With seven teams representing each conference, there are 49 possible matchups for Super Bowl 56 matchups.

Of course, some are more likely than others, but the beauty of the NFL playoffs is that any team can get hot and win three to four games in order to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

The most glaring possibility available has to be a rematch of Super Bowl 55, as both the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are among the best teams in their respective conferences once again this season. But there are plenty of other possibilities on the table. Could Tom Brady return to the Super Bowl, only to find Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots on the other side? Can Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers finally break through to the Super Bowl after back-to-back losses in NFC Championship games, perhaps facing Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, who also suffered an AFC Championship Game loss last season?

Other top contenders to get over the hump and advance to the Super Bowl include the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers. With plenty of interesting potential matchups and storylines, here are my Top Ten Potential Super Bowl 56 matchups.

10. Tennessee Titans vs. Green Bay Packers

The first matchup on this list would pit each conference’s #1 seed against each other, with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2011, and the Tennessee Titans not appearing in the big game since falling just short to the Rams in 2000. Two #1 seeds meeting up usually means the best two teams in the league are playing each other, but even with a healthy Derrick Henry, the case can be made the Titans are not the best team in the AFC this year.

Still, this would be an interesting matchup with two fresh teams. While almost every other matchup on this list pairs offensive powerhouses that rely mostly on the passing game, this matchup could feature different styles with a pass-happy Green Bay offense and run-heavy Tennessee attack led by a healthy Henry. Ryan Tannehill would make his first Super Bowl start in this scenario, after nearly reaching the game two seasons ago.

9. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys

You’ll see these two teams a few times on this list, making their potential meeting a no-brainer for inclusion. The Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys are two of the most popular teams in the NFL right now, and both feature high-flying offenses led by Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott. This meeting would be popcorn-ready for hardcore and casual NFL fans alike, and the ratings would likely be through the roof.

This matchup doesn’t rank higher because as good as the Cowboys offense can be, Dallas hasn’t consistently showed up against playoff-caliber teams, and the Cowboys are probably the fourth-best team in the NFC. While it would be a fun and buzz-worthy matchup, there’s simply better teams Kansas City could square off against. I also value fresh contenders, and while Dallas returning to the Super Bowl for the first time in my life (I was born just two months after their 1996 win,) the Chiefs returning for the third straight season wouldn’t be quite as exciting.

8. Cincinnati Bengals vs. Arizona Cardinals

I just talked about valuing fresh teams making it to the Super Bowl, and it would be hard to get much fresher than this. The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t made a Super Bowl since 1988, while the Arizona Cardinals fell to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in 2009. Most importantly, this game would feature two young guns that could run the league for years to come: Joe Burrow and Kyler Murray. With the last five Super Bowl’s having either Mahomes, Brady, or both at quarterback, seeing two new fresh faces would be exciting.

After catching heat at the end of the season to win the AFC North, a Super Bowl 56 isn’t too unlikely for Cincinnati. But Arizona would have to rebound from a late-season skid, as well as win the NFC from a wildcard position, in order for this matchup to happen.

7. New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys

America’s team versus… America’s team? The Dallas Cowboys are one of if not the most popular teams in the NFL. Even with Tom Brady out of the picture, the New England Patriots have gained a massive following over the past two decades. While the matchup would be even more highly anticipated with Brady under center, Bill Belichick, Mac Jones, and the Patriots would still be welcome to return to the NFL’s biggest stage.

Besides being two of America’s most-loved teams, the Cowboys and Patriots are also among the most despised teams in the league. At the end of the day, almost everyone would have someone to root for, or against. It would likely be one of the most-talked about Super Bowls in recent years, though overshadowing Super Bowl 55’s Mahomes-Brady matchup would be a tall task.

Again, this matchup doesn’t rank higher because the Cowboys are the fourth-best team in the NFC, while the Patriots are the fifth-best team in the AFC (in my opinion, not seeding-wise.) But if it’s any consolation, Dallas beat New England in a thrilling 35-29 overtime game earlier this season, and if their Super Bowl matchup was anything like that, we’d be in for a treat.

6. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams

This matchup was highly anticipated in Super Bowl 54, with fans clamoring for a Super Bowl rematch after the Los Angeles Rams beat the Chiefs 54-51 on Monday Night Football in the regular season. While a couple things have changed since then: the Rams aren’t quite as dominant as they were that season, and Los Angeles also swapped out Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, the matchup would still be welcome for NFL fans in 2022.

Mahomes and Stafford would go toe-to-toe with their electric offenses, and Odell Beckham Jr. would get the chance to make his Super Bowl debut. This would be a big game, and feature two of the best teams in the league as of this season.

5. Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys

Instead of two franchises that NFL fans love to hate meeting in the Super Bowl, this matchup would pit America’s most polarizing team against one of the league’s most rowdy and passionate fan bases: the Buffalo Bills.

