top of page
  • pkostopanagiotis

Super Bowl LVI Preview

It's Super Bowl week, and TRO is here to provide you with all the information, random facts, and matchup breakdowns to get you ready for the big game:

via Kirby Lee / USA Today


The battle for the Lombardi is just days away. To help pass the time, TRO is here to set the scene, break down the matchup, and assess each team's strengths and weaknesses.


GAMEDAY TIDBITS:

Sunday Information:

  • When: Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 6:30 P.M. EST

  • Where: SoFi Stadium - Inglewood, California

  • How to Watch: NBC and NFL Network

  • Halftime: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar

  • Weather: The southern portion of California will be under a heat advisory this weekend, and this will likely be one of the hottest Super Bowls of all time. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. local time, making it near the daily high of 82 degrees. While SoFi stadium will be shaded, and portions of the stadium will be opened for ventilation, there are no commercial air conditioning capabilities, so the temperature in the stadium will hover around the low 80s to high 70s.

  • Uniforms:


Battle of the 4s

  • For the first time in NFL history, the Super Bowl will be between the 4 Seed in the AFC and the 4 Seed in the NFC.

  • This will be the youngest head coaching matchup - Zac Taylor (38) and Sean McVay (36).

  • Bengals' Zac Taylor was a part of Sean McVay's coaching staff in Los Angeles as the team's wide receivers coach in 2017 and the quarterbacks coach in 2018 until he took the Bengals' head coaching job in 2019.

Cincinnati Benglas

  • This will be the Bengals' third shot at securing the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy, after they came up short in 1982 (1981 Season) and 1989 (1988 Season) - both times to the 49ers. We're sure the older members of the Bengals' faithful are probably thrilled that the Rams stuck it to San Francisco in the NFC Championship.

  • Before this year's magical run, the Bengals had not won a playoff game since 1990.

  • Last Season, the Bengals only scraped together 4 wins.

  • The Bengals have built mostly through the draft, constructing a youthful and electric core.

  • Despite playing in the Rams' home stadium, the Bengals will technically be the home team in Sunday's game due to the fact that the NFL alternates which conference serves as the home team each year. This means they will actually be using the Rams' locker room, and Los Angeles will be utilizing the visitor's, which has to feel strange for the Rams players.

Los Angeles Rams

  • This will be the Rams' fifth appearance, with the last one coming as recent as 2018 when they lost a defensive slugfest to the Patriots. The Rams organization did win one ring in 2000 (1999 Season) by defeating the Tennessee Titans in the "Greatest Show on Turf."

  • The Rams continued to mortgage the future for the present by trading for quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Sony Michel in the offseason, and then for Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in the middle of the Season before the trade deadline.

  • A win would make Sean McVay the youngest Super Bowl champion head coach in League history (36), passing Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin by 2 months.

  • The Rams snapped a 6 game losing streak to San Francisco to make it to the big game.

POSITION MATCHUPS:

via Twitter / Around the NFL


QUARTERBACKS

  • Bengals: Joe Burrow

    • Second year player, number one overall draft pick in 2020. Burrow's promising rookie season was cut short by a brutal knee injury in which he tore his ACL, MCL, and suffered PCL and meniscus damage. This year Burrow has been one of the coolest cats in the League, leading his team to multiple comeback wins and throwing for several country miles.

  • Rams: Matthew Stafford

    • 13 year NFL veteran, drafted number one overall in 2009. After spending the first 12 years of his career in Detroit, Stafford was given very few opportunities to shine in prime time games and in the post season (0-3 in the playoffs going into this year). Stafford always put up tremendous numbers, and has been respected as one of the toughest competitors in the League. In his first year in a situation primed for success, he has not disappointed.

EDGE: Bengals

  • If you put the quarterback on an island, we'll give the advantage to Cincinnati. While Stafford has the experience, and the more decorated resume, he also leads the League in interceptions this year. Burrow has been less prone to make mistakes, and never seems afraid of or pressured by the moment.

