The list of potential Super Bowl XLVII matchups is seemingly endless, but only a few scenarios are truly likely.
But before you go gearing up for a Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl showdown, consider this: Only twice in the last 20 years has the Super Bowl pitted the No. 1 seeds from each conference against one another. The last time came in 2009, when the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts both rode home-field advantage to the championship game.
With the odds stacked heavily against a Broncos-Falcons clash, let's project the three most likely title game matchups this February.
Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers
The most likely Super Bowl matchup this coming February would pit the streaking Denver Broncos against the formidable San Francisco 49ers.
Both teams boast top-five defenses and relatively easy paths to New Orleans. The Broncos have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs while the Niners have a first-round bye and and a guaranteed home playoff game of their own.
After all, a No. 1 seed has met a No. 2 seed for the Super Bowl title seven times in the last 18 years. This potential matchup is certainly one to keep in mind.
New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers
Pats-Niners is a very likely Super Bowl matchup this winter. The two teams nearly met in Super Bowl XLVI, and may have if not for some late-game mistakes by San Francisco in the 2011 NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.
This showdown would also be a rematch of Week 15's classic in Foxborough. The 49ers got the better of the Patriots in that game, blowing a 28-point lead in the second half, but escaping 41-34 in a hostile environment.
Tom Brady and the New England offense would once again be faced with the challenge of trying to put points up on San Francisco's defense, while attempting to slow Kaepernick and company on the other end.
One interesting fact about this matchup is that it would be the first time since NFL playoff seeding began in 1975 that both No. 2 seeds made it to the Super Bowl.
Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers
This potential Super Bowl clash was first brought to my attention during the preseason, when ESPN The Magazine predicted it in its 2012 season preview.
Months later, it actually seems like a very likely scenario. The Packers have the pedigree having made a championship run in 2010, and the Broncos look to be the most complete team in football coming into the postseason.
Defensively the edge would go to Denver, but few offenses are capable of exploding quite like Green Bay's. Picking this game would be nearly impossible, but watching would be an absolute joy.
Broncos-Packers would be the first Super Bowl to pit a No. 1 seed up against a No. 3 seed since 2006, when the Colts took on the Bears in Super Bowl XLI.
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