Rams vs. Bengals: Super Bowl LVI staff picks and expert analysis
The eyes of the world will be on SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 13 when the Los Angeles Rams lock horns with the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. It’s a matchup few would have anticipated 12 months ago after the Bengals posted a miserable 4-11-1 record and finished below .500 for the fifth year in a row.
However, a comeback season from sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow and a sensational rookie campaign from wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase has Cincinnati just one win away from the franchise's first NFL championship.
Will the Bengals hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, or will that honor go to the favored Rams, who will become just the second team in NFL history to compete for a Super Bowl on their own home turf? We posed that question to our TwinSpires Sports staff, and they didn’t hold back.
Check out their picks below, and remember to follow us on game day as we provide complete coverage of Super Bowl LVI.
Sun, February 13 2022, 11:30 PM
Super Bowl LVI Picks
Ashley Anderson: Give me the Bengals plus the points. The Rams have looked highly beatable in their last two playoff games, while Cincinnati has been red-hot in the postseason, knocking down the No. 1 seed (Tennessee) and the preseason Super Bowl favorite (Kansas City) on the road to the Super Bowl. The Bengals are 7-0 against the spread in their last seven games and 3-0 ATS in the 2022 playoffs. If they can force a few Rams turnovers and turn Matthew Stafford’s game upside down — like the defense did to Patrick Mahomes in the second half of the AFC Championship Game —Cincinnati will have all the momentum and may just come away with the franchise’s first Super Bowl title.
Robert Criscola: After putting up only three points in Super Bowl LIII, the Los Angeles Rams should be able to redeem themselves against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. Football games are usually won in the trenches, and the Rams’ defensive front (51 sacks, third in the NFL this season) has a tremendous advantage over the Bengals’ porous offensive line (55 sacks allowed, third-most this year). Matthew Stafford should be able to effectively attack the Cincinnati pass stoppers, utilizing receiving triple crown winner Cooper Kupp, and a resurgent Odell Beckham Jr. Joe Burrow and company could be an AFC contender for years to come, but youth is unlikely to be served on Sunday. Back LA to win and cover the spread.
Taylor Ginnetti: While the Bengals continue to prove their doubters wrong, I think LA’s stalwart D-line will get the better of Joe Burrow’s offense, and will prove to be the deciding factor. Rams by six.
Jeremy Jones: I wish this spread was less than three points, but I am not going to take a team against the spread that I think is going to lose in the postseason. Nonetheless, the Rams' defensive line will be a menace to Joe Burrow all game long and they will force several mistakes and sacks. I actually like Von Miller as a longshot to take home the MVP award.
Annie Moore: I could talk about how the Bengals are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games, they are. I could talk about how C.J. Uzomah's return could be a shot in the arm to the offense, it could. But the truth is, I've been a Bengals fan my entire life and this is the first Super Bowl I've seen them in, so I'm all in. The hardest decision I plan on making Sunday is between the T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chad Johnson, Chad Ochocinco, or Carson Palmer jerseys I'll wear.
Ryan Murphy: I've been a huge fan of Joe Burrow since he led LSU to a national championship, but I'm also a realist, and the reality is that "Joey Franchise" has suffered more hits than a crash test dummy this year. The 25-year-old QB was sacked an NFL-worst 51 times during the regular season and was brought down an additional nine times in Cincinnati's divisional round win over the Titans. That's not just bad, it's historically bad. The lack of protection from Cincy's offensive line was a big problem all year, and it's going to be an even bigger issue against LA's terrifying defense, which finished third in the NFL in sacks, and first in haunting the dreams of rivals QBs. Expect Burrow to eat plenty of turf on Sunday as Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Von Miller lead the Rams to victory.
James Scully: Close games were a staple of the Divisional and Conference Championship rounds, and we can expect more of the same in the Super Bowl. In a close, low-scoring game that will be decided by a field goal, Cincinnati and the Under (48.5 points) offer value.
Scott Shapiro: The Rams have some serious advantages, but not ones that Cincinnati has not overcome already in the postseason. Blocking Aaron Donald and crew will be a major challenge for Cincinnati’s porous offensive line, and winning the turnover battle for a fourth straight week will require both grit and good fortune. However, Joe Burrow and this gutsy Bengals team just have an intangible that cannot be found on a spreadsheet. Give me the Bengals and the points, as well as the Under in both the first half and for the game.
Adam Spradling: If the Bengals win, it’s because Joe Burrow makes it happen. The second-year QB must execute flawlessly, amid offensive line breakdowns, and the Bengals' defense has to pitch in by causing a turnover that puts points on the board. If every tool at the Bengals' disposal has the best game of their season, Cincinnati will win the Super Bowl. If any tool does not appear sharp enough, the Rams will win through sheer talent and pure surgical precision. I’m hopeful Burrow’s leadership and grit will help the Bengals claim their first Super Bowl title.
Thomas Tassone: The Rams' deadly front seven featuring Donald, Miller and Floyd is a scary sight for any quarterback, but this is Joe Burrow we’re talking about. While revitalizing the Bengals franchise, he’s captured hearts across America for his confident swagger and natural playmaking ability. Add that with the fact Cincinnati has covered seven straight? That’s not a team I’m looking to fade. Give me the Bengals.