News Director Charlie Luttrell:
The Bengals and Rams both had an improbable path to the playoffs and give fresh faces to the game’s biggest stage.
Sure, the Rams made it in 2018, but this team is almost entirely different. The MVP play of Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford’s first shot at a Super Bowl make the Rams a favorite to win, and as the saying goes, defense wins championships and the Rams are loaded on that side of the ball.
However, there’s another number one pick on the opposite side of the field that could stop them from winning their first Super Bowl since 1999. His name is Joe Burrow.
Burrow’s improbable rise to glory at LSU will forever be remembered in college football history, but his ascension in the NFL is special on its own.
After tearing his ACL in his rookie year, Burrow has earned the rights to potentially become not only the Comeback Player of the Year but a Super Bowl champion and possibly MVP in his second year.
He has been on a tear this season and with the stellar play of his former college receiver rookie Ja’Marr Chase, running back Joe Mixon and one of the league’s best rushing defenses, the Bengals are to be taken seriously.
The Rams may have the stronger squad on paper, but as seen through these playoffs, that doesn’t always matter.
Cincinnati has a fire in them right now and that is dangerous. After taking down the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game, you can’t take this team lightly.
They came back from a 21-3 deficit in that game and the Rams almost blew a 27-3 lead against the Buccaneers, only weeks removed from collapsing against the 49ers in the regular season.
Both teams will be giving it their all, but the Bengals have shown that they have the extra drive that will get them over the hump for their first Super Bowl victory ever.
Bengals 27- Rams 24
Printz Reporter Jackson Howell
The Los Angeles Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals in one of the most unlikely Super Bowl matchups in recent memory.
Both quarterbacks are playing in their first Super Bowl – Matthew Stafford for the Rams in his 13th season and Joe Burrow of the Bengals in his second season.
This marks the first time that both finalists have been a four seed or lower. The story writes itself as Stafford spent 12 seasons in Detroit and never won a playoff game, and the Bengals won six games total in the previous two seasons.
Both offenses are potent and feature weapons all over the field. The Bengals have Joe Mixon at running back and Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins at wide receiver. The Rams feature Cam Akers and Sony Michel at running back and Cooper Kupp, who came close to having the greatest receiving season ever, and Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver.
Defense and special teams will prove to be the deciding factor in the game. While the Rams have playmakers all over the field including Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, the Bengals are battle-tested and have held tougher opponents to fewer points.
In the AFC Championship game, the Bengals blanked Patrick Mahomes in the second half, allowing Burrow and the offense to come back to win.
For this reason, the Bengals will win Super Bowl LVI. Burrow will win Super Bowl MVP and Cincinnati will hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history.
Bengals 23 Rams 21
Printz Reporter Dima Mixon:
The Bengals and the Rams… two powerhouses in the NFL’s championship game? I would say no.
Most would say these two teams achieved the ‘Cinderella’ story of the NFL playoffs. The Bengals won their first playoff game in over 31 years, won their first away playoff game ever and defeated the defending AFC champions Kansas City Chiefs, all with a second-year quarterback, Joe Burrow.
The Rams were criticized for their trades all offseason, but are now headed to the Super Bowl in their home stadium after going through the defending champions, Tampa Bay, and beating the 49ers after losing twice to them in the regular season.
First, let’s look at how the Bengals can win. The Bengals winning the Super Bowl all hinges on one crucial factor- Joe Burrow. Burrow never backed down against the Chiefs and delivered when his team needed it the most.
Bringing your team back from being down 21-3 against Patrick Mahomes is a daunting task, but Burrow did it.
Next, the defense for the Bengals must rise up as well. The Bengals defense held the high-powered Chiefs’ offense to just three points throughout the second half of the AFC Championship Game.
The Rams live on the pass, and the Bengals must be ready for it. But beyond all else, the Bengals’ playmakers have to show up.
Next, let’s look at how the Rams can win the Super Bowl. The most significant and apparent mismatch for the Rams is their defensive line. Aaron Donald and Vonn Miller are huge mismatches against the Bengals’ offensive line.
Don’t forget that the Bengals gave up nine sacks against the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round. This Rams defensive line is better than the Titans, so look for them to muster up some action on Burrow.
Next which offensive play calling are we going to see from Rams Head Coach Sean McVay? In the last Super Bowl appearance, he never adjusted to the defense he was facing.
The Rams were built to win a Super Bowl, and their best shot is to call a game that fits quarterback Matthew Stafford’s formula.
Now, who is going to win? I have picked against the Bengals twice now, and they have proved me wrong. That’s not happening a third time. If Burrow can get the ball out to his playmakers, the Bengals will claim their first Super Bowl.
Bengals, 27 Rams, 20
After 17 regular-season games of NFL football and an exciting postseason, we are finally at the culmination of this NFL season.
The Cincinnati Bengals caught the football world by surprise by not only winning their division, but also making a surprising run in the postseason.
Joe Burrow, who was the number one overall pick in 2020 returned from an ACL injury last year and has been determined this year.
Help from rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase, a Rookie of the Year favorite, has gotten this offense to where it is. Also, Joe Mixon has been an overlooked contributor to the team’s offense.
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Rams were considered favorites going into the season. With big trades to acquire quarterback Matthew Stafford and then receiver Odell Bechkam Jr. and linebacker Von Miller, they have shown they are in a win-now mode.
Despite losing key wideout Robert Woods, The Rams receivers have been a significant help to the offense, especially Cooper Kupp has been having an MVP potential season.
Their defense, led by three-time Defensive player of the year Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey has been solid and Miller has made them better too.
With that being said, the Rams are still considered a 4.5-point favorite and for good reason. They are the second team to host the Super Bowl in their home stadium, giving them that advantage that the defending champions also got last year.
But, despite the odds that the Bengals have faced this postseason, they have pulled off some miracles, including an 18-point comeback on the Chiefs in the AFC title game.
That does not change my prediction, though. The Rams will come away with the victory and will be your new undisputed Super Bowl champion.
Kupp will cause a mismatch with the Bengals’ secondary on his way to become the eighth wide receiver to win the Super Bowl MVP. With the challenges the Bengals’ o-line has faced, they may be no match for the experienced Rams’ front and Ramsey may be able to mitigate Chase’s effect on the game.
I think that the Rams will have a red-hot start. Burrow and the Bengals may show their magic, but it will be all too little, too late.
Rams 31- Bengals 24