Experts favoring Rams over Bengals in Super Bowl 56 matchup

Rams defensive line seen as difference in game
Super Bowl Football
Posted at 1:22 PM, Feb 13, 2022

LOS ANGELES — Despite trying to shake it, the underdog narrative continues into Super Bowl 56 for the Cincinnati Bengals. Most "experts" are predicting the Los Angeles Rams to win on Sunday.

Las Vegas betting has the Bengals at +4, meaning that the Rams are predicted to win by 4 points.

Scouring the web, ESPN surveyed 76 former players, reporters and broadcasters. The group picked the Rams over the Bengals 44-33. Of Sports Illustrated's seven football reporters, five picked the Rams and two picked the Bengals. Out of's eight experts, four picked the Rams and four picked the Bengals.

Despite the vast majority of analysts picking the Rams to win, Joe Burrow is heavily favored to win Super Bowl MVP (go figure).

Here are a few of the comments on the predicted outcomes:

Chris Berman, ESPN: "After all of us have marveled over how special the division and conference rounds were in providing us with two of the greatest weekends of all time, how could it not go down to the wire? What may tilt the balance ... the Rams' defensive wall against an average Cincy line, which did a great job vs. the Chiefs, but the defensive front of Donald and company is a different challenge. This time, it's Rams pro bowl kicker Matt Gay's game-winning kick on familiar turf to give the 'home team' a thrilling win." Rams 27, Bengals 24.

Judy Battista, NFL Network: The Bengals beat the AFC's No.1 team and the "best" team in the league. They are battle-tested, well-balanced and have the feel of a team of destiny. And I'm spooked by the lulls the Rams have gone through in their playoff games. Bengals 24, Rams 21.

Jeff Chadiha, NFL Network: The Bengals beat the top two seeds in the AFC on the road and overcame an 18-point deficit in the AFC title game against Kansas City. They will find a way to win this game despite being the underdog. The Bengals' defense has been opportunistic throughout the postseason. They will force three turnovers against the Rams. Bengals 31, Rams 27.

Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated. The defensive lines will be a bigger factor than people realize and, I think, make this one a nip-and-tuck affair into the fourth quarter. From there, the quarterbacks will take command, with Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford trading blows until the clock shows zeroes. The all-in Rams will walk away having won it all, becoming the second straight team to do so at home. Rams 27, Bengals 24.

Connor Orr, Sports Illustrated: Burrow Magic lives on. How can you possibly bet against this team now? I'm not quite sure how it will happen - especially how the defense will slow the Rams down - but let's say unlike the AFC championship game against the Chiefs, the Bengals will establish a running game early. Cincinnati will get into an offensive rhythm and go ahead by two scores. A late comeback from the Rams won't be enough and Burrow will seal the game with a third-down conversion to Ja'Marr Chase. A star is born. Bengals 33, Rams 30.

If you want to know how much expert picks actually contribute to the results of a game, just know Michael Salfino of MMG sports wroteJoe Mixon was "not a good running back" in a tweet two days ago.

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