The New York Jets have been the darlings of the 2023 offseason thanks to their trade for star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The future Hall of Famer’s presence coupled with the appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks has excitement for this squad reaching a fever pitch ahead of the upcoming season.
While it won’t be easy to deliver on the hype, Gang Green does have all the pieces in place to snap the league’s longest active playoff drought and make a Super Bowl run.
Should the Jets manage to reach their second Super Bowl ever—the team hasn’t been to the big game since Joe Namath delivered on his guarantee and willed his side to an upset over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969—there would be no squad more fitting for them to square off with than the Green Bay Packers.
Unlike the Jets, who have woefully underperformed in the NFL’s biggest market, the Packers have been one of the most consistent and successful franchises in league history despite playing in the smallest market. Green Bay has earned its ‘Titletown’ moniker and continues to claim that distinction by winning more NFL championships than any other city.
Rodgers directly contributed to the organization’s most recent banner, guiding the Packers past the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV to earn the lone ring of his decorated career. The 39-year-old would likely love a chance to add to his legacy while denying his former employer a record-extending 14th title.
While the Packers aren’t one of the top contenders this year—DraftKings gave them +6500 odds to win it all this year, tying them with the New England Patriots, New York Giants and Washington Commanders for the 21st-best—they shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
Quarterback Jordan Love should have all of the motivation he needs to succeed after sitting behind Rodgers for the last three seasons. His selection in the first round of the 2020 draft irritated his predecessor, starting off a chain of drama that ultimately led to Rodgers’ departure from Green Bay this summer.
Although Love has seen only limited NFL action, he has the tools to take his young team to the promised land in his first year as Green Bay’s QB1.
The Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers met in the Super Bowl twice during the 1980s and could once again duke it out with a title on the line this coming season. San Francisco won both of those prior championship tilts in closely contested battles, but it could be difficult to make it three in a row against this version of the Bengals.
Cincinnati has steadily morphed into a juggernaut following the selection of star quarterback Joe Burrow at the top of the 2020 draft. While his impressive rookie campaign was marred by a torn ACL, the young gunslinger bounced back to take his side all the way to the Super Bowl in his sophomore year. The upstart Bengals put up a great fight against a loaded, veteran-laden Los Angeles Rams squad, coming up just short after allowing a touchdown in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
The Bengals couldn’t defend their AFC championship last year—they fell by three to the Kansas City Chiefs in the conference title game—but they have a great shot to make it to Las Vegas in February. It would come as little surprise if the 49ers meet them there.
San Francisco has been borderline unstoppable when healthy in recent years. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has established himself as one of the top coaching minds in the business, and the front office has built a force around him on both sides of the ball. This combination has resulted in three NFC Championship Game berths and a Super Bowl appearance in the last four seasons.
While the Niners were embarrassed in the most recent conference title game, it’s incredible that the squad even made it that far. The team lost three starting quarterbacks to injury at various points in the year.
Factor in strong defensive units on both sides of this potential matchup, and you have the recipe for another great 49ers-Bengals Super Bowl. Each prior championship bout involving these teams was a one-score game, and the margins in a third would likely be razor-thin as well.
Super Bowl LVII was a riveting contest in which the Kansas City Chiefs narrowly edged out the Philadelphia Eagles to win their second Lombardi Trophy in four years. The rematch could be even better after both teams had a chance to feel one another out and made some notable personnel changes in the offseason to shore up weak points exposed in their first title tilt.
The Eagles bolstered a defense that already ranked No. 2 in the league last year in yards allowed by drafting a pair of Georgia stars fresh off back-to-back national championship runs. They selected a potential generational talent in Jalen Carter at No. 9 overall and then bolstered their linebacking corps by nabbing Nolan Smith with the penultimate pick of the first round.
Those two could help neutralize a Kansas City offense that lost its top receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster, but is expected to rely more heavily on young wideouts Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore in addition to rookie second-rounder Rashee Rice 2023.
Jalen Hurts proved to be a worthy adversary for reigning league MVP Patrick Mahomes by making a statement in his Super Bowl debut, throwing for over 300 yards and a score while adding a whopping three touchdowns and 70 yards on 15 carries. The Eagles signal-caller should be hungry to avenge a painful loss, especially after his critical lost fumble led to a decisive Kansas City defensive touchdown.
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