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NFL

Super Bowl LVI: Rams favored over Bengals

Super Bowl LVI is all set. The Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals are officially the last two teams standing after they each completed comebacks in Sunday’s Conference Championship games. The game is scheduled to take place at 6:30 pm ET from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Big fourth quarter sends Rams to Super Bowl

The Rams hosted the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night in the NFC Championship game, with a Super Bowl berth on the line. San Francisco had the edge for a good portion of this one, building a 17-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. However a Matthew Stafford-Cooper Kupp touchdown connection and a pair of Matt Gay field goals would help the Rams win the final frame 13-0, securing a 20-17 lead when the clock hit zero.

Stafford finished the game with 337 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, completing 31 of his 45 pass attempts. Kupp was on the receiving end of 11 of those passes and both touchdowns, finishing with 142 yards in the game. Odell Beckham Jr. added 113 yards on 9 receptions.

“I’ve got total trust and confidence in that defence, man. They’ve been unbelievable all year. Way to freakin’ ice the game. I loved it,” Stafford said after clinching his third-career playoff victory and first Super Bowl appearance. “You can’t write the story any better. I’m at a loss for words. I’m just having a blast playing ball with these guys and, shoot, we’ve got one more at the home stadium. Let’s get it done.”

Host city to take part in Super Bowl for second-consecutive season

The Rams will have the luxury of playing in the Super Bowl at home, in front of their home crowd at SoFi Stadium. That makes two-straight seasons that the host city’s team will take part in the big game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won last year’s Super Bowl at home against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rams’ road to Super Bowl LVI

The Rams finished the 2021 regular season having won five of their last six games and securing the top spot in the NFC West with a 12-5 record.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Rams blew out their division rival Arizona Cardinals by a score of 34-11.

Next up was a road meeting with Tom Brady and the Bucs who had gone 7-1 at home in the regular season. LA took complete control over this game, earning a 27-3 edge mid-way through the third quarter. That is when Brady and the Bucs went to work, putting up 24-straight points, capped off by a Leonard Fournette touchdown with 42 seconds remaining. This one looked destined for overtime but Stafford would respond, getting the Rams into field goal range and setting up a walk-off field goal by Gay. The Rams would advance to the NFC Championship, crushing Tampa Bay’s back-to-back Super Bowl dreams.

Bengals pull of miracle comeback in Kansas City

The Bengals travelled to Kansas City for Sunday night’s AFC Championship game. The highly-favored Chiefs took an early 21-3 lead before Joe Burrow and the Bengals put up 18-straight points and tied things up at 21 in the third quarter. The two teams would exchange fourth quarter field goals and this one was off to overtime.

The Chiefs won the oh-so-important coin toss, securing the first offensive possession in the extra frame. But Patrick Mahomes would look deep on 3rd & 10 and have his pass picked off by Vonn Bell. Burrow and the Bengals would make the most of the opportunity, marching down the field and into field goal range allowing Evan McPherson to nail a 31-yard field goal and sent Cincinnati to the Super Bowl.

“I’d say nobody blinked an eye,” said the rookie kicker, with confidence, following the win. “I think we all thought we were going to come back and win the game.”

Bengals’ road to Super Bowl LVI

The Bengals are among the most improbable of Super Bowl finalists. They sat at a pedestrian 7-6 through 13 games, but picked up wins in three of their last four regular season meetings to finish the season at 10-7.

They took down the Las Vegas Raiders at home in the Wild Card round, 26-19, before finding themselves matched up with the AFC number one seed Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round. A strong defensive effort, including thee interceptions, would prove to be enough as the Bengals escaped Nissan Stadium with a 19-16 win, and a ticket to the AFC Championship game.

Game odds

The Rams, with the home crowd on their side, are listed as early Super Bowl favorites. The spread has them as 4.5-point favorites, and their money line is set at 1.44.

The Bengals are listed as underdogs, but frankly they could not care less, coming off consecutive road wins against two of the NFL’s best teams. Cincinnati’s money line is set at 2.60.

The over/under for total points scored sits at 48.5, nearly two weeks ahead of Super Bowl LVI.