Overcoming The Odds: Super Bowl Preview

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Richard Graves

Presenter, Writer and Broadcaster

Overcoming The Odds: Super Bowl Preview

The Rams are all in! The Bengals are Chasing History. Who Prevails in Super Bowl LVI?


Super Bowl LVI: NFC Champion – LA Rams AFC Champion – Cincinnati Bengals


Los Angeles RAMS

The LA Rams have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table this year. They re-mortgaged the crown jewels in order to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Now they’re just one game away!

Defying conventional logic of building a team through the NFL Draft, they’ve traded their picks away to bring in star names like CB Jalen Ramsey, LB Von Miller, WR Odell Beckham was picked up through free agency and perhaps their biggest gamble – a year ago this week – the trade which saw their former no. 1 overall Draft pick, Jared Goff go to Detroit in exchange for the now 34 year old QB Matthew Stafford plus 2 x 1st round picks and a 3rd round Draft pick. For the LA Rams, it’s now or never with this group!

Stafford has done everything he was brought to Los Angeles to do. He got them into the playoffs as division champions, he’s been excellent in the post season and he’s delivered a place in the Super Bowl BUT this team was here before, 3 years ago and only posted 3 points in defeat to the Patriots at Super Bowl LIII.

For all the star names, despite having a defensive line anchored by 3 x Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald, this game will ride on the arm of Matthew Stafford for the Rams. When he doesn’t turn the ball over, they are excellent, as witnessed in the Wild Card and Divisional playoff wins this season BUT as witnessed in the NFC Championship game, this team struggles when he is careless with the ball. An end zone interception and a 4th quarter throw which should have been another turnover left the Rams to scramble and come from behind late in the game – a game it felt like they had complete control of. Bottom line, if Matthew Stafford plays a clean game, the LA Rams likely go on to claim only the second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. If he turns the ball over against a Bengals team who already has 7 takeaways in this post season run……watch out!


Cincinnati BENGALS

They are the story only Hollywood dreams up! A dismal 6-25-1 record over the previous 2 seasons and now they’re in a Super Bowl no-one predicted they’d get close to. Indeed, you could get odds of 150/1 for Cincinnati to be crown Super Bowl Champions at the start of this season. Yet, here they are.

They are 6-1 in their last 7 games. The one loss? A meaningless week 18 defeat to the Cleveland Browns in a game where the Bengals rested most of their key players.

Sometimes you have to set aside convention and trust your eyes. That is the case with the 2021 Cincinnati Bengals. Their QB, Joe Burrow will become the first no. 1 overall pick in NFL history to win a Super Bowl inside his first 2 years with the team, IF they win on Sunday. This time last year, he was rehabbing from an ACL injury. He returned in week 1 this season and has been sacked more than ay other QB in the NFL – 51 times. He was sacked 9 times by the Tennessee Titans alone, in their Divisional round playoff game! The Bengals trailed by 18 points at half-time in Arrowhead stadium in the AFC Championship game – and yet, Burrow still found a way to lead his team back and beat the Kansas City Chiefs.

A team written off, discarded by many is here, on the biggest stage in football and they have the weapons to deal with any opponent. From record breaking rookie WR Ja’marr Chase to team sack leader Trey Hendrickson. A defensive coordinator, few really know, Lou Anarumo – who out manoeuvred Patrick Mahomes, twice this season – to head coach, Zach Taylor. The foundation stone though, is a quarterback who has unwavering belief. A QB who puts this team on his back and finds a way, no matter to odds. Joe Burrow appears unflappable and he’ll need to be, in the face of the Rams defensive front.

On paper, you’d think the Rams have too much for the Bengals to handle. However, it appeared that way when they went to the no. 1 seeded Tennessee Titans and the no. 2 seeded Kansas City Chiefs. This game isn’t played out on paper, it’s played on the field. Whatever it is the Bengals have found this post season can’t be bottled up, it can’t be be taught on the practice field. Cincinnati have never had a Super Bowl winning team but before this season, they never had a team like this. Bengals fans shout out “Who Dey?!” Come Sunday night “Dey” may well be World Champions!




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