Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams: Super Bowl LVI Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 2/13/2022

by Chuck Sommers

Super Bowl LVI

Game time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Venue: SoFI Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Where to watch: NBC

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Rams -4; O/U 48.5; Rams -200, Bengals +170
BetMGM: Rams -4.5; O/U 48.5; Rams -200, Bengals +165
Caesars: Rams -4.5; O/U 48.5; Rams -200, Bengals +170

Season record
Bengals: 10-7
Rams: 12-5

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Bengals - Rams preview, analysis and prediction

Last week
Bengals: won 27-24 (OT) at Chiefs in AFC Championship
Rams: won 20-17 vs. 49ers in NFC Championship

There are times that we should appreciate the Super Bowl for what it is. We have the moments for the next transcending star; like Patrick Mahomes over the past two years. Or the moving on of those who came changed the sport forever, like the greatness of Tom Brady winning seven of these and cementing himself as the greatest to ever play the game.

Super Bowl LVI could possibly begin the transformation of that arc on Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams meet at SoFI Stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

And much like the game has revolved around the likes of Mahomes and Brady over the past few years, this year’s Super Bowl will also be the battle of the quarterbacks, and the story arc for both of them are absolutely endearing.

We’ll start with the “road” team and the story of Joe Burrow. It only seems like yesterday that Burrow was smoking a cigar after leading LSU to a national championship, and in just three years since going No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft, Burrow has the chance to become Cincinnati’s greatest son.

Down 21-3 in the second quarter, Burrow led the Bengals to a thrilling come-from-behind win in the AFC Championship last Sunday and eventually winning 27-24 against Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Burrow threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns to cap what has been a string of impressive wins to get to the big game.

But it has been the Cincinnati defense that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to get to this point. In each of Cincy’s wins, the defense has come up with an interception in the final stages to set up a victory. In the Wild Card Round, it was Germaine Pratt at the goal line on Derek Carr. At the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round, it was Logan Wilson.

Then it was Vonn Bell in overtime on Mahomes, thanks to a timely deflection from Jessie Bates, to put the Bengals in position. Nine plays and 42 yards later, Evan McPherson’s 31-yard field goal put the Bengals in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988.

"Usually when you lose the coin flip to those guys, you're going home," said Burrow. "Our defense really stepped up and made plays in the second half. And on offense we made plays when we had to. I thought the offensive line played really well all day. We started running the ball there at the end and that's exciting.”

Burrow wasn’t even a twinkle in God’s eyes the last time the Bengals were playing in the Super Bowl. Boomer Esiason was leading the top offense in the league at the time, throwing for 3,572 yards and 28 touchdowns. Those stats in 2022 would find you scratching for backup jobs around the league.

But what this also tells you is the importance of finding the right guy. The Bengals spent years after Esiason trying to find their next franchise guy. Jeff Blake, Jon Kitna, Carson Palmer, and Andy Dalton. Many have tried, but they have failed. Burrow’s turn is now, and his time appears to be now.

Not if Matthew Stafford has anything to say about that.

The former No. 1 pick is also playing in his first Super Bowl at age 34; his birthday is actually Monday, so go figure. A great birthday present for him winning his first ring and cementing his spot as a hall-of-fame quarterback. 

Stafford threw for 337 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ 20-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship on Sunday in what seemed like an impromptu road game for the home team.

After 12 years in Detroit, the quarterback has won his first playoff game and is playing for his first championship. People forget he’s been one of the best statistical passers for many years but never had the help -- outside of Calvin Johnson -- to make the long trip to the Super Bowl. He gets that chance now.

“He’s elevated everybody around him,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of his quarterback. “He’s made me a better coach. He’s made his teammates better. He’s such a great person. I think you guys know from getting a chance to interact with him. If you don’t root for this guy, something’s wrong with you.”

It’s also the battle of two young coaches, both coaches together at some point, with McVay in his second Super Bowl and Bengals coach Zac Taylor in his first appearance after three years with Cincinnati. Two offensive prodigies going at it, with strong defenses playing well, makes this a great game.

Heading into Monday, the Rams are still favored but the line has gone up a point since open. The key for this is the under. The low side is 27-10-1 in the Rams’ last 38 games as a favorite, and is also 4-1 in the last five where the Rams run for fewer than 90 yards in their last game. That even incorporates for the Bengals, with the under going 7-0 in their last seven games.

If this is a defensive matchup, the Rams are the absolute play. But for as much as I want Stafford to cement his legacy and be the one to lead the Rams back to prominence, there’s something about the Bengals, man. It’s the fact that the young quarterback has been so good under pressure this entire run, and it almost seems like Hollywood could use the storybook ending. Cincy’s greatest son is here, and a championship would be his ultimate cap to this year. I’m believing in Burrow and the tigers. Bengals by 3

Betting trends

The Bengals are 22-17 ATS as an underdog the past three seasons.

The Bengals are 3-10 ATS off consecutive upset wins as an underdog.

The under is 28-12 in the Rams' last 40 as a favorite.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Joe Burrow -- 4,611 yards, 34 TD, 14 INT
Rushing: Joe Mixon -- 1,205 yards, 13 RD
Receiving: Ja'Marr Chase -- 1,455 yards, 13 TD 

Passing: Matthew Stafford -- 4,886 yards, 41 TD, 17 INT
Rushing: Sony Michel -- 845 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Cooper Kupp --  1,947 yards, 16 TD

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Cincinnati Bengals - Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NFL projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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