The Cincinnati Bengals have surprised everyone this season but themselves. When you listen to the players speak on why they have been so successful this year, time and time again they talk about their relationships in the locker room and being a close-knit group. This has transpired onto the field matching up the 13-7 Bengals against the 15-5 Rams in Super Bowl LVI. For more football news and betting tips click here!
There are many connections between the Bengals and the Rams in this game starting with Bengals head coach Zac Taylor and Rams head coach Sean McVay. Taylor worked under McVay as a Rams assistant coach. This may give Taylor a slight advantage and some insight when game-planning for the Rams knowing McVay’s decision-making process. Then there is assistant Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan who worked with Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in Detroit. This could also work in the Bengal’s favor as Callahan would know what weakness to exploit of Matthew Stafford.
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They say offense wins games but defense wins championships. The Bengal’s defense often gets overlooked but their defense is solid and has come up with huge plays in the playoffs so far. The Rams do not have a strong running game, to begin with so look for Bengals defensive tackle DJ Reader to be a difference-maker in the middle. He will push the pocket and limit big runs by Rams running backs Cam Akers, Sony Michael, and possibly Darrell Henderson. Ex-Bengal and current Rams left offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth is still loved in Cincinnati however, Bengals defensive tackle Trey Henderickson will beat him a few times in this game. The pass rush of Henderickson and Sam Hubbard will cause Matthew Stafford to hurry his decision-making. Stafford has thrown 17 interceptions and has had 5 fumbles during the regular season so putting pressure on him is a must.
Another huge match-up will be Rams leading receiver Cooper Kupp who led the NFL with 1,947 receiving yards and he will be up against one of the top slot corners in Bengals Mike Hilton. Hilton was picked up this year in free agency from the Steelers. He has already faced some of the top receivers during the playoffs by limiting plays of Hunter Renfrow of the Raiders and Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs. Hilton likes to play physical, then you add his speed which, makes him a unique option against Kupp. Hilton actually looks forward to the challenge of matching up with Kupp. “I feel like we’re the best two slots in the game,” Hilton said. “We’ll get the space to go out there and prove it. Me against him in the Super Bowl.”
One of Joe Burrow’s best traits is his ability to remain calm in high-stress situations. The Rams plan on testing this confidence by sending their notorious defensive line. Coach Taylor must have a game plan for Rams all-pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He is certainly a game wrecker that more than likely will need to be double-teamed most of the game. Donald will have help from the Rams other all-pro tackle Von Miller and linebacker Leonard Floyd, together this group can keep the Bengal’s offensive line busy all game.
Most of the national media is focused on the Rams’ defense but the Bengal’s offense has just as many weapons. Burrow said this week he would like to get out to a fast start. If the Bengals offensive line can win in the trenches and give Burrow time he will air it out to three of the best receivers in the NFL. Tee Higgins is a vertical threat, Ja’Marr Chase is amazing with yards after the catch, and let’s not forget Tyler Boyd who is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. The Rams do have one of the best corners with all-pro Jalen Ramsey who I am sure will be matched up with Chase. The Ram’s secondary is average so look for Burrow to attack the middle of the field until he sees an opportunity for a big play on the outside or downfield.
We can’t leave out Bengal’s all-pro running back Joe Mixon and tight end CJ Uzomah who together are the heart and soul of this team. Their passion has often carried this group of men even when playing from behind. Look for the team chemistry and confidence along with Joe Burrow to secure a Super Bowl victory on Sunday. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”— Mark Twain