Super Bowl LVI Preview

Everybody’s got their opinions on today’s action. With two top-tier teams and two top-tier quarterbacks, this is sure to be an exciting game.


Pixabay Images

91.6 million people watched Super Bowl LV on TV, and over 100 million are expected this year.

Oliver Hinson and Joe Fitzgerald

It seems crazy to think that we’ve almost made it through a month and a half of 2022, and the Lombardi Trophy still hasn’t been hoisted. The NFL’s new 17-game schedule certainly brought some excitement to the season, and it even aided in some record chases, but waiting this long for the biggest game of the year has put a lot of fans on edge, and it’s definitely created a fair amount of suspense behind the matchup, which is undoubtedly an exciting one. For one fanbase, the game represents a chance at redemption after their atrocious Super Bowl appearance against the Patriots just a few years ago, while for the other, it’s a chance to enter the spotlight and solidify themselves as one of the league’s superpowers. Both Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow sit atop the pantheon of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, and with the amount of weaponry each of these offenses possesses, we’re probably looking at a shootout here. If you’re a betting man, or perhaps someone just getting into football (and looking for smart things to say around your more experienced friends at your Super Bowl Party), there are plenty of arguments for either team, and some of the Knight Krier’s premier writers are here with a few of their own opinions.


The Rams’ side: Oliver Hinson

It makes me happy to finally say good things about Matthew Stafford. I’ve always considered him to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and these sneaking suspicions were all but confirmed this year when he got out of Detroit (I’m so sorry, Jared Goff). In 2021, he finally got the ability to have a meaningful impact upon what a team will do, and that ability will need to shine through on Sunday more than it ever has. This game is clearly going to be about the quarterbacks, and on a statistical playing field, it seems like Stafford has a formidable opponent in Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow. Both quarterbacks threw for over 4500 yards this season, and they boast similar touchdown numbers (41 for Stafford, 34 for Burrow) and interceptions (17 to 14). Burrow even holds the edge in completion percentage with a league-leading 70.4 percent, and his passer rating of 108.3 just barely edges out Stafford’s mark of 102.9 (the second-best of his career). Most importantly, both have limited playoff experience; Stafford made only 3 postseason appearances in his 12 years with the Rams (and lost in the first round every time), while Burrow is in the middle of his first run. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fair amount of turnovers here, as neither player has a particularly decent TD/INT ratio, but I think Stafford will have an edge in his decision-making for a few reasons. As talented as he is, a good portion of his success comes from his unfathomable amount of offensive weaponry, including Cooper Kupp, this year’s offensive MVP and *almost* 2000-yard receiver, as well as running backs Sony Michel and Cam Akers, both of whom will have to shoulder the load if Cincinnati’s secondary plays as well as they did against Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill in the AFC Championship Game. However, Stafford also has the craftiness of head coach Sean McVay at his disposal, and with a playbook as wide as the Mississippi, he should have no problem finding a viable option on every play. Even if the Bengals put all of their defensive manpower on Kupp, which likely won’t work anyway, Stafford has enough experience making something out of nothing that he’ll be making the opposition look silly. Burrow, meanwhile, will have to rely heavily on Jamarr Chase, and considering Cincinnati’s atrocious offensive line, this might not pay off for him. Burrow was sacked 9 times during his divisional matchup with the Titans, but that represents just a fraction of the 63 he’s suffered so far this year. Against a premier defense featuring superstars Aaron Donald and Von Miller, Burrow will be immediately put under pressure on almost every snap, opening up a world of possibilities. He certainly played well under pressure against the Chiefs, showing the ability to get rid of the ball quickly during his team’s improbable second-half comeback, but Kansas City’s unit certainly can’t be compared to what Los Angeles has, and the pressure of the Super Bowl is much greater than anything Burrow has faced thus far in his career. It’s incredibly rare to see a young quarterback come out and top an experienced veteran; think Cam Newton against Peyton Manning, Patrick Mahomes against Tom Brady, Jared Goff against Tom Brady, or pretty much anyone against Tom Brady. The older quarterback comes out on top more often than not, no matter how much hype the new kid has behind him. It’s also rare to see someone beat the Rams at home, and although it may have been luck that delivered the circumstance, the home-field advantage will certainly come into play today. All in all, it’s hard to argue against the talent of Joe Burrow and the new-look Bengals, but I’ll take Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay, and Aaron Donald any day.

Final score: 34-21 Rams

The Bengals’ side: Joe Fitzgerald

If I would’ve told you a year ago at this time that the Bengals would be competing for a Super Bowl at this time you would’ve probably thought I was crazy. However this season Cincinnati has been a completely different team from the 4 win team they were last year. They’ve proved to the world that they can compete with the big dogs and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Yes, they will be underdogs against LA, but I believe strongly that Burrow and the Bengals will shock the world, and here’s why.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock all season, you can’t deny that Joe Burrow is a stud. Anybody who can walk into Arrowhead Stadium, one of the toughest places to play, and take down the Chiefs, who have been to two straight Super Bowls, deserves some serious respect. Similar to Tom Brady, Joey B just has that “it” factor, the aspect of his game that will win it for your team no matter what it takes. He’s also had plenty of big-game experience as just two years ago he led the LSU Tigers to a national championship win so he’s not a stranger to games like these.

Burrow also has an elite supporting cast on offense. Starting with the receivers, the offensive rookie of the year Jammar Chase has been tearing it up, he finished the regular season with 1,455 receiving yards which was a franchise and rookie record. They also have multiple other pass-catching threats with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Higgins also racked up 1,091 receiving yards while Boyd finished with 828. The truth is, when you have three guys that can produce like a wide receiver one it makes a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. In addition to the Bengals’ lethal passing attack, they also have a dangerous rushing attack with Joe Mixon. Mixon finished the season with 1,205 rushing yards while averaging over four yards per carry this season, some of the best numbers among running backs. So how do you stop the Bengals? Truthfully not many teams have had an answer considering they average around 26 points per game. When you have the best receiving corps in the league, a workhorse running back, and a franchise QB, it’s basically like a cheat code.

Lastly, the Bengals defense has a knack for forcing turnovers; they have had 7 takeaways in just the playoffs. They happen to be facing a Quarterback in Matt Stafford who has been playing elite but has a tendency to turn the ball over. Stafford finished the season tied for the most interceptions thrown, with 17, so if you mix his poor ball security with the Bengals’ ball-hawking secondary, you get a recipe for a lot of turnovers. The Bengals defense is also great at rushing the passer with guys like Trey Hendrickson and Carl Hubbard, so although the Rams might have an electric offense, they are pretty evenly matched with the Cincinnati defense. 

Final score: 28-17 Bengals

At the end of the day, this is the biggest game of the year, and it’s important to remember that anything can happen; just ask Matt Ryan. If there’s any guaranteed winner, it’s the fans, who, along with being treated to some top-tier football, will be able to watch one of the most hyped halftime shows in recent memory, featuring Eminem, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, and Mary J. Blige. Other than that, there are copious bets to be taken, foods to be eaten, and parties to be had. What’s not to like? On behalf of the Knight Krier, happy Super Bowl Sunday.