Super Bowl LVI Baby!

We are just days away from the greatest sport event in all of sports: the Super Bowl!

From left to right: Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (No. 30), Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (No. 9), Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (No. 99), and Rams quarterback Matt Stafford (No. 9).

From left to right: Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (No. 30), Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (No. 9), Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (No. 99), and Rams quarterback Matt Stafford (No. 9).

Maddox Greenberg, Staff Writer

Ah!  Sigh of relief.  Quoting the brother of legendary ring announcer Michael, Bruce Buffer— “It’s—time!”  This Sunday at 6:30 PM in Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles on NBC, about 70,000 Rams, Bengals, and sports fans in general, will be rooting for either contender as two wild animal-named teams go toe-to-toe (they won’t have a real-life ram battle a real-life tiger, although that would be a cool pregame show. My money on the tiger (-7)).  

 

Matthew Stafford and his Rams will play in their stadium—but as the visitor per the NFL’s automatic alternating AFC-NFC who-will-host-and-who-will-visit—against second year player Joe “Joey B” Burrow and his Bengals.  Let me break down the game and my prediction—.

 

Whoops!  Forgot. Recap from last week’s Pro Bowl game: AFC beat NFC 41-35. Go AFC!  NFC still played running back Alvin Kamara who was arrested the day prior to assault and battery at a nightclub.  Good job, NFL!  The Vikings got a new coach (former Rams OC Kevin McConnell), Dolphins got a new coach (former 49ers OC Mike McDaniel), Texans got a new head coach (former Texans Associate Head Coach Lovie Smith), and Saints got a new head coach (former Saints DC Dennis Allen).  Good luck new coaches, especially Josh McDaniels (sadden to see him leave the Patriots, but proud of him getting promoted. But it’s to Las Vegas so, he needs all the luck in the world).

 

—Now back to the game.  The Rams, as of Thursday, are favored to win by 3.5 points, different from two weeks ago when they were favored by 4.5 points.  Both teams have key players out, as well.  As of Thursday, the Rams are without running back Darrell Henderson—who, per coach McVay, has a “good chance” to return for the big game—and wide receiver Robert Woods, who are both on IR (injured reserve); wide receiver Van Jefferson (questionable-knee); East Lake Eagle alum tight end Tyler Higbee (questionable-knee); and running back Cam Akers (questionable-shoulder).  The Bengals are without, as of Thursday, star tight end CJ Uzomah (questionable-knee, but is expected to play) and guard Jackson Carman (questionable-back).

 

Despite these potential losses come gameday, both teams are damn near equal.  Both average 27.1 points per game; Rams defense allows 18.3 points per game, Bengals defense allows 19.7 points per game.  They both are super close when it comes to total yards: Rams average 386.8 yards per game (287.8 to passing, 99.0 to rushing), while the Bengals average 385.2 yards per game (282.7 to passing, 102.5 to rushing).  The Rams defense allows 286.7 yards (232.7 to passing, 54.0 to rushing) and the Bengals defense allows 395.7 yards (268.3 to passing, 127.3 to rushing).

 

This is also a very historic game as it not only features the lowest seeded Super Bowl in the 56 years of the said event (both the Rams and Bengals are 4-seeds), but it also features the youngest head coaching matchup in the events history (Rams head coach Sean McVay is 36-years-old and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is 38-years-old).  Los Angeles has hosted the Super Bowl now seven times, tying New Orleans (per latimes.com). This game also is the second ever Super Bowl and second straight in which the hosting team of the Super Bowl are playing in their actual home stadium.  In the playoffs, the Rams are 7-3, meanwhile, the Bengals are also 7-3 on the road, including the playoffs.  The Bengals have won in Tennessee and Kansas City to hometown Titans and Chiefs.  This is the beauty of the game in the infamous phrase: “any given Sunday.”  The underdog Bengals, who were always underdogs, could pull another upset.

 

Though, it is hard to choose who will win.  Key players on the Rams like defensive end Aaron Donald, 13-year quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., and cornerback Jalen Ramsey have all never won a Super Bowl; but neither has Bengals key players like quarterback Joe Burrow, wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase (granted he’s a rookie) and Tee Higgins.  It makes it tough for fans to choose who should win.  Who is the underdog in this scenario?  Who has the upper hand in the Super Bowl?

 

I think both teams should win it.  Both are nearly equal on both sides of the field.  It will be fun seeing rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase go against Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey.  I think the atmosphere will play a huge factor in the game, which is why I got the Rams winning and here’s why: they have a star-powered offense, a dual-threat quarterback, a killer defensive front (which have recorded 50 sacks, third most among defenses in the league) and secondary, and a good offensive line.  Important note: in the last two games Joe Burrow has thrown an interception and the Rams defense have at least one or more takeaways in 10 straight games, including playoffs.

 

But looking at the factors like 1) how it is in Los Angeles, 2) the weather is projected to being 80-degrees and Sofi is a partially indoor stadium, 3) the Rams have spent a lot of money on getting linebacker Von Miller, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., and quarterback Matthew Stafford, 3) that the Bengals offensive line (who allowed a total of 51 sacks on Joe Burrow, the most in the season) is against three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, and 4) McVay’s experience coaching in the Super Bowl, Rams will win in a nail-biter 30-28.

 

However, The Simpsons did predict the Bengals to win the Super Bowl on multiple occasions.  So, it is possible.  I won’t be mad at whoever wins.  The game will be great with the high-powered offenses going against the dominant defenses and the halftime show will be straight fire with musical performances by rap legends like Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar.

 

To any people voting the Bengals or any Bengals fans out there reading this, listen: this won’t be the last time we will see Burrow in the Super Bowl.

 

Per Dan Orlovsky on ESPN’s First Take, the Buccaneers signed a lot of players like quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski in the offseason and won the Super Bowl.  The Rams did it this year and are now in the Super Bowl.

 

Both Stafford and Burrow are in a short list of Super Bowls consisting of two number 1 overall quarterback picks.  But Stafford is the oldest to do so and Burrow is the youngest to do so.  This will be fun.  Stafford will be MVP and after this the Super Bowl will be player in Arlington for this to never happened again in where a Super Bowl stadium host team is the home team of that stadium.

 

Who do you think will win the Super Bowl?  Who will win MVP?