Super Bowl 56, Who You Got?

Ameer Beharie, Staff Writer

Super Bowl weekend is almost upon us and I for one can’t believe it’s been 21 weeks already. We have two absolute heavyweights going up against each other in the fight for the Lombardi Trophy. Joe Burrow’s Bengals have been on an improbable playoff run that may finish in spectacular fashion unless the Rams have anything to say about it. 

The Bengals have been nothing short of superb this season, but now they  face their biggest challenge yet in a Rams team that was built for this very moment.  Even though the scene and the moment may be big for the Bengals franchise, it won’t be too big for Joe Burrow and Jamarr Chase, two players who shared the field together in their collegiate days winning one of the greatest national titles in recent memory at LSU. Those two guys have brought a unique swagger to Cincinnati, something they haven’t seen since the days of Chad Ochocinco. The confident approach these two bring to the field has flowed through the entire team and fueled this title run for them. In short, they have made the improbable probable. Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is someone who could definitely cause problems for a young quarterback like  Burrow and he could absolutely make Chase a non-factor if called upon to do so. As if having one of the league’s best corners to contend with wasn’t enough, Burrow will have to deal with one of the best  defensive fronts in football that features Aaron Donald, Von MIller and Leonard Floyd. These guys may wreak havoc on a Bengals offensive line that, in the divisional round,  allowed 9 sacks to a much weaker Tennessee TItans defense.

The Rams are an absolute juggernaut who have planned all season to be on this  stage. The Rams went all in this season making aggressive moves all year including their biggest move: bringing in Matthew Stafford at quarterback. While the trade for Stafford cost them two first round picks, a third, and former starter Jarod Goff, a win in this game will make it worth it.  The team did not stop with the Stafford trade though as they also traded  future draft capital for perennial Pro Bowl edge rusher  Von Miller. Another key move took place mid-season when they  signed enigmatic wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. after his release by Cleveland. Adding Beckham to emerging star  Cooper Kupp has given Stafford plenty of offensive firepower to work with and easily  his best set of weapons since the Calvin Johnson era in Detroit.Stafford may be a seasoned vet but his first playoff win came this  season which means  that this stage is entirely new to him as well. . While the Rams have a pretty solid veteran group, including players that were with them in 2019 when they lost Super Bowl 53 to the Patriots, it will be interesting to see how guys like Stafford, Beckham, and Cupp respond to the big stage. The Bengals have played the entire postseason like they’re absolutely ready for the moment, while the Rams have shown some lapses, most notably Stafford who was only a dropped interception by 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt away from going home and the Forty-Niners taking on the Bengals. Stafford will have to prove he can play in front of the bright lights and not blink if the Rams are going to take this one. For the Bengals, this has been one amazing ride and if their young players can continue to play at the high level they have been, it could be championship time in Cincy. 


My pick: Bengals 34 Rams 31