Staff Predictions: The Los Angeles Rams host the Cincinnati Bengals for Super Bowl LVI

This is the fifth time the Rams franchise is headed to the Super Bowl, and the third for the Bengals.

Super Bowl LVI logo courtesy of the NFL.

Super Bowl LVI logo courtesy of the NFL.

The 56th annual Super Bowl will take place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., where the Los Angeles Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Rams are the second team to host the Super Bowl, with the previous being last season’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers went on to win Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Cincinnati makes its third Super Bowl, and first since 1989. Both previous times the Bengals were in the Super Bowl, they lost to the San Francisco 49ers. 

For the Rams, this is their fifth appearance, and first since 2018. Los Angeles lost their last two Super Bowl appearances at the hands of the New England Patriots in 2002 and 2019. The franchise’s only Super Bowl victory was in 2000 while the team was located in St. Louis, Mo. They are trying to become just the second team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in multiple cities, as the Colts (Baltimore and Indianapolis) are the only other franchise to accomplish this.

Former FAU players will also be on the roster for both teams in this year’s Super Bowl. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson is competing with the Bengals. For the Rams, running back Buddy Howell and defensive back Sharrod Neasman will represent FAU. 

Here are the staff predictions of Super Bowl LVI from the University Press Sports Staff:


Bryce Totz | Sports Editor

This year’s Super Bowl will feature the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. These two teams were not expected to make it to the big game, but they fought through adversity during the season to accomplish it. 

It will be interesting to watch two franchises that have not won a championship in their current location. Either the Bengals will win their first Super Bowl in franchise history, or the Rams will be the second team to win in multiple cities. 

Expect this game to be tight throughout, as both teams have strong offensive weapons. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp at the wide receiver position. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has standout wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and running back Joe Mixon.

In a cliche fashion, the defense will win the game. For Cincinnati, cornerback Eli Apple and defensive end Trey Hendrickson will lead. The Rams will have the upper hand though, as linebacker Von Miller, defensive end Aaron Donald, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey will dominate the fourth quarter. 

The Bengals should have the lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Los Angeles will take over just as they did in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Prediction: Rams 35, Bengals 31


Richard Pereira | Business Manager

At the beginning of the season, it would have been understandable to think a Super Bowl rematch between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would happen. Thanks to the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams, that has been shut down as we have here an interesting matchup between two different teams. 

The Bengals have made a remarkable run this postseason, beating the Las Vegas Raiders, pulling off an upset victory on the road against the one-seeded Tennessee Titans, and taking down the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship to advance to their first Super Bowl since 1989.

Quarterback Joe Burrow has been the Bengals’ star of the show. After a rookie season cut short due to injury, Burrow has had an astounding sophomore year in the NFL. He totaled 4,611 passing yards and 34 touchdowns for Cincinnati, ranking in the top 10 of the league offensively. Entering the Super Bowl, he will be the key to how the team performs on Sunday. 

On the other side of the ball for Cincinnati, defensive end and fellow FAU alum Trey Hendrickson has made his alma mater proud, making career-highs in tackles with 34 (21 solo) and sacks with 14 while making his first Pro Bowl appearance, the second FAU alum to do so since running back Alfred Morris in 2013 and 2014.

There is no doubt that the Rams have impressed many, finishing with a 12-5 record, torching the Arizona Cardinals, dethroning the defending champions in the Buccaneers, and neutralizing the San Francisco 49ers on their way back to the Super Bowl after losing to the New England Patriots in the 2018-19 season.

In his first season after leaving the Detroit Lions, quarterback Matthew Stafford turned back the clock with his passing game throwing for 4,886 yards, the third-most in the NFL. This also marks his best passing yardage since 2011 and 2012, when he threw for 5,038 and 4,967 yards respectively. Limiting his passes will be crucial for the Bengals to keep the game as close as possible.

Not only are the Rams stacked offensively, but they are also top-heavy in the defensive department. Boasting the likes of defensive end Aaron Donald, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and linebacker Von Miller, they are likely to enjoy preying on the weaknesses of the Bengals’ offensive line, which has shown itself to be streaky all throughout the season and the playoffs.

While the game will be competitive at times in the first half, the Lombardi trophy will likely go to Los Angeles in the end. The Rams have proven themselves to be the title favorites with their high-powered offense and defense as it will be a tall task for the Bengals to get past. 

Prediction: Rams 38, Bengals 17


Eston Parker III | Photo Editor

The Bengals’ ascension to the Super Bowl has been unpredictable to say the least. However, for the Rams, this is where they expected to be before the season started. With all the star power they have assembled on both offense and defense, head coach Sean McVay and the Rams should finally secure the Lombardi Trophy after their 2019 loss.

Unlike their three-point showing in Super Bowl LII, the Rams’ explosive offense will fly high against the Bengals. The combination of Matthew Stafford at quarterback alongside options such as Odell Beckham and Cooper Kupp at wide receiver fronted by an offensive line that protects Stafford well should allow plenty of time for the Rams’ offense to be efficient.

