There’s officially no turning back now. After a full season of thrills and excitement all across the board for NFL fans around the world, the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams stamped their way into the Super Bowl LVI game on February 13th. Super Bowl lines experts are already salivating at what this matchup can end up becoming, especially when you take into account that the two teams facing each other are fan favorites and two of the most offense-driven, exciting squads in all of American football.

On the one hand, you have the locals, the Los Angeles Rams. With an offense that looks like it was custom made to score as many points as possible, a defense that just reads dominance all across the field, and a QB who after having to wait years for his turn to play in the biggest stage of it all is finally getting his chance, plus the added factor that they will be the home team for the game, since Super Bowl LVI will be played in their stadium, everything seems to be fitting in just right for LA.

But then there’s the Cincinnati Bengals, which by all signs look like the best, underdog, feel-good story this league has had in recent years. With a young, superstar QB in Joe Burrow, an offense that does not give any down for granted, and a defense that plays with the passion of a city wanting a championship, the stage is officially set for this to be an epic game for the Lombardi trophy. So with this said, let’s jump into our preview of Super Bowl LVI and pick for who we see will end up winning the game.

Will The Rams Become Hometown Heroes?

At the beginning of the season and especially after the Los Angeles Rams traded former QB Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for QB Matthew Stafford, the usual glimmer of hope that the Rams could become contenders for a strong playoff run took on a whole new meaning. For years Stafford had been one of the best, if not the best QB in a losing team in the league and everyone always wondered what would happen if he was to be given a chance to play in a team that could mount up a serious playoff and title run. Well, it sure looks like everything worked out great for Stafford and the Rams. In his first season in LA, Stafford showed everyone in the league why he is considered one of the most effective and game-changing veteran QB’s in the league and why he deserved a chance for at least one trip to the Super Bowl and at the end of the day, even if you’re not a Rams fan, you can’t help but feel happy to see someone like Matthew Stafford finally get his chance.

But let’s not just focus on Stafford, let’s talk about this team as a whole. For example, after the season that receiver Cooper Kupp just had, how could a shot at the Super Bowl not be the perfect way to top this career-high season? And what about the meteoric change that Odell Beckham Jr. has gone through since joining the team? If we take all of that into account, plus how utterly dominant and physically powerful LA’s defense is, with the likes of Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Jalen Ramsey all calling the shots, one could easily argue that this team might just not have any flaws. But then again, even head coach Sean McVay knows that nothing can be so perfect, and given that they haven’t faced a team as brash and flat-out scrappy as the Bengals, what could end up happening?

Cincinnati Bengals: The Best Underdog Story In Years

If anybody had said a couple of years ago that the Cincinnati Bengals would be reaching the Super Bowl in 2021, it’s most likely that many if not all people would have laughed their way into madness. But now, after beating the heavily favorited Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium for the AFC championship, with that win coming after having beaten the also heavily favorited Tennessee Titans in Tennessee in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Bengals have officially shut down all of the haters and doubters they might have ever had in the land.  Led by former Heismann Trophy winner and college football champion QB Joe Burrow and with the help of players like Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon to name a couple, the Bengals have gone from being a joke in their division to becoming everyone’s favorite football team.

If you watch the Bengals play, they go on the field and they play every down with a perfect mix of football knowledge and schoolyard tactics that end up amalgamating into a perfect equation for winning games. Against the Chiefs, especially in the first half of the game, everyone thought that the Bengals were done for and that their story was just one of a one-trick pony. But then Burrow and company stepped up, said “what’s up?” and took over the game. While the offense continuously pushed forward without any mercy on KC’s defensive line, it was the defense that came through amazingly, shutting down Patrick Mahomes completely.

Now, I’m not going to say that they’ll have it any easier against Stafford and the Rams’ offensive line, but in all honesty, the Chiefs have a much better overall offense than the Rams and the Bengals still managed to find a way to stop them, take over the game and win. So the Rams should definitely be watching out here.

Final Pick

It’s hard to pick between two Cinderella stories, either Matthew Stafford or the Cincinnati Bengals, but taking into account what each team has done as a whole this postseason, we’re going with the Bengals by an inch.