If the Cincinnati Bengals are going to complete their Cinderella season in Super Bowl 56, they must execute these five keys.
5. Match the Rams’ urgency throughout the night
Los Angeles has a litany of veterans whoa re trying to win their first Super Bowl. Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, Andrew Whitworth, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jalen Ramsey just to name a few. The Rams are going to be ready for the moment, desperately trying to finally get their rings. Cincinnati is a young team with a litany of players who have barely played a few NFL seasons. The Bengals can’t ease into this game. They have to play with desperation.
4. Run the ball effectively with Joe Mixon
The Rams have a great pass rush led by Donald, and flanked on the edges with Floyd and Von Miller. Cincinnati has had all kinds of problems protecting star quarterback Joe Burrow this year, giving up the most sacks in then NFL. If the Bengals are going to win on Super Sunday, it starts with balance. Keep the Rams guessing and honest with Mixon pounding the ball, whether inside or around the tackles.
3. Cover with 7-8 defenders and force Stafford into tight throws
Last weekend, the Bengals did a brilliant job against the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes throughout the second half and overtime. Cincinnati almost never blitzed, instead dropping seven and eight defenders into coverage. The result was Mahomes going 8-of-18 for 55 yards with two interceptions in a 27-24 overtime loss. Cincinnati needs to force the same type of mistakes from Stafford, who is certainly vulnerable to them.
2. Find the WRs not going up against Jalen Ramsey
Ramsey is arguably the best corner in the NFL. If Los Angeles is going to take away rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase with Ramsey, the Bengals have to eat elsewhere. The good news? They have the talent to do so. Look for Tee Higgins and veteran Tyler Boyd to work over some of the lesser corners Los Angeles has, taking advantage of good matchups for Cincinnati.
1. Block for Joe Burrow
This is the entire game. If Burrow is running from the law firm of Miller, Donald and Floyd all night, the Bengals are going to get blown out of the building. This isn’t Ryan Tannehill and the Titans on the other side. Cincinnati must find a way to perform decently up front while providing Burrow cover with smart play-calling and a good run game.