The 2013 NFL playoffs get under way on Saturday as the wild card round will help us figure out who the 49ers will face in their divisional matchup. In the meantime, as we wait for the first game, some folks have begun their Super Bowl predictions, and odds have been released on the 36 possible Super Bowl matchups. Head to the bottom to view 15 NFL.com predictions.
Over at SBNation.com, I put together a rundown of all 36 potential matchups, ranking them in order of odds set by Bovada.lv. The 49ers six matchups all feature some interesting storylines, although some are more interesting than others. Here are the six matchups in order of odds:
New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 15/2
Houston Texans vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 25/1
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 35/1
Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 70/1
Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 80/1
The Texans game is the only one without a significant storyline behind it. Gary Kubiak started his NFL coaching career with the 49ers, but it is not exactly a revenge game, or the return of the prodigal son. It is a good matchup, and one upside to it would be the removal of ridiculous storylines so we can focus on the potential for quality football.
If you're looking for good storylines, the Patriots, Ravens and Colts all bring that. You've got a rematch of the 49ers-Patriots thriller, along with the battle between Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick to say as little as humanly possible on media day. You've got Harbowl 2, which might melt down the media over the two weeks leading up to the game. And of course, you've got Andrew Luck vs. Jim Harbaugh in a Colts-49ers Super Bowl.
If the Bengals and 49ers met in the Super Bowl, it would be their third meeting. They also met in Super Bowl XVI and XXIII. The 49ers won those two games by a combined nine points.
The folks at NFL.com all provided their expert predictions with a few comments:
Ian Rappaport: Denver Broncos over San Francisco 49ers
Gregg Rosenthal: Green Bay Packers over New England Patriots
Heath Evans: Seattle Seahawks over New England Patriots
Aditi Kinkhabwala: Denver Broncos over Atlanta Falcons
Daniel Jeremiah: Green Bay Packers over New England Patriots
Shaun O'Hara: Denver Broncos over Atlanta Falcons
Elliott Harrison: Denver Broncos over Green Bay Packers
Jeff Darlington: New England Patriots over Green Bay Packers
Dave Dameshek: Green Bay Packers over New England Patriots
Adam Schein: Green Bay Packers over New England Patriots
Albert Breer: Green Bay Packers over New England Patriots
Kimberly Jones: Denver Broncos over Washington Redskins
Charley Casserly: Denver Broncos over San Francisco 49ers
Jason Smith: New England Patriots over Green Bay Packers
Adam Rank: Seattle Seahawks over Denver Broncos