Super Bowl LVI Preview: Cincinnati Bengals versus The Los Angeles Rams


Leslie Mendez, Reporter

The Los Angeles Rams will host the Cincinnati Bengals for Super Bowl LVI at So-Fi stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday, Feb. 13. The Rams have not made a Super Bowl appearance since 2018 when they lost 13-3 to the New England Patriots, while the Bengals have only made two Super Bowl appearances since 1988.

The Rams will have the opportunity to redeem themselves and capitalize. On paper, the Rams are the better team, going 12-5 in the regular season and earning first place in the National Football Conference (NFC) West. 

The Rams have maintained important players like Andrew Whitworth, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald. This team has also invested in key veteran players like Odell Beckham Jr., Von Miller, and Matthew Stafford. 

California Lutheran University alumnus and founder of timshottakes, an Instagram account dedicated to sports takes, Tim Lomicka shares that spectators should keep an eye out for Rams safety Eric Weddle. Weddle retired from the NFL at the beginning of 2020 but returned to play football after the Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris proposed the idea to return and help the team. 

“He was just a guy who was at home with his wife and kids just living a normal life,” Lomicka said. “He was just staying in shape by playing basketball and now he’s back in the NFL making important plays for a team that’s going to the Super Bowl.” 

From placing last in the NFC North in 2020 to placing first in 2022. The Cincinnati Bengals have changed the narrative this season by taking down high-ranked teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans, showing football fans that they have what it takes to be at the Super Bowl level.

Senior sports communications major Austin Gregory makes a point that the Bengals are fueled by proving the doubters wrong. 

“Coming into this season with a .4% chance of winning the Super Bowl, they’re just putting up a good fight together,” Gregory said in a Zoom interview. “They don’t have the best talent on the roster but I think they did a really good job at putting everything behind them and overall having a really great season.” 

The Bengals have built their team around younger talent like Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins. Lomicka argues that having new and young talent in the Bengals is more of an advantage. 

“They’ve come in with no fear because a lot of them haven’t been in this situation before,” Lomicka said.

The Bengals have proved that they deserve to be in the Super Bowl especially after the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship versus the Chiefs, taking a 27-24 win in overtime. Many spectators accredit quarterback Joe Burrow for much of the team’s success this season but argue that the team’s offense has to step it up in their final game to support Burrow. 

Burrow has been sacked 51 times in the regular season due to the lack of protection from the Bengals offense, something they must improve on considering the Rams strong defense.

Cal Lutheran Offensive Assistant Line Coach Noah Sutherland acknowledged the Bengals struggles. 

“I’m an offensive lineman so I pay attention to that stuff and it’s pretty well documented the struggles that the Bengals have had upfront,” Sutherland said. “Theoretically, you try to get the ball out of his hands quicker and get it to a playmaker outside quicker so he [Burrow] doesn’t have to stand back there and get hit,” Sutherland said. 

Both teams have proved themselves to be very competitive, making Super Bowl LVI an intense, close game. Will the Bengals offense be able to step up and give Burrow more time in the pocket or will the Rams defense dominate?