Super Bowl LVI
Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.
One team was expected to be here and spent every single penny to make it happen and, on the other hand, the surprise finalist.
Right now, it makes sense that the Bengals arrived at the championship game but at the start of the season, they were at +15000 to win the Super Bowl according to Pro Football Reference preseason odds. In the playoffs, they were only favored in the Wildcard game against the Raiders and, as underdogs, they defeated the No. one seed Tennessee Titans and the two-time consecutive AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Rams put all their chips on the table to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. They built a new stadium to host the big game, they traded for Matthew Stafford and Von Miller, they signed Odell Beckham Jr. after he was cut by the Browns, and that’s just some of the moves they made this season.
Now, the big question is what each team needs to do to win Super Bowl LVI at Sofi Stadium.
The big question before the 2021 NFL Draft was whether the pick was going to be Ja’Marr Chase or Penei Sewell to give Joe Burrow some protection. In the end, they went for the receiver and it was a great pick for them as Chase is now the Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, Burrow, in a way, had to pay the price; he was sacked 51 times in the regular season, the most in the NFL this season and we know the Rams are going to exploit that.
Another key point for Cincinnati is to get the rest of the receiver group involved. The Rams’ defense will focus on stopping Chase and there will be opportunities for Tee Higgins, who finished with 106 yards against the Chiefs, Tyler Boyd, and the tight end CJ Uzomah if he’s cleared to play.
For the Bengals defense, limiting Cooper Kupp has to be their top priority. The receiver only has two games under 90 yards this season and in the Divisional Round and Conference Championship, he had 183 yards with a touchdown and 142 yards with two touchdowns respectively. Kupp can make a lot of damage if not contained.
Los Angeles Rams
As I noted at the start of the Bengals key points to win, for the Rams pressuring Burrow will be vital. The Rams’ three-man lineup of Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and Leonard Floyd amount for more than half the sacks the team had this season. They have the tools to pressure him and, when he is, Burrow’s rating against the pressure dropped to 40 in the postseason.
Cooper Kupp will be the focal point of the Bengals defense and Odell Beckham Jr can take advantage of that. Against the San Francisco 49ers, he had 113 yards on nine receptions.
Lastly, the running matchup between Cam Akers and Joe Mixon. The difference between the two in yards per carry, in the playoffs, is less than one in favor of the Bengals’ running back. The Rams defense has been better at defending the run in these playoffs allowing only 3.1 yards per carry, which is half of what the Bengals have allowed in their three postseason matchups.
Both Mixon and Akers are the wildcard for both teams’ aspirations to win the championship.
Super Bowl LVI Predictions
Analyzing the matchup positions by position, the Rams have a small edge in the game. What could determine the outcome is the experience most of the team has from their trip to the Super Bowl LIII, including their head coach Sean McVay. I have the Rams getting the Vince Lombardi Trophy this Sunday because they have the most dominant players in the offense and the defense. Let’s just hope that we have a great game to watch and that this isn’t the only time we see Joe Burrow and company fighting for the championship.