Yardbarker NFL writers Michael Tunison and Chris Mueller address some of the hottest issues in the league. This week’s topic: Which potential postseason matchups are the most enticing?
Tunison: With four weeks left in the regular season, the playoff picture has mostly been fleshed out. In the furthest recesses of mathematical possibility, the Jets, Redskins and other teams technically still could reach the postseason. Let’s just say nobody is holding their breath. So while seeding could change if a few upsets happen between now and the end of December, we’re at a point where we can talk with confidence about potential postseason matchups that are most enticing to us.
Week 13’s 49ers-Ravens game was billed as a potential Super Bowl preview, though by losing it, the Niners are no longer atop their division, making the road to said Super Bowl considerably more difficult if they can’t earn one of the two top seeds. It’s hard to argue that it wasn’t a game worthy of championship ramifications. The 49ers’ punishing defense bedeviled a Ravens offense that’s shredding the league with relative ease, yet Baltimore found just enough to win, 20-17.
For me, a more enticing rematch from the regular season that we could see in February is Seattle-Baltimore. The teams met in Week 7, with Baltimore winning 30-16 in Seattle in a game that was tied at the half. It’s tempting to say the Ravens are clearly the better team, having beat the other in its own house by a somewhat comfortable margin, though the two sides have progressed enough in the six weeks since to say that midseason contest isn’t necessarily that indicative of what a postseason rematch would hold. Worth noting also is that neither team has lost since that game.
Beyond another chance for Ravens safety Earl Thomas to exact revenge on his former employer, with whom he had a rather acrimonious split, the obvious billing would be the showdown of the two quarterbacks most likely to be awarded the MVP before the Super Bowl: Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson. We could see a virtuosic display of quarterbacking and get a welcome break from the seemingly unending run of the Patriots in the big game.