Los Angeles Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals Matchup Preview (2/13/22): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Los Angeles Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals Matchup Preview (2/13/22)

What a random matchup. Even saying it out loud takes some getting used to — “Super Bowl LVI: Bengals vs Rams”. While it’s not the game many of us were expecting, it’s certainly a game we can all find something to root for in. Neither head coach or starting quarterback has won a Super Bowl and the only time either of these franchises has lifted a Vince Lombardi Trophy was when Kurt Warner’s St. Louis Rams stopped the Titans at the 1-yard line in Super Bowl XXXIV.  

With a win, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow would become the third quarterback ever to win both a college national championship and a Super Bowl — Joe Namath and Joe Montana being the other two. At age 25, he would also be the youngest Super Bowl winning QB since Ben Roethlisberger in 2006. Similarly, Sean McVey and Zac Taylor are the two youngest coaches to ever face off in a Super Bowl at ages 36 and 38, respectively. Matt Stafford, meanwhile, has a chance to flip the narrative on his entire career by getting a ring in his first season outside Detroit. After spending 13 seasons with the Lions, many believed he would never get the chance to prove himself on the biggest stage.

This has been one of the more incredible postseasons of recent history and it all comes down to one game at SoFi on February 13th. If what we’ve seen so far is any indication of how this game is going to go, buckle up — because crazier things have happened.

Los Angeles Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds

The Rams seem like the sharp play at -4 but so did the Chiefs and Titans the previous two weekends. There is some substance to the fact that LA’s defensive front is unlike anything the Bengals have seen this year which certainly creates a mismatch given how bad Cincinnati’s offensive line has been. The Bengals have only faced two teams this year that finished the season ranked top 11 in DVOA (the Niners once and the Browns twice), and were 0-3 in such games. Burrow isn’t going to be able to escape the clutches of Aaron Donald and Von Miller like he was against Kansas City’s defensive line, but he also proved in the Tennessee game that, even if you can get to him, he’s going to remain aggressive on offense.

At the end of the day, this Bengals team is reasonably unreasonable. Their secondary, which ranks in the bottom quarter of the league according to most defensive metrics, has undeniably been a deciding force in each playoff game. The wide receiver trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd has been able to create space in big spots, though they still haven’t faced a dynamic secondary this postseason. The Mixon/Perine package in the short game has been a great bail out device for Burrow when the pocket collapses. Having all units playing with momentum and the clear advantage at kicker is worth 2-3 points in and of itself.

Historically, though, it is defense that tends to prevail in the Super Bowl. I like the Rams to win outright, but don’t be fooled by the key number at 4 — the Bengals are going to be keeping it close. Ultimately, I like the Rams defensive line of Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and Aaron Donald to get to Burrow early and often. Matt Stafford is a clear upgrade over Ryan Tannehill at QB, and I don’t like the Bengals to win in spite of relentless quarterback pressure again. Burrow had to be Houdini in the pocket on third down last weekend and the Chiefs D-Line isn’t that good.

My predictions: Rams win 17-14, Bengals cover (+4) and the under hits (u48.5)

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, February 13
Time: 6:30 PM EST
Location: SoFi Stadium – Inglewood, CA
TV Coverage:  NBC

Los Angeles Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals Live Stream

Where can you watch Rams vs Bengals online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Rams vs Bengals Free Online Now.

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Cincinnati Bengals Analysis

Arguably the best thing Joe Burrow has done this year is stop turning the ball over. One of his biggest knocks coming out of LSU was that he could be aggressive in the passing game almost to a fault — sometimes throwing into windows that didn’t exist. Over the latter half of the regular season and into the postseason, he’s kept this high level of aggression but gotten rid of the turnovers that accompany it, throwing just 1 pick in his last 8 games. Being safe with the ball is going to remain crucial in this game as the only time the Bengals have lost by more than 3 points this season with Burrow as the starter is when he’s thrown multiple picks.

