The Los Angeles Rams have been a trendy pick to make it to the Super Bowl for a few seasons now. But they finally did it again this year after missing out the last two seasons thanks in large part to the addition of QB Matthew Stafford.
While they made the big game, they haven’t won it yet. They’re nearly a five-point favorite over the Cincinnati Bengals and there’s a lot of reason for optimism if you’re an LA fan.
The Rams roster is loaded and has several players on both sides of the ball who could realistically step up and make the biggest play of the game on Sunday. It won’t be easy though. Cincy has been an underdog in back-to-back weeks and still found a way to go on the road and come away with a win. They have a survive and advance mentality that’s been around all season long and won’t be easy to tamp down on the biggest stage.
Here’s what will have to happen for LA to come away with a win on Super Bowl Sunday.
Get Burrow on the ground
Bengals QB Joe Burrow has made a lot of highlight reel plays this season. While he’s not going to be the guy to have an absurd line in the box score week after week, he takes what the defense gives him and is able to extend plays and escape sacks, turning what should be five-yard losses into seven-yard gains.
This was on full display in the Bengals AFC title game win over the Kansas City Chiefs, eluding the rush time and time again, always keeping his eyes downfield for an open receiver.
This will be by far the best pass rush Burrow will have seen this season, with Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd will make life miserable for the Bengals' sketchy offensive line.
OBJ needs the ball
The midseason acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. made a big splash and helped add to an already stellar receiving corps. The addition of OBJ has allowed Cooper Kupp to thrive. Defenses aren’t able to focus all their resources on the triple crown winner because they know OBJ is lined up on the other side.
He’s only been with the team 11 weeks and has already scored five touchdowns, including one in the NFC Wild Card game. He seems to be getting more comfortable in the offense too. Early in his tenure with LA he would find the endzone but wasn’t racking up yards or doing much outside of making plays in the red zone. But the script is flipping now. The NFC Championship game was the first time all season he eclipsed the century mark for yards in a game. He got more than 50 in the two playoff games before that too. He had only done that two times during the regular season since joining the Rams.
If he stays in that kind of groove and keeps the production up for LA, that could be a big factor in the game.
Experience wins out
It’s extremely cliche to say the experience of LA’s will play a factor here, but it’s hard to believe that it won't. Most of the star players on the Bengals are either in their first years in the NFL or if they’re veterans, they haven’t had a ton of success in the league and have never made a deep playoff run.
For the Rams, it’s the exact opposite. While Matthew Stafford or OBJ clearly don't have that big-game experience, the majority of the roster is just a few years removed from making an appearance in the Super Bowl. Other key players like Von Miller have Super Bowl rings to their name already as well.
They also get the comfort of playing in their own stadium, which should play a major comfort factor as well.