Ranking the five matchups I'd most like to see at SoFi Stadium in February
Only three teams pumped out more points per game than Kansas City, a club that went 9-1 down the stretch. Yet, we're disappointed. They feel a few ticks off from the explosive wonderwall that dominated the AFC over the past two seasons.
This projection, though, presupposes that K.C. turns on the jets and becomes the glowing entity we've witnessed before. A torrid playoff run that leads us to the dreamiest possible signal-calling tussle: Patrick Mahomes against Aaron Rodgers, with Green Bay's Matt LaFleur at the motherboard in a duel with Andy Reid.
I think back to 2011, when the Packers, coming off a Super Bowl title, ripped through the NFL to a 15-1 mark that suggested total invincibility. Come January, they were wiped 37-20 by an imperfect but potent Giants team that went on to steal the crown. Rodgers has played chicken with the Super Bowl ever since. Will Mahomes share the same fate?
Perhaps that's what depresses us about the Chiefs: What appeared perfect will never be. Last year's Super Bowl tumble -- followed by a good-but-not-great regular season -- has Kansas City operating as a disheartening reminder: Human endeavors are inherently flawed. We're all gonna get whacked at some point. There's underlying melancholy to all we attempt.
There's resilience, too. Something that keeps us watching, hoping Mahomes will avenge last year's defeat; hoping Rodgers can return to the heights we assumed he'd casually thrive in a decade ago. This squaring off would guarantee that one of these quarterbacks win a second, career-altering title in a rematch of Super Bowl I.