Editor’s Note: We’ve listed only the two teams in the Super Bowl and excluded those out of the race.
It’s been a long way to the top and now just two teams are ready to rock and roll as the Cincinnati Bengals will battle the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 56 when the clock strikes 6:30 PM EST on February 13th at SoFi Stadium, coincidentally the home of the LA Rams.
Don’t forget, you can go over our nifty tool explanation with our Week 1 post, and remember to check back every Tuesday for analysis of the adjustment in the positions.
Now, let’s review our top two teams which will wrap up our NFL OddsTrader Power Rankings until the Super Bowl winner is decided.
1. Los Angeles Rams (15-5 SU, 10-10 ATS) Next: vs. Bengals – The Rams overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the 49ers and advance to the biggest game of the NFL season. The Rams have not won a Super Bowl since the Greatest Show on Turf took home the hardware over two decades ago when they were based in St. Louis but Los Angeles has not seen the Lombardi Trophy since the LA Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins back in 1984.
And so it was that Matthew Stafford, a man for whom the Rams gave the Lions Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-rounder, tossed for 337 yards, two touchdowns, and completed nearly 69 percent of his passes in LA’s 20-17 victory over San Francisco to win the NFC title.
But he hardly did it alone, as Cooper Kupp continued his stellar play in catching 11 passes for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Odell Beckham Jr. has also played like a man possessed as he has rekindled the magic that made him one of the league’s most feared deep threats and had nine catches for 113 yards.
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But the LA defense deserves a tip of the hat as well, limiting San Francisco quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, to 232 yards on 16-of-30 passing, a completion rate of just over 53 percent. But to be fair, Jimmy G did have a pair of touchdown passes but it was his interception with 1:09 to play that sealed the deal for the Rams.
LA linebacker, Travin Howard, snatched a pass that tipped off the hands of the intended receiver, JaMycal Hasty, and into his welcoming arms. However, had Aaron Donald and the Rams’ relentless pass rush not swarmed all over Garoppolo, the pick would never have manifested.
Los Angeles will own the home-field advantage when they return to SoFi Stadium to take on Joe Cool, Money McPherson, and the upstart Cincinnati Bengals.
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2. Cincinnati Bengals (13-7 SU, 13-7 ATS) Next: at Rams – Joe Burrow is now Joe Cool and kicker Evan McPherson is nothing but money. Let’s not forget that Ja’Marr Chase is turning into the NFL’s most lethal weapon while Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon fill out Cincinnati’s offensive play card, making the Bengals a force to be reckoned with, not only this season but for years to come.
The Bengals have been dragon-slayers throughout the postseason, knocking off the No. 1 AFC seed, Tennessee Titans, before upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24 in overtime, to claim the conference crown.
Unfortunately, the victory was not without a major casualty as tight end, C.J. Uzomah, reportedly suffered a sprained MCL in the opening quarter and his status is uncertain for Cincinnati’s date with destiny on February 13th.
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The NFL odds at all of the top sportsbooks are dealing Cincinnati as 4 to 4 ½ point underdogs against the Rams. However, the underdog role is nothing new to the Bengals as they have bucked the odds before as evidenced by their two consecutive victories as 4 and 7-point road hounds in their outright wins over the Titans and Chiefs.
The Bengals engineered one of the most dramatic comebacks in NFL postseason history against Kansas City but they will be facing a Rams defense that is far more menacing.
Burrow’s offensive line will have to be at their best as Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and the rest of the Rams wrecking crew will be on a search and destroy mission with Joe Cool as their target.
But if the Bengals keep it close, they have the best clutch kicker in the business, Evan “Money” McPherson, who has been as cool as the other side of the pillow in his rookie season.