With only four teams remaining in the quest for Super Bowl LVIII, there are just four possible matchups left in play.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the defending champs, while the San Francisco 49ers are the betting favorites to win it all, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, and that has been the case for most of the 2023 NFL season.
However, we’re going to make the case for why Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions is the best possible matchup for this year’s Super Bowl.
Let’s face it: Seeing the defending champion Chiefs in yet another Super Bowl would be a bit stale after they’ve made it there three times since 2019, winning two. Dynasties are fun, but so is seeing new faces on Super Bowl Sunday.
It’s a similar scenario with the 49ers, who’ve been to a pair of Super Bowls since 2012 — most recently in the 2019 season — and have won five in franchise history.
Baltimore, however, hasn’t been past the Divisional Round of the playoffs since winning it all in 2012. And before last weekend’s victory over Houston, the Ravens had won just one playoff game between 2013-23. Not exactly elite success.
The Lions, meanwhile, haven’t even been to a conference championship since 1991. And who doesn’t want to see “Dantallica” Campbell in the Super Bowl?!
We can’t forget about the Lions just two weeks ago ending a playoff win drought that had spanned three decades. They’re now one win away from advancing to the franchise’s first Super Bowl.
This after entering these playoffs with just seven wins in the postseason ever and only one since 1958.
Simply put, the Lions have consistently been a bottom-feeder in the NFL for several decades now, but that’s all changed under Dan Campbell, who actually played for Detroit from 2006-08 as a tight end and was even on the 0-16 team. He’s helped bring the Lions to a level unseen for generations and are now just two games away from winning it all.
But things weren’t always rosy for Campbell, who’s been the franchise’s head coach since 2021. It wasn’t that long ago that it seemed like a matter of when, not if the Lions would fire Campbell.
After going 3-13 in his first season, the 2022 Lions got off to a 1-6 start, and it looked like there was a very real chance Campbell would get the pink slip.
But the Lions stayed patient, and they were rewarded with one of the best stretches in franchise history. The 2022 team won eight of their final 10 games to finish 9-8 and missed the playoffs by just one game, though they still managed to knock out divisional rival Green Bay out of the postseason in the regular-season finale.
This season, the Lions won 12 regular-season games, tied for the most wins in franchise history, and it’s only the second time they’ve ever hit the mark. Detroit then ended its drought of no playoff wins since 1991 after beating former Lions QB Matthew Stafford and the Rams 24-23 in the Wild Card Round.
Almost two decades after his playing career in Detroit, Campbell is one game away from leading the Lions to a place many thought the franchise would never reach.
It also helps that these Lions have been very entertaining to watch this year. They finished the regular season ranked third in total offense and fifth in scoring offense.
Oh, and they’re America’s team.
The NFL MVP on the biggest stage
While the Lions may be the best story, Lamar Jackson has been the NFL’s best player this season, which is why he’s favored to win his second NFL MVP award.
Even if his career ended today, Jackson would go down as one of the most exciting players to watch in NFL history. He’s now the true definition of a dual-threat QB. He’s always been an elusive runner who can make even the best defenders look like they’re on skates, but he’s taken his game to a new level thanks to his improved passing.
Jackson finished the regular season with career-high marks in completion percentage (67.2), passing yards (3,678), and yards per attempt (8.0 avg), all while rushing for ‘just’ 51.3 rushing yards per game, the lowest mark of his career since 2018 when he was a rookie.
It’s time for Jackson to get his shot on the game’s biggest stage.