Joe Mixon is averaging 3.6 yards a rush this postseason and has been the bellwether back for this team. Ja’Marr Chase has already broken the rookie record for postseason receiving yards with 279 yards in 3 games and is 90 receiving yards away from gabbing a top 10 spot all time for yards in a single postseason. Tee Higgins has also played a huge roll, finishing with a team high 103 yards in last weekend’s game against the Chiefs.

Defensively, a tip of the cap is due for Bengals DC Lou Anarumo for his second half adjustments on Mahomes. While they didn’t necessarily throw anything new at Mahomes by dropping 8 guys in coverage, they clearly rattled him for the second straight time and that has to be worth something. Trey Hendrickson has been a huge edition on the defensive line, accumulating 14 sacks and 31 tackles on the season. DE Sam Hubbard has also been a big part of this blooming pass rush with 7.5 sacks of his own. The Bengals have now forced 6 interceptions and 8 sacks in three playoff games — all against veteran quarterbacks.

Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

QB: Joe Burrow
RB1: Joe Mixon
RB2: Samaje Perine
WR1: Ja’Marr Chase
WR2: Tee Higgins
WR3 Tyler Boyd
TE1: C.J. Uzomah
TE2: Drew Sample

Los Angeles Rams Analysis

Where Ja’Marr Chase has a chance to creep into the top 10 list for receiving yards in a single postseason, Cooper Kupp is already there. With 386 yards on 25 receptions, Kupp is just 58 yards away from the number 2 overall spot and 160 yards away from the record held by Larry Fitzgerald in 2008. He’ll have his chances on the 13th as Matt Stafford tries to become the second straight quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory in his first year with a new team.

The similarities between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 2020 and the Los Angeles Rams of 2021 don’t end with Stafford and Brady, though. Both teams hosted the Super Bowl after finishing the regular season with the 4th overall seed in the NFC. Both teams were/are defined by their strong defensive lines and veteran quarterback play. Both teams feature/featured a celebrity receiver with a jaded past looking to right the ship of their career (Antonio Brown for the Bucs, OBJ for the Rams). Finally, both teams were/are seeking their first Super Bowl since the early 2000s. There’s a sense of familiarity to this Rams team that a lot of people can cling to.

Offensively, Cam Akers has been a valuable addition off the IR and will likely see a lot of action early as McVey likes to establish the run game when he can. The Stafford OBJ connection has flourished over the last two weeks and cannot be undersold especially as teams begin to double down on Kupp with the high safety.

Defensively, the Rams are lead by the veteran presence of Aaron Donald and Von Miller up front and Jalen Ramsey in the secondary. Though the Rams defensive front has only accumulated 5 sacks this postseason, they’ve created nightmares in three consecutive weeks for Kyler Murray, Tom Brady, and Jimmy Garoppolo. No RB has rushed for over 28 yards on them in the playoffs and they enter the Super Bowl with the best pass rush win rate.

Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart

QB: Matthew Stafford
RB1: Cam Akers
RB2: Sony Michel
WR1: Cooper Kupp
WR2: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR3: Van Jefferson
TE1: Tyler Higbee

Super Bowl MVP Value Picks

The two best value picks for Super Bowl MVP right now are Aaron Donald at 17:1 and Joe Mixon at 35:1. Like Von Miller in Super Bowl L, there’s a good chance Aaron Donald has a couple sacks and possibly a forced fumble as he goes against Cincinnati’s 30th raked pass-blocking offensive line. If this ends up being a low-scoring affair, he could finish as the sole difference-maker of note.

On the flip side, there’s a shot Joe Mixon becomes the stabilizing offensive force for the Bengals against a relentless pass rush. We know Zac Taylor likes drawing up screen plays, and if Joe Burrow has an otherwise pedestrian performance, Mixon could sneak in and snag the MVP with a pair of touchdowns in a low-scoring game.

As a central Ohio native and lifelong Cleveland sports fan, Patrick Monnin has lived the emotional rollercoaster every sports fan knows all too well. Whether it be the Browns or the Buckeyes, he loves watching football and going on nice long runs in the afternoon. In the local Chicago area, where he now lives, he can often be found making the case for LeBron James as the greatest basketball player ever.

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