RUNNINGBACKS

  • Bengals: Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine

  • Rams: Sony Michel, Cam Akers

EDGE: Bengals

  • The Rams have a more lethal 1,2 punch in terms of the fact that Akers is closer to Michel in capabilities than Perine is to Mixon. That being said, Mixon has shown this year, he is still one of the premiere backs in the League and can shoulder the load as a bell cow piling over 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns throughout the regular season.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  • Bengals: Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd

  • Rams: Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham, Jr., Van Jefferson

EDGE: Push

  • This one is impossible to decide. There's no wrong answer.

  • For the Bengals, they have Chase, who is coming off of arguably the greatest rookie receiving year of all time, Higgins, a 1,000+ yard receiver despite missing 3 games, and Boyd, an 800+ yard receiver. All of these receivers have a knack for finding the end zone, and they are capable of cranking any reception into a home run hit.

  • On the other side, the Rams have Cooper Kupp, the best offensive player in football this year, and the first receiver since Steve Smith in 2005 (and just the 4th player all time) to bring home the receiving triple crown (lead the League in receptions, yards, and touchdowns). He has been remarkable, unguardable, and also a tremendous blocker in the run game. Alongside Kupp you will find recently acquired Odell Beckham, Jr., who has proven he is still a star in this League, and he has been nearly impossible to keep out of the end zone. In the slot you can find Van Jefferson, who is a 800+ yard receiver in his own right that can, and will, take the top off of any defense.

  • These are two of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL, and where the Bengals gain an advantage in youthful talent, the Rams counter that with veteran leadership.

TIGHT ENDS

  • Bengals: C.J. Uzomah, Drew Sample

  • Rams: (Tyler Higbee likely Out), Kendall Blanton, Brycen Hopkins

EDGE: Bengals

  • Both Uzomah and Higbee are hampered with sprained MCLs. The difference between the two is that Uzomah ripped off his leg brace in front of the Bengals fans at their home rally and announced that he would not miss the biggest game of his life. He then proceeded to run around the Cincinnati stadium, high-fiving fans. Since then, he has returned to practice (in a limited capacity), but has been progressing nicely to play Sunday.

  • On the other side, Higbee has not practiced, and his status for the Super Bowl is doubtful. If he was healthy, we would give the edge to the Rams, given he is a more explosive tight end than Uzomah, and we like the electricity Blanton has played with in his absnece.

  • All that being said, we think Higbee won't play, and if he does, it won't be successful. Uzomah is a reliable, savy veteran, who has more to offer than Blanton and Hopkins. Sample is rather unimpressive, but can still be fundamentally sound.

OFFENSIVE LINES

  • Bengals: Jonah Williams, Quinton Spain, Trey Hopkins, Jackson Carman, Isaiah Prince

  • Rams: Andrew Whitworth, David Edwards, Brian Allen, Austin Corbett, Rob Havenstein

EDGE: Rams

  • This one is a no-brainer. The Bengals' offensive line have allowed Joe Burrow to be the most-sacked quarterback in the League. They are a better run blocking unit, but the Andrew Whitworth-led Rams group is far more formidable as a whole.

DEFENSIVE LINES/EDGES

  • Bengals: Sam Hubbard, D.J. Reader, B.J. Hill, Trey Hendrickson

  • Rams: A'Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, Von Miller

EDGE: Rams

  • The Bengals have more talent spread across different players, but the Rams have Aaron Donald, who still might be the best pure football player in the world. Donald's ability to throw around 300+lb men with the flick of a wrist, demands double and triple teams, which free up his teammates. The acquisition of Von Miller, who has had a huge impact by making it even it harder for teams to direct ALL of their attention towards Donald. Despite the year Hendrickson has had in Cincinnati, along with the contributions of Hubbard and Reader, Los Angeles has the scarier front.

LINEBACKERS

  • Bengals: Logan Wilson, Markus Bailey, Germaine Pratt (O), Keandre Jones, Clay Johnson

  • Rams: Ernest Jones, Troy Reeder, Travin Howard, Christian Rozeboom

EDGE: Bengals

  • Logan Wilson has been an absolute stud for Cincinnati. His game excels on virtually every level. While the Bengals miss Pratt, the talent they have from Wilson, and his ability to elevate the play of his teammates, exceeds what is the weakest unit on the entire roster for the Rams.

