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To Live and Die in LA: Rams vs Bengals in Super Bowl 56

Los Angeles, California----Los Angeles, the city of angels is the host of Super Bowl 56 between the hometown Rams favored by 4 and the Cincinnati Bengals. Both teams have had improbable runs to bring them within one game of football glory. The Rams have mortgaged the future on winning now, trading away a number of first round picks for star talent. It was roughly one year ago when the franchise decided to trade away Jared Goff, a quarterback who took them to a Super Bowl appearance and first round picks for veteran Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Giving their offensive genius of a head coach Sean McVay a major upgrade.

Image provided by The Oakland Press

Stafford has had a breakout season throwing for over 40 touchdowns and 4,886 passing yards. His star receiver Cooper Kupp is the best in the game leading the league in catches, touchdowns and yards earning himself all-pro honors along with offensive player of the year. Along with Krupp, the rams acquired Odell Beckham jr. who has been on a redemption tour after being cut by Cleveland midway through the season. The Rams do not only have a top 10 offense but a defense as well. Their defense starts up front with one of the best defensive lineman in history in Aaron Donald. Donald who had 12.5 sacks this year will be a problem for the Bengals offensive line as he is a play disrupter. The line also has Von Miller, Super Bowl 50's MVP and Leonard Floyd who is having a breakout season himself. The back end has lockdown corner Jalen Ramsey and is an impressive group that will make it tough on Joe Burrow. The Rams are looking for redemption after losing Super Bowl 53.

The Bengals on the other side have shocked the football world, have 150-1 odds to win the Super Bowl of the year.

Image provided by Bleacher Report

Their turn around from having the sixth pick last year and going 4-12 is due to the dynamic duo of Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase. Burrow and Chase played together at LSU, winning the national championship. Joe Burrow is looking to be the first player ever to win the Heisman Trophy, college championship and Super Bowl. He is the rallying point for this team and has already received much acclaim from fans.

Another reason for the Bengals' postseason success is due to the right foot of Evan McPherson. The kicker has gone a perfect 12 for 12 on the field including two walk off game winning kicks vs the Titans and Chiefs. While the Bengals do not have the roster of the Rams, they have much more hype and momentum around them. This is the first Super Bowl appearance for the team since the 1988 season when Cris Collinsworth (who is announcing this game) was playing in it. The key for the Bengals to win is to get off to a hot start, putting the Rams on their heels which will not let the defensive line pine their ears back and rush Burrow. They can do this by getting running back Joe Mixon the ball which will give Burrow the time to get the ball to his playmaking receivers.

The Rams have the players to win in if they are able to not give up the home run ball to Chase and are able to contain Tee Higgins, a big body receiver. It is also reliant on Stafford not turning the ball over like he did in the regular season which he threw 17 interceptions tied for first in the league. The Bengals defense is above average but can make big stops as seen versus Kansas City. Stafford cannot turn the ball over and should not only rely on Kupp, but others as well. The game will come down to who can score on their possessions and capitalize on momentum shifts. It will be a competitive, close game between the boy wonder Sean McVay and his former wide receiver coach Zac Taylor.

My pick for this game is a Bengals win in the upset. I think Burrow, who is himself liable to turn the ball over will out-duel Stafford 31-28. It's going to be a close game that will come down to the last few minutes. I like the Bengals' energy coming into the game, offensive explosiveness and their defense which has played well down the stretch.

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