One way or another, Super Bowl LII will feature a rematch. Here’s why.
It is all but decided that the AFC representative for Super Bowl LII will be either the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to the latest Super Bowl odds released by the Las Vegas Westgate Super Book, The AFC has but two teams (New England and Pittsburgh) with a reasonable chance to win Super Bowl LII.
Odds to Win Super Bowl LII
|Los Angeles Rams||14-1|
|Los Angeles Chargers||30-1|
The Case for New England
After an unimpressive 2-2 start, New England sits at 9-2 and has been firing on all cylinders with the best offense in the NFL. The team’s only cause for concern on its remaining schedule is a game at Pittsburgh in week fifteen.
The Case for Pittsburgh
No one would be surprised if Pittsburgh (also 9-2) swept its remaining division matchups against Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Cleveland. It is expected that the matchup against New England will decide which of the two teams is the number one seed in the AFC playoffs and which is the number two.
New England faces 2-1 odds to win the Super Bowl, while Pittsburgh’s odds are 7-2. No other AFC team comes close. The next-closest contenders (Kansas City, Tennessee, the L.A. Chargers, and Jacksonville) sit at 30-1 odds.
The NFC, on the other hand, has seven teams with odds of 20–1 or better to win Super Bowl LII. Among the teams in the NFC fighting for a Super Bowl berth, plenty of intriguing opportunities for a Super Bowl rematch present themselves.
The Patriots and Steelers hold 17 combined Super Bowl appearances. Given the number of teams who are serious contenders in the NFC this season, some form of rematch is almost inevitable. Below are the possible matchups, from the most likely to least likely to occur.
Patriots vs. Eagles
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XXXIX: NE 24, PHI 21
Steelers vs. Vikings
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl IX: PIT 16, MIN 6
Patriots vs. Falcons
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl LI: NE 34, ATL 28
Patriots vs. Rams
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XXXVI: NE 20, STL 17
Steelers vs. Rams
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XIV: PIT 31, LA 19
It Could Happen
Patriots vs. Panthers
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XXXVIII: NE 32, CAR 29
Patriots vs. Seahawks
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XLIX: NE 28, SEA 24
USA Today Sports Images
Steelers vs. Seahawks
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XL: PIT 21, SEA 10
Patriots vs. Packers
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XXXI: GB 35, NE 21
Steelers vs. Packers
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XLV: GB 31, PIT 25
Steelers vs. Cowboys
Previous Meetings: Super Bowl X: PIT 21, DAL 17, Super Bowl XIII: PIT 35, DAL 31, Super Bowl XXX: DAL 27, PIT 17
Steelers vs. Cardinals
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XLIII: PIT 27, ARI 23
Not Gonna Happen
Patriots vs. Bears
Previous Meeting: Super Bowl XX: Chicago 46, NE 10
Patriots vs. Giants
Previous Meetings: Super Bowls XLII: NYG 17, NE 14, XLVI: NYG 21, NE 17
Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports
The arguments for each NFC team that could present us with one of the above Super Bowl rematches are outlined below.
The Case for Philadelphia
Philadelphia is number one on most NFL power rankings lists, and for a good reason. The Eagles are by far and away the best team in their division and are riding a nine-game win streak. The offense ranks first in points and third in yards and is led by the breakout season of its second-year quarterback, Carson Wentz. The additions of LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi have given Philly a rushing attack which ranks second in yards. If the team conducts business as usual, it will hold the number one seed in the NFC playoffs and use the cold weather at home to its advantage en route to Super Bowl LII.
The Case for Minnesota
Case Keenum has transcended the label of “band-aid” to become the legitimate starter for Minnesota this season. He has posted an impressive ratio of 14 touchdowns to five interceptions and his passer rating is ahead of Russell Wilson’s. Minnesota has a top-five offense and defense, ranking fifth on both sides of the ball. The NFC North is their division to lose. The Vikings are three games ahead of the second-place Detroit Lions and are playing their best football (even without star running back Dalvin Cook) in the midst of a seven-game win streak.
The Case for Atlanta
The defending NFC champs started out slow, but the Falcons have emerged victorious in their last three games and rank in the top ten in both offense and defense. The team has a great opportunity to prove itself against Minnesota this week, and wraps up the regular season with four straight divisional matchups which will decide its fate.
The Case for the Los Angeles Rams
The team that finished dead last in offense last year now ranks fourth in yards and second in points. The team has mastered the run-pass balance behind young stars Todd Gurley and Jared Goff. At 8-3, the first-place Rams control their own destiny. The team is coming off an impressive victory over New Orleans. Tough upcoming games against Philadelphia and Seattle will decide playoff seeding, but it is pretty understood that the Rams are going to the playoffs.
The Case for Carolina
Despite inconsistency from the offense, Carolina sits at 8-3 and is riding a four-game win streak. The squad’s defense ranks second in the NFL and the team has a chance this week to beat New Orleans and take sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
The Case for Seattle
Seattle ranks eighth in the league in both offense and defense. The team is one game behind the Los Angeles Rams and faces a crucial rematch which with them in week fifteen, which will probably decide the division. Even if Seattle has to settle for a wildcard spot, the team will rely on the wealth of postseason experience held by Head Coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson, which includes some notable playoff wins on the road in past years.
The Case for Dallas
Dallas’ 6-6 record is not indicative of their talent or potential, this season. The Cowboys were 5-3 before the suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott, and were putting up impressive offensive numbers, frequently scoring over 30 points per game. The team has finally won a game following Elliot’s suspension, defeating Washington on Thursday Night Football. Dallas has a manageable schedule in the next two weeks, including games against the New York Giants and Oakland. Elliot makes his return just in time for tougher matchups against Seattle and Philadelphia to close out the season. If the team can hold on until then, it has a shot at a wildcard spot.
The Case for Green Bay
As is the case with Dallas, Green Bay’s production is being severely hampered with the loss of its best offensive player. The Packers were 4-1 before Aaron Rodgers’ injury. The team has since dropped five of its last six games. Rodgers is heaving bombs in warm-ups and is allowed to return to the field in week 15 for matchups against Carolina, Minnesota, and Detroit. Winning out against these quality opponents could launch the team into the playoffs if the rest of the NFC plays out in the Pack’s favor.
The Case for Arizona
Arizona has suffered a couple of tough breaks this season, with its quarterback Carson Palmer and running back David Johnson not expected to return this year. The team’s manageable upcoming schedule outside of its division provides a sliver of hope. Upcoming opponents for the Cards include Tennessee, Washington, and the New York Giants. There is virtually no chance for Arizona to leapfrog either Seattle or the L.A. Rams in its division, but if the defense can create some turnovers and the team can squeeze out wins in four of its next five games, the Cardinals have an outside shot at a wildcard berth.
Given the wealth of Super Bowl history held by New England and Pittsburgh, and the plethora of possibilities presented by the contenders in the NFC, it is more likely than not that Super Bowl LII will feature a rematch. Which matchup are you rooting for? Comment below.
Edited by Brian Kang.
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