The Super Bowl is nearly upon us and that means watching the Los Angeles Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals on the biggest stage in football. Both teams had their ups and downs this season but finished strong with great post-season performances. That being said, let’s preview all the stats you need to know, the matchups to watch in the game, and my final score prediction.

Matthew Stafford-Cooper Kupp connection helps Rams move to 2-0

Rams Offense

The Rams offense is headlined by its new signal caller Matthew Stafford who has been nearly perfect in the post-season. In 3 games he’s posted a 73% completion percentage, thrown for 905 yards and 6 touchdowns. His favorite target, Cooper Kupp, has been on a rampage throughout the postseason and is a big reason why the Rams have made it this far. The Rams passing game also includes former Cleveland Brown Odell Beckham Jr., 2nd year wideout Van Jefferson, and rookie Ben Skowronek. Stafford’s gunslinger mentality has helped the Rams push the ball down the field but has also come at the cost of a league leading 17 interceptions. He has improved his play in the post season, but mistakes like those could cost this team a win.

Their rushing attack is led by 2nd year back Cam Akers who recently came back from an Achilles injury he suffered during training camp. The Rams have rotated through 3 backs throughout the year due to injury or other reasons so Darrell Henderson, Sony Michel, and Cam Akers have all had their time to shine. All 3 backs totaled 1,536 yards and 22 total touchdowns in the regular season, a great season on the ground for this group. The Rams favorite scheme is 11 personnel or 3 wide receivers, a running back, and a tight end, which you’ll see them in 85% of the time.

LSU Football: Reactions to Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase performances

Bengals Offense

The Bengals offense this season has been headlined by the two former LSU Tigers, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. Just as Matthew Stafford loves Cooper Kupp, Burrow loves throwing the ball to his old teammate. Chase isn’t the only threat in the Bengals passing game, as Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd have also flashed this year. All 3 of them combined for 3,374 yards and 24 touchdowns in the regular season. Joe Mixon has been a big threat on the ground totaling 1,205 yards on the ground. He also had 314 receiving yards and is a dual threat in their backfield. Against a shaky Rams’ run defense, Mixon is a matchup they’ll need to exploit.

Rams Defense

The Rams defense regressed from their lofty spot at the top last year, but they’re still a threat. They’re anchored by their pass rush, led by Aaron Donald. The Rams were 3rd in the league this season with 50 sacks and 161 pressures. Along with Von Miller and Leonard Floyd, the Rams’ defensive line is good at getting to the QB. Against the run they’re solid ranking right behind the Bengals in yards allowed at 6, but rank 8th in rushing touchdowns allowed.

Jalen Ramsey punches Rams teammate, Sean McVay downplays incident | Marca

The Rams’ secondary has been the better half of this defense with help from the D-Line. They’ve allowed the 2nd least passing touchdowns and the 11th least passing yards. In terms of turnovers they rank 3rd in interceptions with 19 and have forced 6 fumbles. It’s easier to run on this defense than to test Jalen Ramsey and co.

Bengals Defense

The Bengals defense this season has been solid and improved due to their free agent signings this past offseason. Trey Hendrickson, Mike Hilton, DJ Reader, and Chidobe Awuzie were all free agent additions that play big roles on their defense. They’re pretty close to the Rams’ defense in terms of yards and points coming in at 18th in yards allowed and 17th in points allowed. Overall, they’re an average defense that has shown promise when they need it.

Matchups to watch

Rams Wide Receivers vs Bengals Secondary

Both of these teams have deep receiver groups and the Rams group vs the Bengals secondary should be fun to watch. Since Cooper Kupp plays most of his snaps out of the slot, he’ll likely be matched up on Mike Hilton. Hilton has upped his game during the post season and has yet to give up a touchdown in coverage. If Hilton can keep Kupp in check, that’ll force Stafford to look at Van Jefferson and OBJ to step up.

Rams Defensive Line vs Bengals Offensive Line

After a record breaking 9 sacks against the Titans, Cincinnati showed off one of its weaknesses. The Rams defensive front is averaging 2 sacks a game, and now gets to face the 20th ranked O-Line according to PFF. Unlike the Titans defense however, the Rams’ secondary is much harder to pass on. I could see a similar situation to last year’s Super Bowl if the Rams dominate in the trenches.

Darious Williams vs Tee Higgins

Everyone’s going to be talking about Jalen Ramsey vs Ja’Marr Chase, but this is the matchup that could decide the Super Bowl. If Ramsey is going to be shadowing Chase most game, that’ll leave Williams on Higgins or Boyd. Williams has struggled in coverage this season with his PFF grade dropping 15 points. Williams has allowed a 95.8 passer rating when targeted and when matched up on Higgins could be a liability. I can see Tee Higgins getting a lot of looks from Burrow if Williams can’t lock him up.

Prediction

My prediction is 36-27 Rams. I think that their defensive line will help them win this game. They’ve got great play in the trenches and a secondary that can back them up. It’ll ultimately come down to who plays the better defense, and I think Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey lead this team to a victory.

Please rate this

1 2 3 4 5

Leave a Reply