Super Bowl LVI: 3 reasons why the Rams will crush the Bengals
Super Bowl LVI is set after a wild Conference Championship weekend that featured a pair of double-digit comebacks from the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams.
The Bengals defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead after falling behind by 18 points, tying for the largest comeback in Conference Championship history. Their defense led the way while quarterback Joe Burrow made several big throws to complete the effort.
A few hours later, the Rams fell behind 17-7 in the second half at home to the San Francisco 49ers before battling back to score 13 straight and earn their bid in the big game. It broke a six-game losing streak to the 49ers, and gives the Rams an opportunity to win a title in their home stadium two weeks from now.
The Rams opened as four-point favorites for the Super Bowl, and had much lower odds in the futures market than the Bengals before the playoffs began. In light of that, here are three big reasons why the Rams will crush the Bengals on Super Bowl Sunday.
Sun, February 13 2022, 11:30 PM
1. The Bengals' Pass Blocking is Second Rate
This is likely the biggest key to the game and represents the largest mismatch of all. By the end of the season, the Rams had the best pass rush win rate of all teams in the NFL, according to ESPN. All-Pro Aaron Donald leads the way by demanding double-teams, but Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and A’Shawn Robinson are all elite talents in their own right as well. The bottom-line is the Rams get to the quarterback as effectively as any team in the league.
On the other side is the Bengals' offensive line, which was their biggest question mark entering 2021. They have been far better than expected, but still finished the season 30th in pass block win rate. We saw in the Divisional Round game against the Tennessee Titans how much they could struggle, and they're liable to be even worse against the Rams.
The Bengals will almost certainly look to run and get the ball out of Burrow’s hands quickly to mitigate the strong rush, but it may not be enough. With a strong secondary behind a defensive line that can press receivers, the Bengals may find themselves getting mowed down in the trenches without relief.
2. The Bengals had a weak schedule
The Bengals have overcome great odds to find their way to the Super Bowl, defeating the Raiders, Titans, and Chiefs en route to the title game.
Despite that postseason success, however, Cincinnati played one of the weakest schedules of any teams in the NFL this year, while the Rams played in one of the league’s toughest divisions.
The Bengals played almost no elite offenses in 2021, and despite their success in shutting down the Chiefs in the second half, the game tape shows that the Chiefs' woes were largely self-inflicted.
The Bengals’ best wins this year have been Kansas City and Tennessee, but beyond that their resume isn’t overly impressive. Reality will set in by kickoff of Super Bowl LVI, and the glittering coach they rode in will turn into a pumpkin.
3. The Rams have Elite Veteran Talent
The Bengals are a very young team, led by a 38-year-old head coach in Zac Taylor, and a second-year quarterback in Joe Burrow. They performed admirably in the regular season, but in the Super Bowl there's something to be said for having veteran leadership and experience.
The Rams have veteran stars at every level of their offense and defense. These veterans make up some of their best stars, too, and they could make the big plays needed to secure a victory.
When the lights are brightest, it pays to have players who aren’t easily intimidated. The Rams not only have more experience, but they also get to play in their home stadium. Distractions seem far more likely to affect the underdogs here, and against a team as talented as the Rams, the slightest drop in focus could lead to a blowout defeat.