Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Super Bowl LVI Preview

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Kamryn Jackson and Jaydn James

The NFL is close to wrapping up its 2012-22 season and the biggest game of them all is right around the corner. 

NFL fans worldwide will see an elite shoot-out between two former No. 1 draft picks, Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow. The question arises, which quarterback will come away with their first Super Bowl ring?

The Pathway for the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI was a rollercoaster. According to ESPN, The Bengals were “125-1 long shots” to make the Super Bowl. Cincinnati played in ten one-score games this season, including three that went into overtime. This season, the Bengals’ 10-7 regular-season record was a huge turnaround compared to 2-15 in 2019 and 4-13 in 2020. 

Burrow was the Bengals’ gift due to their atrocity of a season in 2019 and the Bengals are lucky to have him. The Bengals have had issues with their offensive line all season, as Burrow was sacked a league-leading 51 times during the regular season. Nonetheless, the “shiesty” quarterback still finds a way to make a play with limited time to throw in the pocket, which will come in handy when faced against the dominant pass rush of the Rams. 

Junior business administration student Pierce Mclendon has thoughts on what the Bengals need to focus on to become Super Bowl champs.

“As long as the O-line gives Burrow as much time as he needs in the pocket, and the defense can contain the playmakers on offense for the Rams, they can snag this win,” Mclendon said. 

A famous saying that describes the Bengals ideally is, “just keep swimming.” The Bengals entered the season not given much of a chance to make the playoffs and now they have the opportunity to bring Cincinnati their first-ever Super Bowl title.

While having a superstar quarterback taking the NFL by storm, impeccable receivers like Ja’Marr Chase and a top-ten defense, the Bengals have the keys to bringing home the Lombardi Trophy. 

On the other side of the field, the LA Rams have quarterback Matthew Stafford, who’s never won a playoff game before this season and is playing in his first NFL Super Bowl. 

In Ram’s previous win against the 49ers, Stafford was 31/45, with 337 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Come Sunday, Stafford has the opportunity to win his first Super Bowl.

Coach Sean McVay, at 36 years, is the youngest coach to make two super bowls. McVay’s first appearance was with the Rams in 2019, when they lost to the New England Patriots. McVay has made roster changes, and from that season forward, his coaching record has been 22-11 in the regular season

McVay’s experience in the Super Bowl gives him an advantage against Zac Taylor; ironically enough, according to CBS SPORTS, Taylor was under McVay as an assistant wide receivers coach in 2017.  

With a veteran quarterback, the Rams are in a favorable position. They have players on their roster who’ve competed and won at the highest point in the season and have home-field advantage in the Super Bowl.

McVay appreciates the opportunity to host the Super Bowl at their home field but will still be ready as if it were any other game.

“It’s a great opportunity to take in, but also, we have to make sure that we’ve got laser focus on the task at hand,” McVay said. McVay mentions that his team has done a great job focusing and concentrating on getting better and becoming prepared to win this game. 

What stands out the most in this matchup is that the Bengals have a young roster, while the Rams roster has more playoff and Super Bowl experience. 

According to FiveThirtyEight,  the Rams have earned 38 total Pro Bowl selections and 20 first-team All-Pro nods; the Bengals have seven and zero, respectively. 

To watch the last game of the NFL season, you can tune into NBC on Sunday at 6:30 pm ET. The Student University Activities Board (SUAB) will have a Super Bowl watch party starting at 6 pm in Deese Ballroom.