CORNERBACKS

  • Bengals: Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, Eli Apple, Trae Wayans

  • Rams: Jalen Ramsey, Darious Wiliams, Dont'e Deayon, David Long, Jr.

EDGE: Rams

  • Jalen Ramsey is one of the best cornerbacks in all of football. His abilities often allow Los Angeles to avoid double teaming receivers, and lets them play a lot of zone coverage, taking the pressure off of the other members of the secondary. The Bengals corners could be worse, but they do not offer the outside help, stacking up to what Ramsey and company bring to the table.

SAFETIES

  • Bengals: Jessie Bates, III, Vonn Bell, Ricardo Allen, Michael Thomas

  • Rams: Nick Scott, Eric Weddle, Terrell Burgess

EDGE: Bengals

  • The Rams had to pull 37 year old, Eric Weddle out of his retirement that he had been into for nearly 3 years, to man the safety spot. He's such a brilliant player, that he has managed to play some fine football on such a short notice. However, that move by the Rams just goes to show how thin they are at the position. On the other side, you have Jessie Bates, III, who is one of the best in the business, Vonn Bell, who is an above-average starter, and starting caliber depth from Ricardo Allen. The safety positions are the strength of the Bengals' secondary, and the weakness of the Rams'.

KICKERS

  • Bengals: Evan McPherson

  • Rams: Matt Gay

EDGE: Bengals

  • As the Bengals have repeatedly told us, THAT IS WHY YOU DRAFT A KICKER. McPherson might be a rookie, but he is as clutch, cold-blooded, and confident as they come. It also helps that he has a monster leg. While Gay also has a solid leg, he dealt with a lingering injury late in the season, and has not been as impressive as McPherson has.

PUNTERS

  • Bengals: Kevin Huber

  • Rams: Johnny Hekker

EDGE: Rams

  • No disrespect to Huber, but Hekker is the best punter in the League. The kicks he is able to pull off could be classified as artwork. He honestly makes punting the ball entertaining. He is as efficient and reliable as they come.


STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:

via RamsWire / USA Today


STRENGTHS

  • Bengals: While the Bengals have one of the best receiving trios in the League and a top 10 passing offense, they are at their best when they establish the run game early. If they can get Joe Mixon going early, it will prevent opposing teams from teeing off on Joe Burrow. This will then allow for the Bengals to go vertical, especially off of play action, to get favorable one on one matchups for their receiving weapons.

  • The Bengals also have embraced the underdog, calm mentality. They seem to thrive when the odds are stacked against them, and have the benefit of already far exceeding everyone's expectations.

  • Rams: The Rams also have a top 10 passing unit, and love to get the ball down the field in a hurry. They can run the football, but it's not a major staple of their success. If the run game isn't there, they're capable of effectively executing screens, slants, and passes in the flats to create some separation. The Rams have playmakers on the defensive side of the ball that can create turnovers and frustrate offensive game plans, and all of that stems from their ability to get after the quarterback. Los Angeles enjoys the highest pass rush win rate in the NFL.

  • The Rams enjoy being the favorites. They have all the star power in the world on their roster, and they know it. That's what they set out to do in the offseason and before the trade deadline. They have confident veterans that are capable of leading this team.

WEAKNESSES

  • Bengals: The biggest weakness in Cincinnati is pass protection. Joe Burrow was sacked a League-high 51 times throughout the regular season. In the Wildcard, Joe Burrow was sacked by 9 times by the Titans. The Bengals also have a tendency to come out of the gates a little flat. Their slow starts have forced them to come from behind to win throughout the Playoffs.

  • Rams: The Rams can't stay out of their own way. They tend to commit turnovers, and they almost always leave the back door open for opponents. Their inability to keep their foot on the throttle while leading early has nearly cost them their appearance in this game.


TRO thinks we will be in for an exciting matchup. The star power all over the field on both teams should lead to explosive plays, and one team's ability to stay in games, mixed with the other's inability to close out games should make for an exciting finish. We believe the tale of the game will be Aaron Donald not wanting to waste his second opportunity to cement his legacy, as the Rams' pass rush will be too much for the Bengals suspect offensive line to handle. Stay tuned for our Super Bowl Bets article set to drop Saturday for our pick against the spread, and prop bets galore.






21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page