For the second time in four years, the Los Angeles Rams have found themselves playing for a Super Bowl ring. The last time they made the big game, they lost to the New England Patriots, 13-3 – a deflating defeat for a team that scored the second-most points in the NFL that year.
After winning 12 of their 17 regular-season games and beating the Cardinals, Buccaneers and 49ers in the playoffs, the Rams have proved they’re undoubtedly the best team in the NFC – and deserving of a Super Bowl ring. In order for them to capture their first championship since the 2001 season, the Rams will need to beat the up-and-coming Bengals. Cincinnati is a team that came out of nowhere to reach the Super Bowl this season, and though the Rams look like the better team on paper, the Bengals aren’t going to go quietly.
It's a battle between the star-studded team in the NFC and the underrated Bengals in the AFC, which should make for a fantastic Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LVI Basic Info
L.A. Rams (15-5) vs. Cincinnati (13-7)
Date and Time: Sunday, February 13 – 6:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Location: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Odds: Rams -4
What makes the Rams special? How can they win Super Bowl LVI?
There are a lot of things to like about this Rams team, and not just because they have a bunch of stars leading the way. Matthew Stafford has turned the Rams into a high-powered offense, while Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and Von Miller give Los Angeles a defense capable of stopping any opponent – even one as explosive as the Bengals’
Key players that need to step up for the Rams to win
Everyone knows about Stafford, Kupp, Ramsey and Donald, but the Rams are more than just a collection of stars. There are a number of other key role players who have stepped up to complement that group, and that’ll need to be the case on Sunday.
Rob Havenstein will need to play well at right tackle, as will Andrew Whitworth on the left side as the Rams try to keep Stafford upright. On defense, cornerback Darious Williams must play better than he has in the last two games when Mike Evans and Brandon Aiyuk beat him multiple times. At safety, Nick Scott needs to turn in another strong performance, patrolling the middle of the field against the Bengals’ deep passing attack.
Why the Rams may fall short in Super Bowl LVI
Key players the Rams must stop
First and foremost, they must contain Chase. He’s been a nightmare to defend, especially in the last six games. He caught nine passes for 116 yards in the Wild-Card round against the Raiders and had another 109 yards in the Divisional Round. He was held in check against the Chiefs, but he still caught six passes and scored a touchdown despite only gaining 54 yards. Four of his seven 100-yard games have come since Week 16, and on the year, he’s topped 200 yards twice. If the Rams can’t cover him, he could win Super Bowl MVP.
Joe Mixon is the other key player to stop. The Bengals aren’t a great running team, but Mixon is a versatile back and can pick up yards both on the ground and as a receiver. He’s caught 26 passes in his last five games and has 296 yards from scrimmage this postseason, averaging 4.6 yards per touch. The Bengals will try to run the ball, especially on first down, and if they have success, it’ll keep them in manageable situations on second and third down.
Super Bowl LVI prediction
It’s hard to go against the Rams in this one. They’re at home and playing some of their best football in the postseason, peaking at the perfect time. They blew out the Cardinals in the first round, should’ve blown out the Bucs in the second round and were clearly the better team than the 49ers despite starting slow in the NFC title game. As long as their pass rush continues to generate pressure on Burrow, and so long as Stafford doesn’t throw three interceptions, I really like the Rams to win this one.
Final score: Rams 26, Bengals 24