LOS ANGELES, CA: Sunday is Super Bowl LVI, the Cincinnati Bengals vs the LA Rams, just as I predicted in August. No Brady or Belichick, thank Dick Butkus. This one should give hope to Giants and Jets fans as the Rams were 4 and 12 in 2016 and the Bengals won a grand total of six games over the past two seasons. Our teams can turn it around too! You know, if they stop hiring clueless coaches and drafting sh!tty players. Anyway, there are some fun story-lines in this unexpected matchup. Let’s have a look.
Aaron, Von & Crew vs the Bengals O-Line
Welp, this was the obvious place to focus when this matchup was set. You remember what happened to the team with the weak offensive line last year right? The center had to lead Mahomes on shotgun snaps so he could catch it on the run.
Job One for Zac T and the Bengals coaching staff will be to find a way to slow down the Rams imposing D-line. And Burrow is likely going to have to continue to slither out of trouble in key spots like he did in KC.
Advantage: Heavy Rams
The Green Playoff QB and The Grizzled Playoff Veteran
Stafford has been in the league since 2009, but he’d never won a playoff game in three tries before this year. Counting his time at LSU, Burrow the youngster is actually the QB with the big game experience.
While he hasn’t been lights out this post-season, Burrow has done enough and avoided the big mistake, in eking out three wins by one score. Burrow’s big game pedigree has surely helped him handle the big moments.
Stafford has shown some big stones in hitting those two big passes to Kupp after blowing the big lead in Tampa and staying poised when down 10 in the 4th vs the Niners. When Stafford doesn’t turn it over, the Rams are tough to stop.
Cooper, OBJ & Van vs D’Marr, Tee & Boyd
These teams have some exciting receivers corps, led by Triple Crown winner Cooper Kupp and explosive rookie Ja’Marr Chase. The second fiddle matchup of a mature Odell, playing for his image and a contract, and the dangerous Higgins, who was back-burnered a bit when Burrow lobbied for Chase, could be pivotal. Van Jefferson can bust out a big play if you forget about him and Boyd is capable as well.
Which crew will make more plays?
Advantage: Slight Rams
Battle of the Boy Band Coaches
Here we have the first Super Bowl matchup with two coaches under 40. Probably. I’m going Full Junoir and assuming that to be true. What? Never go Full Junoir!
Seany Mac has been in the league for six years and he’s only 36 freaking years old. Zac T is in only his third year as head coach and has yet to turn 40. This guy are freaking overachievers.
One thing is certain. A young head coach who hasn’t really paid he dues is about to show the league, “it ain’t really that hard, yo.”
Advantage: Slight McVay
I thought the Bengals and Burrow were in a “happy to be here” experience year, but they’ve surprised. I don’t want to stubbornly hold on to that narrative, but I like the Rams. Best not to overcomplicate this one, I reckon. I don’t think the Bengals have enough tricks to slow down the Rams D-line and that will be the difference. I think the Bengals will keep it close but the Rams cover in the end.
The Pick: Rams -4.5
Who will emerge victorious? Tell us in the comments. And come back tomorrow for Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.