PFT’s Super Bowl LVI picks

NFL, Rams, 49ers, NFC Championship
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The final game has arrived. Super Bowl LVI. Rams “at” Bengals. The one for all the marbles. If anyone even knows what marbles are anymore.

For the year, I’m now 182-101-1. MDS is 179-104-1.

Our takes and picks for the last game of the year appear below. We agree on this one. Which makes me even more nervous about my selection.

MDS’s take: It’s tempting to treat Super Bowl LVI as little more than Matthew Stafford vs. Joe Burrow. Both teams’ quarterbacks have such compelling storylines. Stafford was the longtime quarterback in Detroit who could rarely even get to the playoffs, and could never win a playoff game, and now he’s one win from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Burrow was the first overall pick whose rookie season ended with a devastating knee injury, and now he has emerged in his second season as one of the NFL’s brightest young stars.

And yet I think the biggest difference in this game is going to be the contrast between the two teams’ defenses. The Rams have Aaron Donald, football’s best defensive player, as well as a former Super Bowl MVP in Von Miller, a cornerback they paid a fortune for in Jalen Ramsey, and one of the best stories in the NFL in the return of Eric Weddle. I think all four of those players are poised to make a significant impact, and I think Burrow may be in for a rough Sunday as his offensive line struggles to protect him.

The Bengals’ defense can put some pressure on Stafford too, and defensive end Trey Hendrickson will be a factor. But I don’t think the Bengals’ secondary is going to be stop Stafford from hitting Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham.

And so I see this as a game that’s competitive in the first half, but the Rams will pull away in the second as their defense puts pressure on Burrow, while their offense finds receivers open downfield. In the end this one won’t be close.

MDS’s pick: Rams 34, Bengals 20.

Florio’s take: It’s head versus heart. I’d like to see the Bengals win the game. I think the Rams will. After being burned far too many times this season by letting what I’d like to see cloud what I think we’ll see, I decided to rely on my head for this one.

The Rams are the better team. And if they don’t play like they did against the 49ers, they should easily. If they stumble around for most of the game, they’ll give the Bengals an opening — and quarterback Joe Burrow will be inclined to take it.

L.A. coach Sean McVay surely knows this. He knows the importance of establishing a lead and then building on it. He has the players to make it happen. The offense is great, the defense is better. The pass rush can provide the kind of crippling pressure that we’ve seen plenty of Super Bowl champions generate.

That will be the difference. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, capping his eighth season and second shot at a Super Bowl win, will be relentless. He has the support on defense to get it done.

Then there’s the offense, where quarterback Matthew Stafford finally gets a shot at immortality, and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caps years of frustration with the championship he has long coveted.

It’s time. It’s happening. The Bengals will have plenty of chances. For the Rams, this may be the lone moment where the planets align. They have. They will. The Rams will host a Lombardi for the second time in franchise history.

Florio’s pick: Rams 30, Bengals 21.

50 responses to “PFT’s Super Bowl LVI picks

  1. I think this game will go like it has for both teams all year. Rams will look unstoppable at first and it’ll seem like the game is over. Then Stafford will start making mistakes, the defense relaxes and Joe Burrow makes some stuff happens and rallies.

    Can’t say if the Rams will be able to hold their lead or not but that’s how it’ll go down.

  2. IF the Rams win, I’ll be happy for Matthew Stafford final having success out from under the curse of the Lions…

    That said, It’s a California team, West Coast, and though I am an NFC guy, NOT that night…

    Bengals 31
    Rams 21

  3. Rams 38 Bengals 28 Rams are better from top to bottom look for Stafford to gash the Bengals defense and Joe Burrow to be sacked 5 times.

  4. chalk picks.. rarely ends up that way. I see stafford throwing a few picks and i wonder if something is wrong with his arm strength a bit, no sold on macvey not having 3 pt flashbacks. Burrow is king in eliminations. 34-31 Cats.

  5. This season needs one more FG game winning kick at the last second. 30-27 SB MVP Evan McPherson for the win.

  6. Joe is in his second year and will have plenty of opportunities to win one. I personally don’t like the Rams but how sweet would it be for Stafford to get a ring after getting absolutely pummeled all those years in Detroit and never once complaining.

