TORCH Super Bowl LVI Predictions: Rams over Bengals


Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams (left) and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals will face off in Super Bowl LVI.

The Big Game is here, and this year it’ll be the AFC champions Cincinnati Bengals and the NFC champions Los Angeles Rams playing for the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, February 13 in SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, giving the Rams home field advantage, although technically, they are the visiting team. Here’s what co-sports editors Mason Silverstein and Brayden Schultz are expecting from Super Bowl LVI:

Mason: This weekend, at SoFi Stadium, the Rams will make their first super bowl appearance since 1993 in their home stadium. Matthew Stafford has posted six touchdowns, along with 905 yards passing and only one interception in the postseason. He will look to continue this strong stat line against a solid Bengals defense that has recorded a wild postseason. 

In the Wild Card round, Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt picked off the Raiders at the goal line to lock in a win. The week after, facing the Titans in the divisional round, linebacker Logan Wilson picked the ball off to give kicker Evan McPherson a perfect chance to win the game, which he did. Safety Jessie Bates deflected a pass that ended up in Eli Apple’s hands to finish the AFC Championship, taking down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The big question is if we will see a repeat of the Bengals’ defense coming up strong on Superbowl Sunday.

The Bengals offense is led by the duo of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, which has shown the entire NFL that they could possibly be the future of the league. Burrow has thrown for 842 yards in the postseason, 279 of those yards being to Chase, along with another 209 being to wideout Tee Higgins. Joe Mixon has run for 190 yards on 52 attempts in the playoffs and will look to run all over the Rams defense in this game. 

The offensive line will be the most important factor for Cincinnati in this game, as the Rams will have Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and the rest of the front seven putting pressure on Burrow. Not to mention, getting the ball downfield might also be tough as Jalen Ramsey and Eric Weddle will be in the secondary for Los Angeles. 

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been impossible to stop in the postseason, as he has recorded 386 yards with four touchdowns. Complementing Kupp, former Cleveland Brown Odell Beckham Jr. has been outstanding in the postseason with 236 yards receiving and one touchdown. Stopping the passing game and shutting down Kupp will be the key to winning the game for the Bengals. But, it won’t happen. Prediction: Rams 27  Bengals 23 

Brayden: The Bengals strangely becoming the hottest team in football combined with Joe Burrow becoming America’s sweetheart will not scare me away from picking against Cincinnati for the fourth straight week. 

Although the Bengals WR room of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are bound to lead the Bengals in some kind of triumphant effort, my biggest concern is still the offensive line, which is really just abysmal. Admittedly, Quinton Spain and Jonah Williams are pretty solid on the left side, but the right side leaves much more to be desired. 

I find myself fearing for Joe Burrow’s life while I think about Aaron Donald being matched up with Trey Hopkins or Hakeem Adeniji. Honestly, the Bengals could put all five of their offensive lineman and a tight end Donald and he could still make Burrow uncomfortable. 

Add AD to a front-7 unit that includes elite veteran Von Miller as well as young overachievers in Leonard Floyd and Ernest Jones, and Joe Burrow is really just shark bait. Three weeks ago the Titans sacked Burrow nine times, and this defensive line is much better than that one. Catastrophe seems inevitable.

Offensively, the Rams will rely heavily on the wide receivers. Offensive player of the year Cooper Kupp is undoubtedly Matthew Stafford’s favorite target, and I expect a big game from him, especially with TE Tyler Higbee out for the game. Odell Beckham, Jr. has been playing his best football for the Rams since coming over from the Cleveland Browns back in November. 

Bengals cornerback Eli Apple loves to talk trash on Twitter, and a Super Bowl matchup with fellow big personality Beckham. could perhaps bring back memories of the old Beckham-Josh Norman rivalry from back in OBJ’s Giants days. For added off-the-field incentive, rapper Drake put $500,000 on Beckham Jr. to have over 62.5 receiving yards. He will be playing to earn his friend some money if not for anything else. 

The Rams have been my pick to win the Super Bowl all season long, and now that they’ve actually made it, I can cash in. As long as Cam Akers doesn’t fumble the game away as he *almost* did in Tampa Bay, I trust the better team in their home stadium, with the coach that has Super Bowl experience. Joe Burrow has a long career ahead of him to get a ring, but this is Stafford, Beckham, and Donald’s time. Prediction: Rams 24  Bengals 16