For the Los Angeles Rams to win Super Bowl 56, they need a smart game from their quarterback and the defense to get pressure.
5. Rams get Kupp, Beckham involved early and often
For Los Angeles, there are matchups to win on the outside. While Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple have been better than expected this season, neither is going to dominate on the outside. Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. should be able to win consistently, and should be featured early to set a tone. Kupp is the league’s best receiver, and Beckham has been reborn over the past month in Los Angeles’ system. Sean McVay needs to utilize them.
4. L.A. does a solid job against the Bengals’ edge rushers
If the Bengals are going to cause problems for the Rams’ offense, it’s likely with pressure off the edges. Cincinnati has a pair of quality pass-rushers in Sam Hubbard and, particularly, Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson earned Pro Bowl honors this season after notching 14 sacks in his first campaign with the Bengals. Los Angeles needs to keep Matthew Stafford clean, as he’s not going to buy a ton of time with his legs.
3. Jalen Ramsey handles Ja’Marr Chase on the outside
Assuming Ramsey draws the star rookie receiver, the Rams need him to handle Chase without help. If he can, that allows defensive coordinator Raheem Morris to double Tee Higgins while using a bracket on Tyler Boyd in the slot, should he choose to do so. Ramsey is tremendous and winning this battle would go a long way to making quarterback Joe Burrow hold the ball, which leads us to …
2. Aaron Donald does what is expected of him
Donald is going against what might be the worst interior offensive line in football. The expectations is he’s going to be a dominant force throughout Super Sunday, forcing his way into the backup to blow up running plays and constantly put pressure on Joe Burrow. If Donald can do so, the rest of the Bengals’ offensive line will crumble, opening up opportunities for edge rushers Von Miller and Leonard Floyd.
1. Matthew Stafford avoids the big mistake
The Rams likely win if they’re even in or win the turnover battle. Stafford, who has a propensity to throw interceptions, needs to avoid the nonsense. In the NFC title game, Stafford threw a pick and should have thrown another late in the fourth quarter on what amounted to an arm punt, only for 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt to drop the ball. Stafford can’t give Cincinnati easy outs and more drives.