The Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals square off in an unlikely Super Bowl on Feb 13 at 6PM ET on NBC. Matthew Stafford super studded all over the NFC playoffs and finally not only won a playoff game but made it to the Super Bowl. 12 years in Detroit and finally some validation in Los Angeles.
Stafford had a great season with 41 TDs (2nd) and 6th in QB rating. He continued to be that elite franchise QB in the playoffs with 905 yards 6 TDs and 1 int. Burrow was 3rd in QB rating this season and had 842 yards 4 TDs and 2 ints in 3 playoff games in his second season. This should be a battle with two good QBs against some solid defenses.
Rams have major strength in Cooper Kupp (386 yards and 4 Tds in the playoffs) after a monster 1,900 yard season. Odell Beckham had a resurgence for the Rams (236 yards and 1 TD in playoffs) replacing the injured Robert Woods. Chidobe Awuzie and nickel Mike Hilton had good season at CB but Eli Apple will need to step up against OBJ. Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates were good and solid safeties respectively too. Bengals defense is pretty solid. Trey Hendrickson leads the pass rush but DT Ogunjobi is on IR.
The Bengals have 3 good WRs with rookie JMarr Chase (279 yards 1 TD), Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. This game could be a legit shootout if their offensive line can hold. Riley Reiff (another former Lion) is on IR). Quinton Spain and Jonah Williams was a good guard and tackle respectively but the rest of the offensive line has struggled. Donald, Miller and Floyd could go off.
The Rams counter with Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd and Von Miller against a suspect Bengals offensive line. Jalen Ramsey is the best CB in the game to shut down Chase. Darious Williams and David Long will need to step up though with below average play this year. Rams safeties are suspect missing Jordan Fuller but Eric Weddle, Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp have stepped up. Bengals have enough weapons to put up points if Burrow gets enough time.
Run game might be the deciding factor with Cam Akers and Sony Michel against the 5th ranked Bengals run defense led by DTs DJ Reader , BJ Hill, LBs Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt. RB Joe Mixon is a good back too and the Rams run defense was 6th in YPG and improve in the playoffs. Both teams were below average rushing in the regular season. Darrell Henderson could be back for a big boost to the Rams running game.
Rams have the upper hand being at home but the Bengals have plenty of talent to make this a good game.
Stafford 350 yards 4 Tds and wins the Super Bowl MVP and his first Lombardi Trophy.
Rams 28 Bengals 21
New NFC GMs and Coaches
The Bears and Vikings have new GMs and Head Coaches. Bears got Ryan Pace from the Chiefs as GM and Matt Eberflus from the Colts (former DC). The Vikings went with GM Kwesi Adofo Mensah from 49ers/Browns. He is an analytic Princeton grad. Kevin O Connell (Rams OC) will be the new head coach after the Super Bowl after they spurned Jim Harbaugh. Rebuilds happening in the North.
Aaron Rodgers saga continues as he might/may be back or traded with a huge cap hit. His OC Nathaniel Hackett is now the Broncos coach along with TE coach but the Packers added Rich Bisaccia to be the special teams man after the dreadful 49ers loss from special teams. Cap hell is real and coming. Packers will need to figure out how to get under the cap and franchise Davante Adams.
Other Coaching Changes
Lions didn’t lose DC Aaron Glenn to the Saints. Sean Payton was fired and DC Dennis Allen replaces him. Ben Johnson becomes the new Lions OC with Anthony Lynn leaving and going to the 49ers (run game coordinator). Mike McDaniel (49ers OC) is the new Dolphins coach. Josh McDaniels (Patriots OC) is the new Raiders coach with a former Patriots GM Dave Ziegler. Jaguars hired Doug Pederson (former Eagles Super Bowl winner) to replace the disaster Urban Meyer and fired GM Trent Baalke for Adrian Wilson . Finally, Houston hired former Bears and Bucs coach Lovie Smith to keep the NFL out of losing a lawsuit. Nothing for Leftwich or Bienemy unfortunately.
Ravens get Mike McDonald (from Michigan) to be their new DC. Wink Martindale (Ravens DC) becomes the Giants DC. Former Lion DC Teryl Austin becomes the Steelers DC. Colts add Gus Bradley as their DC to replace Eberflus. Vikings looking at Lions DB coach Aubrey Pleasant to be DC and Anthony Weaver. Luke Getsy leaves the Packers (QB coach) and becomes the Bears OC. Alan Williams (former Viking coach) is now the Bears DC.
Got all that. Good