Welcome to my NFL Super Bowl LVI point-spread pick article. In my conference championship week column I, unfortunately, went 0-2 on my picks. This brings my playoff record to 8-4. I am 153-131 on the season. I am now ranked 324 out of 8677 on the season. You can view all of my previous picks here as well. Let’s take a look at my Super Bowl LVI prediction!
Sunday, February 13th
Los Angeles Rams (15-5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (13-7) Line: Rams by 4 1/2
Even though this game will be played in the Rams home of SoFi Stadium, the Bengals are technically considered the home team. I believe that this game will come down to how well the Bengals notoriously bad offensive line can hold up against the aggressive pass rush that the Rams will undoubtedly deploy. The Bengals will want to consider utilizing more play-action throws than they typically use. I believe that both Aaron Donald and Von Miller, who has enjoyed a career resurgence in Los Angeles, will put tons of pressure on Bengals QB Joe Burrow.
If Bengals RB Joe Mixon can have a superlative game with over 100 rushing yards then this could lead to a Cincinnati victory. This would force the Rams to respect the run, thus giving Burrow more time in the pocket. Mixon has had at least 14 carries in each playoff game this season. In the conference championship game, he had 21 carries. Sixteen of these were on first down.
Another matchup to watch will be how often the Rams choose to shadow Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase with CB Jalen Ramsey. The Rams were in zone coverage two-thirds of the time on the season but I believe that they will find ways to consistently have Ramsey cover Chase one on one. This will be no easy challenge for Ramsey because Chase probably has the best short-area speed of anyone that he has faced this season.
On defense, the Bengals will need to neutralize the big-time playmaking ability of Rams WR Cooper Kupp. The Bengals should consider employing a double team or safety help on Kupp when the Rams are in the red zone to attempt to limit his touchdown upside.
The play of Rams QB Matthew Stafford will be another key to this battle. If he continues to avoid his poor throws and limit his interceptions then he will lead Los Angeles to victory. He has passed for six touchdowns and only thrown one pick so far in the postseason.
I don’t believe that this will be a blowout and that it will be a relatively close game with lots of scoring. The over/under on this game is 48.5 points. I believe that this game will go over that total. I am predicting a Rams win by the score of 31-28, which means that the Bengals will cover the point spread. Pick: Bengals