees and the Saints trying to win back-to-back Super Bowls on one side, and Tom Brady going for his fourth.

This would be a great match-up and a game that we want to see, but then again, so are all of these top ten match-ups.

Tom Brady has shown that he is invincible this past season, while Drew Brees has struggled. But both of these quarterbacks have shown their ability to lead their teams to victories in big time games.

This would be a very big game and one in which both of these quarterbacks will shine.

And that is why it is a very compelling game and it is one that we want to see.

Prediction: Patriots over Saints

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5. Green Bay Packers Vs. New England Patriots

Remember the first game between these two teams, and how the Packers played the Patriots tough—with Matt Flynn at QB.

Imagine what a rematch would be like with Aaron Rogers leading the Packers instead of Matt Flynn.

I am not trying to take anything away from what Matt Flynn did, but Aaron Rogers would make this a much better rematch.

And who doesn’t want to see the Packers avoid kicking to Dan Connolly. That return a couple weeks ago will be talked about for a while.

Tom Brady already has three rings and Aaron Rogers will be playing for his first.

I don’t care that Green Bay is the No. 6 seed and the Patriots are the No. 1 seed, this would be a great game to watch and that is why it comes in at number five.

Prediction: Patriots over Packers

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4. Philadelphia Eagles Vs. Pittburgh Steelers

There is a good reason why the games involving both the Patriots or Steelers and the Falcons or Eagles are mentioned in the top four compelling match-ups.

That is because these are the best teams in the NFL and they have proved it so far in the regular season.

I am also under the assumption that people want to see the best teams in the Super Bowl.

I know the Bears beat the Eagles and they have a better record, but I think that the majority of NFL fans would rather see Mike Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.

In the first of these match-ups we have “The Battle of Pennsylvania.”

A Steelers-Eagles game would not only be interesting to the state of Pennsylvania, but also to the entire NFL.

There is no one saying that what Vick or Roethlisberger was right, but seeing these athletes make a comeback journey all the way to the Super Bowl would truly be a great story—and I don’t care who you are.

Prediction: Eagles over Steelers

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3. Atlanta Falcons Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

This would be a rematch of the first game of the season in which the Pittsburgh Steelers won 15-9 in overtime.

Say what you want to about that being a bad game to watch, but both teams are much improved.

The Falcons have found a running game and the Steelers found Ben Roethlisberger off the suspended list.

Both teams have shown improvement from their first game of the season,

Neither of these teams truly has simply the best offense or the best defense, but these are two of the best teams in the NFL.

Their record proves it, and we want to see two of the best teams in the NFL in the Super Bowl and that is why this match-up comes in at number three.

Prediction: Falcons over Steelers

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2. Atlanta Falcons Vs. New England Patriots

Picking between the Patriots-Eagles and Patriots-Falcons was a very difficult choice.

But in the end I had to go with the Eagles-Patriots for the most compelling match-up.

What made it harder was my allegiance to the Atlanta Falcons. Call me a homer all you want, but I really do think that people want to see the best team in the NFC in the Super Bowl—the Atlanta Falcons.

I don’t care what the people on the major sports networks say, this Atlanta Falcons team is a really good one.

In this game Matt Ryan would truly emerge as a top-tier QB in the NFL if he isn’t there already.

Neither of these defenses is anything special.

Prediction: Patriots over Falcons

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1. Philadelphia Eagles Vs. New England Patriots

I really struggled between these two match-ups. Patriots-Eagles and Patriots-Falcons was just too close to call.

The Patriots are the best in the AFC, and the Falcons are the best in the NFC.

But I just have a feeling that people would rather see the top two NFL MVP candidates in the ultimate game.

Michael Vick continues his comeback journey and Tom Brady goes for his fourth Super Bowl ring.

The Patriots-Eagles would truly be must-watch television.

Two completely different styles of QB play would be showcased in this match-up.

Neither defense has shown that they are force to truly be reckoned with, but it’s not like we want to see a good defensive battle in the Super Bowl.

As I have said before, we want points, not punts.

This would be a game with a lot of storylines, points, and a game that we want to see in the Super Bowl more than any other game.

Prediction: Patriots over Eagles

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Summary: Projecting Each Teams Super Bowl Record

What I have done here is compiled the projected records of teams versus all the other conference teams in the Super Bowl should they make it.

For example. New England is listed at 6-0. This means that if they advance to the Super Bowl, I think that they will win against all six possible opponents.

I see the NFC winning in 19 of the 36 possible Super Bowl match-ups.

AFC:

1. New England Patriots: 6-0

2. Pittsburgh Steelers: 4-2

3. Kansas City Chiefs: 1-5

4. Indianapolis Colts: 3-3

5. Baltimore Ravens: 2-4

6. New York Jets: 1-5

NFC:

1. Atlanta Falcons: 5-1

2. Chicago Bears: 2-4

3. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-1

4. NFC West: 0-6

5. New Orleans Saints: 4-2

6. Green Bay Packers: 3-3

For an article featuring every NFL team’s easiest and toughest roads to the Super Bowl, click here.

For an article featuring the entire ranking of Super Bowl matchups, click here.

Topics: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

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  • John

    I think your Falcon bias has clouded your judgement a bit. I am not sure the Falcon’s could overcome the great defences from the AFC, such as the Raven’s. Ofcourse, you could make an argument as to which Raven’s team would show up, and then you may be right.

    But I cannot, for the life of me, understand how you would in all honesty, take the Falcons over the Steelers. What is the Steelers defence NOTORIOUS for doing. 2 Things: Stopping the run, and eating young quaterbacks alive. Matt Ryan has made great strides this year, but Lebeau and the Steelers would throw the kitchen sink at the Super Bowl, and I can’t see the Falcon’s offence having much success. 10-20 points seem likely.

    Lastly, I cannot forsee any circumstance where a Veteran, superbowl winning quaterback like Roethlisberger would not be able to score atleast 20, if not far more, on the Falcons. So, in summary, I cannot see any circumstance where anyone would TRULY pick the Falcons over the Raven’s or Steelers, and believe it.

  • Andrew Hill

    Last year the Packers and Steelers met in the regular season and this is what the “defensive” battle looked like. 37-36 Steelers. Rodgers had over 400 passing yards and Roethlisberger had over 500. There were 46 first downs in the game. If these teams match up in the SB I doubt it will be that high scoring, but it most certainly won’t be all about the defense.

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