Ranking possible matchups from best to worst | News Coverage from USA

Ranking possible matchups from best to worst

No matter which outcome emerges on Sunday, Super Bowl LIII will feature teams known for running offenses at an elite level. The four squads competing also happened to be the top four scoring offenses in the NFL. That’s not to discount the defenses playing in Sunday’s conference championship games, but points and quarterback play are king in terms of delivering ratings.

Here’s a look at the four possible Super Bowl matchups, ranked from best to worst by entertainment value:

1. Chiefs-Rams

For any indication of how much fun this game could be, look no further than the Week 11 shootout, an eventual 54-51 Rams victory in L.A. that was arguably the game of the year. The intrigue starts with innovative coaching staffs, led by Andy Reid in Kansas City and Sean McVay in Los Angeles. who constantly scheme players open and always look to push the ball down the field. In the last meeting, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Rams quarterback Jared Goff combined for 891 passing yards and 10 scores. Both offenses earned 1,011 total yards.

The battle would feature six all-pro selections, led by Rams running back Todd Gurley and Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill. So many fans and media said after the Nov. 19 matchup that they wouldn’t mind seeing a repeat in Atlanta. If it comes to fruition, we’re all in for a treat, except for those who favor games dominated by defense.

2. Patriots-Saints

If anything, this matchup sizzles because of two players: Tom Brady and Drew Brees. They’re two of the best quarterbacks ever to have played the sport and remain icons of their generation. Incredibly, if New England and New Orleans meet up in Atlanta, Brady (41) and Brees (turned 40 Tuesday) will have 81 years between them. That will break the record for oldest combined age (now at 78) between two starting quarterbacks in a playoff game, set Sunday in the divisional round matchup between Brady and Philip Rivers of the Chargers. Some more fun stats: Brady and Brees have combined for 12,590 completions, 144,951 passing yards, and 1,037 passing touchdowns in the regular season through their 37 years of experience. Throw in Saints running back Alvin Kamara, receiver Michael Thomas, ascending Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel and a pair of defenses that have steadily improved as the year has worn on, and it’s clear this matchup has all the makings of a thriller.

3. Chiefs-Saints

Though the Saints had the league’s third-ranked scoring offense this year (31.5 points per game), the team experienced a shift in the second half of the season. Over New Orleans’ last nine games, including the playoffs, it has allowed opposing offenses to score just 16.6 points a game after giving up 27.3 through the previous eight contests. Kansas City, on the other hand, has featured the most consistently explosive offense all season long, leading the league in scoring with 35.3 points a game. If both teams face off in Super Bowl LIII, it would be a showdown of strength on strength. But don’t sleep on the potential of a Mahomes-Brees matchup that would showcase a young passer who’s mastering arm angles and downfield throws (Mahomes) against the veteran who’s clinically accurate and fits passes into tight windows (Brees).

4. Patriots-Rams

If you love the Patriots, then you’re probably fine with this matchup. But if you have no rooting interest in Boston-area sports, you may be suffering from Patriots fatigue and looking for another team to claim the spotlight. And though this may be the least entertaining of the four possible outcomes, it still has plenty of star power. In particular, one matchup could be pivotal. Typically, the best way of disrupting Brady’s timing and making him uncomfortable in the pocket is by generating pressure on the interior. Well, the Rams’ defensive line features a pair of stars in the middle in defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. One other interesting story line would be the battle between the league’s most respected coach in Bill Belichick against one of the top, young minds changing the way the game is played on offense in Sean McVay.

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.


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