The only thing we know for sure about these playoffs is that they’re going to be awesome, but hidden within the brackets are a handful of top-5 NFL playoff matchups that we want to see. A lot of things need to shake out for some of these games to happen, but anything can happen in the playoffs. I mean, Joe Flacco was the Super Bowl MVP last February. Get your popcorn ready, and pray for these games to become reality.
Honorable Mention: San Francisco vs. New England (Super Bowl XLVIII)
This is not just a battle between great teams and incredible coaches, it’s Belichik and Tom Brady chasing down Bill Walsh and Joe Montana’s four rings against their former team.
5. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Super Bowl XLVIII)
There’s some temptation in seeing Alex Smith face the Niners because that would be a fun story, but for nearly a decade and a half, Andy Reid was the Philadelphia Eagles. He led them to a Super Bowl, several NFC Championship games and was clearly the best coach they’ve ever had. Chip Kelly’s has been incredible in his stead, engineering an offensive powerhouse is the top rated scoring attack in the league over the last two months, averaging 33.3 points per game. And Kansas has a viscous defense that is wildly underrated. This would be a great game that would also feature two of the most scintillating tailbacks in the playoffs with Shady and Charles.
I know that a Foles-Smith confrontation doesn’t really get the coals burning all that much, but the reason this is one of the top-5 NFL playoff matchups we want to see is because nothing would kill the City of Brotherly Love more than seeing Andy Reid win a Super Bowl against them. As if Philly hasn’t suffered enough…not that I mind…admit it, you like seeing them wallow in despair just as much as I do.
4. Carolina Panthers vs. Anybody (Divisional Round, NFC, Super Bowl)
The prevailing sentiment is that Carolina can’t come back from two-touchdown sentiments, and the injury to Steve Smith is certainly a big blow. But we’ve NEVER seen Cam Newton in the playoffs and we have no idea what he’s capable of. He’s just three seasons removed from the greatest rookie season I’ve ever seen a quarterback put together, and is finally complimented by a great defense that can get stops and create havoc at will.
This team can force any opponent in to an ugly game, and the Panthers are built to win frustrating matchups. Don’t believe me? Just ask New England, San Francisco and Seattle. And when they’re impossibly fun to watch when they’re rolling offensively. Any game with Cam Newton at this point in his career is a must-watch, which is why all of their playoff matchups will make any of my top-5 NFL playoff matchups we want to see list.
3. San Francisco 49ers -2.5 vs. Green Bay Packers (NFC Wild Card)
Aaron Rodgers grew up as a Niners fan, but this team has been a thorn in his side. The Niners are 3-0 SU in their last 3 games against Rodgers, and the Packers will be without Clay Matthews this weekend. But when two of the most storied and celebrated franchises in NFL history meet, it’s a can’t-miss game so my list of top-5 playoff matchups we want to see would be incomplete without it.
2. Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers (NFC Divisional Round)
If San Francisco beats Green Bay this weekend as -2.5 road favorites in the wild card round, they’ll visit their division rivals the following weekend and boy what a doozy that would be. These teams have two of the best defenses around, stout rushing attacks with bruising backs and two of the most promising, young quarterback talents in the NFL today. The Seahawks are not an actual rival of the Niners because the Packers and Cowboys have a much more storied history with them, but this particular matchup is easily one of the top-5 NFL playoff matchups that we want to see. Especially since it would be played in front of Seattle’s home crowd.
1. Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots (AFC Championship)
The only way these two teams meet is if they are able to squash the upstarts of the AFC. I’m not scared of Cincinnati on the road, Indianapolis stringing solid performances in back-to-back games or the Chargers. I have some qualms about the Chiefs but all signs point to another, epic Manning-Brady showdown. These guys are getting old. If you don’t have this rivalry in your top-5 NFL playoff matchups that we want to see, then you’re not doing it right.