By Eric Umphrey
The Times 

Super Bowl LVI – Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams

 

February 3, 2022



This year’s Super Bowl will be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on February 13 at 3:30 p.m. on NBC.

The Rams are favored to win by four points since they are playing in their home stadium. This is only the second time a team has played the Super Bowl on their home field. The first time happened last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cincinnati has only been in the Super Bowl twice, both times in the eighties. In Super Bowl XVI, the Bengals lost to the 49ers 26-21, and the MVP went to Joe Montana. In Super Bowl XXIII, the Bengals again lost to the 49ers 20-16, with Jerry Rice chosen MVP. Only three players currently on the Bengals roster were born before Super Bowl XXIII offensive tackle Riley Reiff, long snapper Clark Harris, and punter Kevin Huber.

Los Angeles has been to four Super Bowls. Recently, in 2019, they lost to the Patriots 13-3. The Rams’ only Super Bowl win was in 2000 against the Titans. They won 23-16 in a game that went to the final play where the Rams stopped the Titans at the one-yard line as time ran out. Rams quarterback Kurt Warner was the MVP. Going into that season, the Rams had the longest odds to win the Super Bowl since 1977. The second-longest odds since 1977 are this year’s Cincinnati Bengals. A bet of $100 at the start of the season would return $10,000 should the Bengals win this year’s game.

Standout players to watch on the Cincinnati team include Joe Burrow. The quarterback had a breakout season in his second year with the Bengals. He was the overall first-round pick for Cincinnati in 2020. Among quarterbacks, Burrow was eighth in touchdowns with thirty-four and sixth in yards with 4,611 and first in completion percentage at 70.4%.

The Bengals have two 1,000+ yard receivers with J’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Chase ranks third in the NFL with six hundred fifty-one yards after the catch. He also ranks third in touchdowns with thirteen.

At running back, the Bengals’ Joe Mixon finished third in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,205 and an average of 4.1 yards per carry. His thirteen touchdowns ranked fourth among rushers. Evan McPherson ranks in the top third of field goal kickers in the NFL, but he has a perfect 12-12 in field goals and 4-4 in extra points in the playoffs.

Players to watch for Los Angeles include Matthew Stafford, who was one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL this season. He was second in touchdowns with forty-one, third in passing yards, and fourth in quarterback rating with 63.8. Like Burrow, Stafford was also an overall first-round pick back in 2009.

At wide receiver is Eastern Washington’s own Cooper Kupp, who was the top wide receiver in the NFL this year. He led the league in yards 1,947, touchdowns with sixteen, and eight hundred forty-six yards after catch. Expect Kupp to get some MVP votes.

On defense, Aaron Donald has 12.5 sacks on the season and is one of the top defensive players in the league. Finally, Matt Gay is one of the most accurate kickers in the league. He missed only two field goals and one extra point during the regular season.

The only way I see the Bengals winning this game is if their defense forces several turnovers, so I’ll take the Rams as the home team for the win.

 

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