Bengals, Rams set to square off in Super Bowl

Max Yazdian, Contributing Reporter

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Maggie Pasterz

The Jacksonville Jaguars ended the 2021 season with the worst record in the NFL. This was expected, as their preseason Super Bowl odds were +12500, nearly tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for third-worst in the NFL. Yet, in one of the most improbable runs we have ever seen, the Bengals will face the Los Angeles Rams in the 2022 Super Bowl

While the Bengals are the underdog story of the year, the Rams are supposed to be here. They have not picked in the first round since 2016, and they won’t be picking in it again until 2024 at the latest. This is because they have gone all-in on their current Super Bowl window. 

By trading draft picks for star veterans such as Matthew Stafford, Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey, they announced to the league that they believed this season was Super Bowl or bust. Despite all the pressure they put on themselves, they proved themselves right and will be playing in their second Super Bowl in four years

This matchup has great storylines all over the place, but, when talking about the 2022 Super Bowl, you must start with the quarterbacks. While Joe Burrow and Stafford both came into the league as first overall draft picks from big-time Southeastern Conference schools, their roads to getting here couldn’t be more different. 

Burrow is a young hotshot quarterback who turned the Bengals from the worst team in the NFL into a Super Bowl team in two years. This postseason has just added to Burrow’s impressive resume, as he already has a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship trophy sitting at home. 

On the other hand, Stafford has not seen success like this in his entire 13-year career. Coming into this postseason, Stafford had never won a playoff game and had only made it to the postseason three times. Many people believed that Stafford was never the problem, as he played for the woeful Detroit Lions for 12 years prior. Stafford has proven those people right, as he took his team to the Super Bowl in his first season out of Detroit.

Despite all the hype around the two quarterbacks, the most important matchup in this game may be the Bengals offensive line versus the Rams’ defensive line. The Bengals’ offensive line has been their weak point all season, and just two weeks ago allowed an NFL playoff record nine sacks in the Divisional Round. 

Unfortunately for them, they may be playing the best pass-rushing duo in the league, facing  Aaron Donald, three-time defensive player of the year, and Miller, the 2016 Super Bowl MVP. Both players are having great postseasons so far, and if the Bengals’ O-line is not able to protect Burrow, the Bengals may not stand a chance. 

Another great matchup to watch in this game is the play of the receiving cores from both sides. Rookie Ja’marr Chase has had arguably the greatest rookie receiving year in NFL history, as he broke the record for most rookie receiving yards in a single season and single postseason. 

On the other side, breakout star Cooper Kupp is coming off one of the best receiving seasons we have ever seen. He got the rare receiving triple crown, leading the league in receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns. Mid-season acquisition Odell Beckham Jr. has also played a large role in the Rams’ playoff run and has looked rejuvenated ever since leaving the Cleveland Browns. 

Overall, this should be a great game, but when it’s all said and done, the Rams’ defensive line will be too much for the Bengals to handle. Therefore, The Hullabaloo predicts the Rams to win 24-20.

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