Super Bowl LVI preview


Super Bowl LVI kicks off Sunday, February 13, at 6:30. The matchup between the Rams and the Bengals is unexpected. Still, between the popularity of Joe Burrow and the newfound respect for Matthew Stafford amongst NFL fans, this game will be great to watch no matter what the outcome ends up being. 

With one of the most powerful offenses in the NFL, the Bengals have been putting up points on the scoreboard throughout the season, despite early signs of mediocrity. Following a torn ACL from first-round pick Joe Burrow last season, fans didn’t have much hope leading into this season. Though it’s been an up-and-down season littered with losses to the Bears, Jets, and the Browns, the Bengals’ recent wins against top-tier teams prove that success in the NFL Playoffs relies on timing. Heading into the year, the Bengals were seen as the last seed in the AFC North with no chance of making the playoffs; however, they came through just when they needed to flip the switch.

The Rams were Super Bowl favorites heading into the season, moving to the NFC. After trading for Matthew Stafford in the offseason, the Rams had a more positive outlook from the NFL. Former Rams quarterback Jared Goff proved that even with the best defense in the NFL, he couldn’t win a Super Bowl. If the Rams win this game, two first-round picks for a 34-year-old are very worth it; they will look genius. They have also added a lot of veteran talent during the season, including trading for Von Miller and signing Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency. It is clear this team has done everything they can to be in excellent shape for the Super Bowl. 

A lot must happen for the Bengals to come out with a victory. First, they need to contain the Rams’ offense to 21 points or less. The Rams defense is the best in the NFL, and the Bengals will most likely struggle to score. Jessie Bates and Eli Apple will need to focus on taking Cooper Kupp out of the game early and getting the Rams out of their comfort zone. On the offensive side of the ball, Joe Burrow needs to play like a top-five quarterback. There is a lot of hype around Burrow right now, with some even saying he is already a top-five quarterback in the league. Burrow will need to distribute the ball well to various receivers. With Jalen Ramsey on the opposing defense, he will often throw into tight coverage. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgens will need to take advantage of the focus on Jamaar Chase and have big games. If Burrow can throw over 325 yards, the Bengals should be in a good position for the game. Winning the turnover margin will also be a key factor for the Bengals. 

Since the Rams are a far better team on paper, their to-do list is shorter than the Bengals. With arguably the best defense in the entire NFL, the Rams are favored in this game. On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams will have to slow down the Bengals’ talented and deep passing attack. With the best cornerback in the NFL, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. After adding safety Eric Weddle to the roster early in the playoffs, the Rams secondary has depth, experience, and talent. Aside from the secondary, they have the experience of Von Miller and the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL in Aaron Donald. The defense for the Rams is well-rounded, but the offense has had a more surprising season. If Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp can get their game going, this game will not be obtainable for the Bengals. Kupp’s grit and hustle are unmatchable by anyone on the opposing defense. Kupp being guarded by Eli Apple in man coverage is something Stafford will look to take advantage of early. 

Overall, the Rams have to play the game they have been playing all season while the Bengals need to play a near-perfect game. The game is also a home game for the Rams, as they are playing the game at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Both coaches look to become the youngest coach ever to win a Super Bowl. In addition, both offenses’ high-powered passing attacks will surely make the game entertaining for all NFL fans.