With Superbowl LVI just around the corner, the Cincinnati Bengals’ dream underdog story reaches its most important chapter, as they take on the Los Angeles Rams in what proves to be an exciting encounter. Whilst the Bengals come in as outsiders in the latest Super Bowl odds, it’s impossible to completely overlook any chance of a shock victory, but with the Rams eager to overcome their 2019 defeat, Goliath will want to put their proverbial David to bed early in this one.
Both sides possess an abundance of talent, which made the AFC and NFC Championship games so enjoyable, but which star players will stand up and be counted come the showpiece event at the SoFi Stadium? Read on, as we discuss who we think will be this year’s Super Bowl MVP.
It would be hard to start a discussion around star players without mentioning Joe Burrow. Having been a rookie just two years ago, the quarterback has risen to superstardom and the spotlight will be on him to deliver once more in LA. Burrow is enjoying a great season and his stats are that bit more impressive when you consider he is still only 25-years-old. Unbelievably composed, yet playing with swagger and confidence, Burrow is a personification of everything good the Bengals have done so far to get to the Superbowl, and it will be interesting to see if he can deliver the goods on the biggest stage.
From one star quarterback to the other, you only need to look at Tom Brady’s influence over the position in the last few years, especially in Super Bowls, to see why the role is so significant in deciding the big games. For the Rams to be successful, Matthew Stafford will have to be in top form and replicate the performances that got LA to the final game in the first place.
Since being traded, the 33-year-old has taken his game up a notch and is arguably the missing piece in the puzzle for a side that were beaten in the 2019 Super Bowl — one where the Rams scored just three points as the New England Patriots claimed victory in Atlanta. Since arriving from the Detroit Lions, Stafford has certainly lived up to expectations, but an MVP performance would really cement his legacy in the NFL history books.
One of the most important positions on a team is the wide receiver. As football has evolved, we’ve seen tactical changes that have decided some of the biggest games in recent years. Bill Belichick really set the wheels in motion at the start of the last decade, but Sean McVay’s work can’t go overlooked. An essential cog in his machine is Cooper Kupp, who broke Michael Irvin’s 25-year-old record for receiving yards in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Kupp could well be influential in the Super Bowl if the Rams are to right the wrongs of 2019 and considering how much joy that Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill got against an initially shaky Bengals defence, there could be plenty of space to occupy and control the game en route to a first ring for the five-year receiver.
Reaching the Super Bowl was a challenge in itself for the Bengals, but a massive part of their journey was seeing off the Chiefs in their Championship game, and the interceptions of Von Bell at safety proved to be decisive and will be required again against the Rams.
Bell was integral to the Bengals’ gameplan on the night, sticking to what they knew and frustrating Patrick Mahomes and co. They knew they were underdogs, but remined composed and Bell, reflecting on the game, knew how important that team cohesion was, saying: “When you have the opportunity to go out there and make them and seize the moment, just calm down, make the plays that come to you and everything else will unfold how it’s supposed to unfold. We just stuck to it, never batted an eye, never had a doubt, leaned on one another and just went out there and had fun playing with each other.”