Dak Prescott and Josh Allen are two of the league’s most talented passers, and this game could potentially be a shootout, with Dallas and Buffalo both proving multiple times this season they can score in bunches when called upon.

Buffalo would probably be favored in this matchup, with a superior defense, but anything would be possible once the game was actually played. This would also be a rematch of both Super Bowl’s 27 and 28, which the Cowboys won, so Buffalo could look for revenge two-and-a-half decades later.

4. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There hasn’t been a Super Bowl rematch in consecutive seasons since the Cowboys and Bills met in 1993 and 1994. But with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers continuing to be two of the best teams in the league this season, there’s a solid chance Super Bowl 56 is a rematch of Super Bowl 55.

Super Bowl 55 featured one of the most exciting storylines of all time, with Mahomes seeking back-to-back titles against Brady, the most successful postseason quarterback of all-time. Brady entered the matchup with six rings, and emerged victorious to earn his seventh ring.

If this meeting happens again in 2022, it will be a high-profile rematch, but hopefully the product on the field would be better. The Buccaneers cruised to a 31-9 win in one of the least competitive Super Bowls in recent memory last February. As long as that doesn’t happen again, a rematch in Super Bowl 56 would be must-watch television.

3. Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers

This just feels like it would be a great football game. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills had one of the most electric offenses in the league in 2021-22, averaging the third-most points per game in the league at 28.4, with a ninth-ranked passing offense and sixth-ranked rushing offense. Buffalo also posted an NFL-low17.0 points per game allowed on defense. The Bills were still far from perfect, with a 2-4 record against eventual playoff teams, but even in their losses, the Bills played tough and thrilling games.

The Green Bay Packers numbers don’t jump off the page quite as much, but they’re still well above average, with an eighth-ranked passing offense and 18th-ranked rushing offense combining for a 10th-ranked scoring offense (26.5 PPG) while allowing 21.8 PPG. It’s a winning formula for the Packers, who finished with the best record in the NFL and a 13-2 record when Rodgers plays the whole game.

A good old-fashioned duel between Allen’s Bills and Rodgers’ Packers would be an epic conclusion to the 2021-22 NFL season. This matchup was also my preseason pick as well as my current projection on my playoff bracket. Both these teams fell one game short of appearing in Super Bowl 55, but this year, they advance to Super Bowl 56 and deliver an all-around great game.

2. New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In some entries on this list, I docked points for not featuring the best teams from each conference. But even if the New England Patriots aren’t entering the playoffs red-hot, this potential matchup is too juicy to ignore.

In one corner, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, looking to become the NFL’s first back-to-back Super Bowl winners since… Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2004 and 2005. With an eighth Super Bowl ring and two with the Buccaneers, Brady could theoretically ride a Super Bowl 56 win into the sunset and retire, after still leading the league in passing at age 44. Brady would have quite literally nothing left to prove, with two Super Bowl wins not in a Patriots uniform and elite play even as he approaches 45 years old.

But all that could get thrown out the window if Brady’s former head coach, Bill Belichick, could find a way to put the Patriots on top and leave Brady at a crossroads. Brady and Belichick won six Super Bowls together in New England, and Brady facing the only other constant force in the Patriots dynasty would make for an instant classic. The Patriots may not have the strongest team in the AFC on paper, but if there’s anything Belichick can do, it’s get the most out of his players. Mac Jones could also become the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl, and doing so against the most decorated postseason quarterback of all-time would be even more insane.

The Buccaneers are the hotter team right now, but when these two teams met in Week 4, the outcome couldn’t have been closer. Tampa Bay won 19-17 in New England, with the Patriots missing a 56-yard field goal in the final minute. If Super Bowl 56 could deliver a similar outcome, it would instantly become one of the most memorable Super Bowls of all-time.

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers

It’s only fair that the best possible Super Bowl 56 matchup features the best two teams in the league: the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. While Kansas City didn’t earn the #1 seed in the AFC, they finished tied for the best record in the conference, and closed the season on a red-hot 9-1 stretch. Throw in the fact that the Chiefs represented the AFC in the last two Super Bowls, and it’s easy to see why Kansas City is the team to beat in their conference: sorry Tennessee.

The storyline would be a little different than last year’s Super Bowl, but would still feature a similar tale: young Patrick Mahomes, continuing to take the league by storm, squaring off against Aaron Rodgers, an established multiple-time MVP-winning quarterback destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after he hangs up his cleats.

Perhaps the most unique wrinkle to this matchup would be that both quarterbacks would be seeking their second Super Bowl ring, where as last season the stakes were lower for Brady, who had already won six rings and had less to prove. This could be one of the final opportunities for Rodgers to add a second ring to his resume, but Mahomes will be looking for a second ring of his own, just much earlier in his career.

The Packers and Chiefs meeting in Super Bowl 56 is the best-case scenario for NFL fans, and as an added bonus, it would be a rematch of the very first Super Bowl, which the Packers won in 1967.

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