Heading into Conference Championship weekend, there are four potential Super Bowl Matchups remaining on deck:
- San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens
- San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens
- Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs
NFL fans’ wants and desires for which of those matchups will be played out in the Big Game only count for so much; the script is already written, of course. However, with Super Bowl 58 kicking off just around the corner, we decided to ask NFL fans from around the league which matchup they’d most want to watch. You know, just in case the scriptwriters are listening and are down for a rewrite.
Incredibly, three of the four possible remaining matchups are rematches from the 2023 regular season. The fourth possible matchup is a rematch of a Super Bowl we watched just under four years ago. So… which of these games do the great NFL fans of SB Nation hope to see in two weeks time?
49ers vs. Chiefs (13% of voters)
It’s not super surprising that just a sliver of voters want to watch the Kyle Shanahan-Andy Reid Bowl play out on Feb. 11; we literally just watched this one play out four years ago in Super Bowl LVI. We all know how that one ended, of course. Patrick Mahomes won his first ring in what was a much simpler time. It was a time where most NFL fans, regardless of which fanbase they belonged to, were still mystified by the boy wonder, his no-look passes and side-armed throws that always seemed to cut through coverage like a lightsaber. Now, there’s just a sense of disillusionment watching Mahomes play, not because his skills weren’t as previously described, but rather because it’s way cooler to see him dice up OTHER NFL teams. Not yours. Once he dices up your favorite team, it’s only a matter of time before flashbacks of the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick dynasty set in.
Kyle Shanahan’s team is also still Kyle Shanahan’s team, too. The system is still the system, even though it’s certainly peaked with plenty of upgrades, including the additions of Brock Purdy at quarterback and star receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who they drafted just two months following that very Super Bowl loss. Their defense, also with a different cast of characters, remains elite. In short, though these two teams are different, it still feels like the same story. It doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching; just that it’s not your first choice. And that’s okay. It’s kind of like how I would prefer to just re-watch Grease yet another time instead of ever taking the time to watch Grease 2. Give me the OG or give me a whole new movie, please. Next!
Ravens vs. 49ers (23% of voters)
The second-least preferred Super Bowl matchup, according to the great voters at SB Nation, is the San Francisco 49ers against the Baltimore Ravens. In case you’re picking up on the theme here, it’s that nobody wants to watch the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl – at least as long as the Detroit Lions are still in the running. We have proof of that, too, as a whopping 47% of fans say they’re cheering on the Lions to win the Super Bowl. Sorry, Cowboys. Your time as America’s Team may have run your course. It’s Motor City time!
The preference to watch the Ravens over the Chiefs in the Super Bowl is understandable, too. Though Kansas City came out to rally in the Divisional Round with TE Travis Kelce finally showing signs of life in the red zone once again, the Ravens are very simply the better team. On offense, that’s obvious, with the Chiefs having exceeded 30+ points just three times throughout this entire season. Their defense, meanwhile, which has been the saving grace for Kansas City amidst their offensive struggles, still pales in comparison to the Ravens, which leads the league with a -23.3% defensive DVOA, allowing a league-low 16.5 points per game. They’ve outscored the 49ers, Lions and Dolphins by a combined 127-44. So yeah, they’re definitely the better team.
In their first meeting back in Week 16, 49ers QB Brock Purdy threw for 255 passing yards, zero touchdowns and four interceptions for an NFL passer rating of 42.6 – the worst he’s ever had in a career start. If this is the matchup we’re destined for, please, oh please, let it be a more competitive showing from the Bay.
Lions vs. Ravens (31% of voters)
Now we get to the juicy preferences. Here come the Lions! Thirty-one percent of voters indicated they’d like to see a Lions-Ravens matchup in Super Bowl 58. It’s interesting, considering their first matchup earlier this season was not exactly an evenly matched thriller, either. In that Week 5 matchup, the Ravens handed the Lions their worst loss of the season, holding them to a season-low six points and the third-lowest yardage output (337) they’d post all season.
Given the way NFL fans have rallied around Detroit this season as the ultimate underdog, I’m forced to assume that anyone voting for a Lions-Ravens Super Bowl is a Baltimore fan. Enough said.
Chiefs vs. Lions (33% of voters)
There you have it, folks. One-third of NFL fans think we should close out the 2023-24 NFL season in the exact same way it started – with a showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions. Personally, I think there are two reasons the majority of voters would like to see a Chiefs-Lions Super Bowl. First, it would make a pretty cool story to see the season book-ended by the same game. In fact, it would mark the first time ever that the Super Bowl would feature the two teams featured in the NFL Kickoff game since it was introduced back in the 2002 season.
The second reason folks might be interested in a Chiefs-Lions Super Bowl is that it seems the likeliest pathway to the Lions’ first-ever Super Bowl win. Not only did the Lions win over the Chiefs 21-20 in their first meeting on the road in Arrowhead; they also played a much better and complete season than the Chiefs did, top-to-bottom. Despite that success, it pales in comparison to the success of the Ravens, who already walloped the Lions earlier this season with a 38-6 victory. So, anyone rooting for the Lions moving forward is probably going to hope they face the Chiefs rather than the Ravens.
If this did, in fact, play out to be the Super Bowl LVIII matchup… prepare to see NFL fans united in support of Jared Goff & Co. in a way we’ve seldom seen before. Dan Campbell and castaway Jared Goff taking down the NFL’s golden child? That’s biting kneecaps at its finest, baby.