Well, my colleague Collin Hulbert’s picks are in and you should read his excellent Super Bowl preview for some fantastic tips and to see which team he feels will be holding aloft the Lombardi Trophy around five hours from now.
However, after an exciting week leading up to the game, it feels right that I finish off what has been an incredible NFL Season with some of my own thoughts on how the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals game will play out.
What has certainly been unusual this week has been the lack of movement in the betting markets, with the Rams remaining a pretty steady -4, -4.5 favourite to win the game, depending on which Sportsbook you bet with and even the Money Line odds have not altered too much.
BetMGM Sportsbook for example have had the Rams at around 1/2 on all week on the moneyline (they are 10/21 at present), while the Bengals have also been around the 7/4 mark all week.
What does this tell me? Well, it says to me that the betting public hasn’t been persuaded a huge amount by any external factors heading into this week and that there has been money coming in on both teams.
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When the odds do not change much on a game, especially a huge game like the
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Super Bowl, that tells me that the fans reckon the bookies have everything just about and I don’t think that there are too many people who would argue with the Rams being the favorites here.
They are playing on their home turf, they have a more experienced team of players on offense and defense. They have the number 1 receiver in the NFL and one of the best quarterbacks and perhaps the best player in the NFL in Aaron Donald, alongside other stars throughout the team.
Weight that up even against the quality that the Bengals possess, and I think the bookies have those prices about right.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Rams will win. There are some key factors at play here that I think will impact the game a great deal.
Tale Of The Tape For Super Bowl LVI
So how do the teams stack up?
Well, both have star quarterbacks who can win games for their franchise. Stafford is more experienced but not so much in the playoffs and he does give defenses opportunities. Burrows may be less experienced, but he is probably more measured.
The Rams have the better quality in depth at receiver, but it’s a very close call with the Bengals almost as strong and I think the Bengals have an advantage in the running game over the Rams with Mixon a better option than the Rams options.
However, the key on offense for me are the two Offensive Lines. The Rams O-line is good and has protected Stafford pretty well this season. The Bengals line though is a weak spot of the team and for me, this is the crucial factor for the entire game.
Why is that? Well because if Joe Burrow spends the game racing out of the box, scrambling to avoid Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, Von Miller and co, then the Rams chances of winning increase markedly.
Can The Bengals Stop The Rams Pass Rush?
Joe Burrow has shown himself to be tough under pressure, but he has had to be as the Bengals O-line hasn’t offered him a great deal of protection this season.
In a nutshell, this game to me breaks down simply as to whether the Bengals offensive line can give Burrow the time to pick apart that suspect Rams linebacker and secondary. If they can, then the Bengals stand a very good chance.
The question is, can a defense that allowed 9 sacks against the Tennessee Titans defense, stop the best player in football in Aaron Donald?
Personally, I think they’ll do a better job here, especially in the second half, when the Bengals coaching staff seem to be excellent at making key adjustments.
A Closely Fought Game
Collin has his pick winning by around 10 points in the game, but my gut feeling is that this may be a little closer. I think the Bengals will fall behind, but stick around and then the fireworks will start in the second half.
However, for me, I think given that advantage the Rams have on defense and in terms of the O-line, I think that decides the game here and the Rams win a close one 27-24.
Considering I picked a Rams v Chiefs Super Bowl back in August 2021, I don’t think I went too far wrong and I am pretty pleased with that.
So now let’s kick back and enjoy the game and may the best team win!