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Super Bowl Sunday Is Here And Will The Rams Or Bengals Triumph?

Super Bowl LVI is here this weekend and we preview the Los Angeles Rams taking on the Cincinnati Bengals for the Lombardi trophy.

This weekend is one of the biggest in the sporting calendar, especially if you are based in the United States, as it is Super Bowl weekend.

The culmination of the NFL Season, which we looked at over the first weekend of the season, will see the champions of the NFC take on their counterparts from the AFC to decide who are the best team in the NFL and this year, we have another team competing in the game on their home field.

Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first team to win a Super Bowl on their home field with victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.

This weekend, the Los Angeles Rams can follow their NFC counterparts into the record books by doing likewise at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Los Angeles when they take on the exciting Cincinnati Bengals.

Bookmakers bet365 Sport have the Rams as the -4.5 favourites to win the game on the spread betting market (10/11), while the Bengals are the +4.5 underdogs on that market; a handicap which makes this an all the more appealing bet given how close the games have been in the post-season this year.

NFL blunders

The moneyline has seen a slight increase in money bet on the Rams with their price shortening slightly from 1/2 earlier this week to 10/21 today, while the Bengals odds have drifted slightly out to 7/4.

With bet365 offering over 250 different pre-game markets on the Super Bowl already, with more to be available when the game kicks off due to the site’s excellent Live Betting service, fans of the game will not be short of choice when it comes to markets to bet on.

So, the bookies make the Rams the slight favourites to win this game, but why is that and is there a reason why the Bengals could upset the form book and land the win instead?

Let’s take a closer look at both the teams and find out.

Los Angeles Rams – 2021/22 Season In Stats

  • Regular Season – 12-5 (1st in NFC West – 4th Seed In NFC Conference)

Despite three defeats to divisional rivals (losing once to the Cardinals, plus twice to the 49ers), the Rams topped the tough AFC West with a 12-5 record to clinch the division and the fourth seed spot in the NFC Playoffs.

Team Rankings – Rams

  • Offense Ranking (Points Per Game) – 27.1 (=7th)
  • Defense Ranking – 17th
  • Special Teams Ranking – 23rd
  • Turnover Differential – +2 (13th) (25 Takeaways, 23 Giveaways)
  • Key Players – Matt Stafford (QB), Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, Odell Beckham Jr (WR), Aaron Donald (DT), Von Miller (LB), Josh Norman (CB)

The Rams added Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. on short-term contracts in mid-season to push them on to a Super Bowl spot. They have achieved that now it is time to land the win. Cooper Kupp has had a sensational season at Wide Receiver, setting new records, while Matt Stafford has been as good as Rams fans had hoped then they snagged him from the Detroit Lions.

However, it is the defensive presence of legends like Aaron Donald and Josh Norman that could well prove key in the big games, especially with the Bengals having an identifiable weakness on the offensive line.

  • WildCard Weekend – V Arizona Cardinals – W 34-11
  • Divisional Round – @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – W 30-27
  • Conference Championship – V San Francisco 49ers – W 20-17

The Rams put the Cardinals to the sword in their opening playoff game but then were forced to sweat out a win as Tampa Bay came back at them late, only for Matt Stafford to drive into field goal range late in the game to allow the Rams to kick a field goal winner as time expired.

They were down against the 49ers in the Conference Championship game too, but a fourth quarter touchdown from Cooper Kupp and a Matt Gay field goal put them in front and after Aaron Donald forced an interception, the Rams were able to run out time to claim the win.

Cincinnati Bengals – 2021/22 Season In Stats

  • Regular Season – 10-7 (1st in AFC North – 4th Seed in AFC Conference)

The Bengals had an initially up and down season in the AFC North, but a run of five wins in their last eight games handed them the AFC North title ahead of Pittsburgh and meant they went into the playoffs as the AFC’s fourth seed.

  • Offense Ranking (Points Per Game) – 27.1 (=7th)
  • Defense Ranking – 18th
  • Special Teams Ranking – 23rd
  • Turnover Differential – 0 – (16th) (21 Takeaways, 21 Giveaways)
  • Key Players – Joe Burrow (QB), Joe Mixon (RB), Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins (WR), Trey Hendrickson (DE), Eli Apple (CB), Jessie Bates III (S), Larry Ogunjobi (DT)

While the running of Joe Mixon has given the Bengals some consistency in the running game, it has been the explosive play of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, the two former LSU team mates, that have propelled the Bengals to the top of the AFC.

Chase has set all kinds of new records as a rookie WR, while Burrow has built on a solid first season where he showed real promise to deliver the kind of performances that Bengals fans hoped they would get when they picked him first in the 2020 NFL Draft.

  • WildCard Weekend – V Las Vegas Raiders – W 26-19
  • Divisional Round – @ Tennessee Titans – W 19-16
  • Conference Championship – @ Kansas City Chiefs – W 27-24

The Bengals have come through three tight games to earn a shot at the Super Bowl, defeating the Raiders at home and then earning a last gasp walk off field goal win over the Titans in Tennessee before defeating the Chiefs in overtime 27-24 thanks to another walk off field goal.

Ja’Marr Chase has set new records for a rookie WR in the playoffs in the process.

Who Do We Think Will Win Super Bowl LVI?

There’s so much to take in with this game. Will it be the Matt Stafford/Cooper Kupp link up or the Joe Burrow/Ja’Marr Chase duo that edges the passing game, can the Rams defense stop Joe Mixon on the ground?

For me, there’s not a lot to choose between the two on offense, though I feel the Rams have more depth. The main difference I feel is defense and while the Rams offensive line is pretty good, I do worry how the Bengals offensive line will cope against Von Miller and in particular Aaron Donald.

So much so, that I think this is the key element in the game. The Bengals can only win if their offensive line can contain the pressure Von Miller and Donald apply. I am not so sure they can do that after seeing Burrow sacked nine times by the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional game.

Add that to home advantage for the Rams and my money is on the Super Bowl heading back to Los Angeles this weekend.

Ian John

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