Their flaws on offense also lay with the offensive line especially going up against a disruptive Bengals’ line featuring former FAU and current star Trey Hendrickson. He, alongside the Bengals’ defense, will cause some trouble, yet the Rams will also likely expose Cincinnati’s secondary.

The Bengals will keep it close though, primarily due to the astonishing duo of quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The former LSU stars have only gotten better, and alongside a dynamic group of receivers and a strong running game will trade explosive plays with the Rams offense.

Where the Rams will secure the game will come down to their ability to attack the quarterback and limit their production. The Bengals’ offensive line has been struggling to protect Burrow all season, especially in the playoffs. 

While Cincinnati held up surprisingly well against Kansas City in the AFC Championship by only allowing one sack, Aaron Donald and Von Miller will put up a performance similar to the Titans’ nine sacks in their divisional matchup with the Bengals.

Ultimately, the Rams will come away with the Super Bowl in what should be an extremely entertaining and crazy game.

Prediction: Rams 31, Bengals 27


Trey Avant | Staff Writer

Even on a new team, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has shown he is still one of the top quarterbacks in the league and the meteoric rise of second-year Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has seen him quickly become a fan favorite. 

The Bengals are a team on the rise and their offense is a major reason for that. Running back Joe Mixon and the three-headed monster that are receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, combined with the play of Burrow, make this team incredibly hard to defend. 

The Bengals’ defense is just as hard to prepare for. Defensive ends Sam Hubbard and FAU alum Trey Hendrickson will give the Rams’ offensive tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein fits. Defensive tackles B.J. Hill and Larry Ogunjobi and linebacker Logan Wilson will clog rushing lanes and put even more pressure on Stafford.

Safety Jessie Bates III leads the secondary for the Bengals in an attempt to slow down the Rams’ dynamic passing attack.

The Rams are not as potent on the ground as Cincinnati but their trio of wide receivers more than makeup for it. All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp led the league in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been on a tear since joining the Rams and receiver Van Jefferson has filled in nicely for the injured Robert Woods.

At the end of the day, defense wins championships and Los Angeles has some of the best players at their respective positions on their defense. Led by All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the defense also houses All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebackers Von Miller and Leonard Floyd.

Experience will play a massive role in this game and Cincinnati’s inexperience will doom them in the end.

Prediction: Rams 28, Bengals 17


Kevin Garcia | Staff Writer

The Bengals were not supposed to be here according to Vegas, they were projected to win six games and had +15000 odds of making the Super Bowl when the preseason began. Yet they are here thanks in large part to Joe Burrow and the high-powered Bengals offense. 

The Rams, on the other hand, opened the preseason with +1200 odds to win the Super Bowl. They were built to win now after trading for quarterback Matthew Stafford in the off-season. So far that move has worked out in their favor. 

Stafford had never won a playoff game in Detroit and now he is in the biggest game of the season. He is a key player to watch for most to see how handles the pressures of not only playing in the Super Bowl but playing it in their home stadium. 

If the Rams do not win this game, they may be forced to make changes within the organization. To say that this game is a must-win would be an understatement. I have the Rams winning by a slight margin after holding the Bengals’ offense to a few points. 

Prediction: Rams 23, Bengals 17


Cameron Priester | Staff Writer

The Bengals’ offensive line has been a liability all season long and has gotten away with three consecutive bad games.

However, none of the defensive lines they have faced in the playoffs are as talented as the Rams.

I expect the Rams’ pass rush to stall the Bengals’ offense and get outscored by the Rams’ high-powered offense.

This is a game of destiny for the entire Rams organization. They have sunk way too much capital and resources into this team to lose this game.

Prediction: Rams 31, Bengals 24


Zachary Weinberger | Staff Writer

To piggyback off of what Cameron said above, the battle at the line of scrimmage with each team’s trenches will be one watch at the Super Bowl.

While Joe Burrow has been leading the charge for the Bengals this season, the one Achilles heel of the offense has been the offensive line. It’s definitely not as bad as it was last season, but it’s been inconsistent at best, and that has been present in the postseason. 

In the Wild Card round against the Tennessee Titans, Burrow was sacked nine times and was hit 13 times. Versus the Chiefs, they vastly improved as the second-year quarterback was only sacked once and hit four times. 

Head coach Zac Taylor and the Bengals are hoping for a performance more like the conference title game, but it won’t be easy as the Rams have one of the most talented defensive lines in the whole league. When it comes to Aaron Donald and Von Miller, the offensive line needs to be the best it’s been all season. 

At the end of the day, it’ll be entertaining nonetheless. However, it feels that it’ll be head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Matthew Stafford’s time to shine here. We could see a close one through three quarters, but the Rams will close it out in the final 15 minutes.

Prediction: Rams 37, Bengals 21

For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet the staff. Bryce Totz (@brycetotz), Richard Pereira (@Rich26Pereira), Eston Parker (@EstonParker), Trey Avant (@TreyAvant3), Kevin Garcia (@kevingar658), Cameron Priester (@PriesterCameron), and Zachary Weinberger (@ZacharyWeinberger).