  7. As a Bengals fan this awesome! I’d be worried if Florio picked the Bengals.

    Rams…you’re doomed.

  8. Lot’s of people are cheering for the Bengals (not me). But everyone is putting their money on the Rams. The Rams win this 38-17. As Florio noted it will be close at the end of the first half, but during the second half the flood gates will open. OBJ will score 2 TDs, which will drive the mean kids crazy.

  9. It’s simple, just like with Brady, you get pressure, Rams win. You don’t, lookout! Cindy in a walkoff FG.

  10. This really is anybody’s game. I’ll go Rams 32-30……Bengals MAYBE with a shot at the end with like a 60+ yarder FG at the end.

  11. On paper the Rams pick makes sense, but there’s something going on with this Bengals team. They remind me of the 2001 Patriots.

  12. Nope Stafford gonna Stafford. Gonna make stupid throws forcing the ball.

    He is gonna be a turnover machine. At least two picks

  13. Ask yourself, have the Rams win a game this year they weren’t suppose to? Then ask yourself, Have the Bengals???????

  14. Imagine for a moment that the Bengals figure out how to slow the pass rush. Maybe move that pocket, use a FB to block, run the ball with the best RB on the field, perhaps play action. Then it comes down to Burrow and the best receiving core on the planet vs the Rams secondary. The Rams offense vs the Bengals D is no pushover either. Kupp actually goes up against the best slot CB in football. Can OBJ go off against the secondary? Who knows? We’ll find out Sunday night. Burrow is far better than Stafford. The better QB usually wins the game. It’ll be close more than likely the last team with the ball wins. Burrow finds a way to win.

  15. After watching Stafford get his butt kicked in the NFCN for a decade+ I do hope Rams pull out a win. I also hope Matt isn’t Matt at the wrong time (again).

    Burrows is the real deal and Bengals have a lot to look forward to in the future with Joe under center.

  16. Platinum Pick of the Week: Rams (-4) over the Bengals. One number: 51. That’s the number of times Joe Burrow has been sacked this season, most in the league. And the Rams’ defense, particularly it’s front seven, is better than any the Bengals have faced. Patrick Mahomes ran nearly 500 yards evading the rush in last year’s Super Bowl. Burrow may eclipse that number Sunday. Relentless pressure will be the difference. Rams 31, Bengals 17.

  17. No skin in this game, but as an NFCN fan I am pulling for Stafford. It’s hard not to like Burrow though. I just hope it’s a good game. This year’s playoffs have not disappointed.

  18. Watching the NFL honors last night obviously the Rams are more interested in awards than the super bowl. Bengals by six

  19. Rams Defense is tough, they were throttling the Bucs until they imploded with a slew of fumbles helping Brady claw back. Burrows is no Brady. I see another 13-3 low scoring Super Bowl, maybe 17-3, Rams win.

  20. The game is going to be decided by the Bengals OL and I don’t think they are up to the task. I see Burrow getting sacked 5 times and the Rams winning:

    Rams 30
    Bengals 17

  21. You can switch up any of the pregame talk before each Bengal playoff game and its all the same as Mike’s. They are 3-0. Betting against Burrow doesnt seem to work.

  22. First Super Bowl I’ll genuinely be satisfied with whoever wins. Stafford is a good dude and Cincinnati is a team and fan base that would be fun to see steal it from the usual suspects. Hope it’s at least a good game.

  23. Rams 34 bengals 17
    The fix is in for this game. The nfl has a billion reasons to make LA a football town and that will never happen without a sb title.

  24. Rams by 3. But a good alt bet would be Bengals -2.5 because I think this game will be close. Also bet on overtime (+650).

  25. Any team that can make the Chiefs look mortal twice in the same season has my vote. Cinci uh… finds a way.

  26. I don’t have a horse in this race, but I think Cincinnati will win because nobody is taking them seriously. This will be another Giants-Patriots, Eagles-Patriots, or Saints-Colts Super Bowl. The underdog comes through. I wouldn’t mind seeing a team that’s never won a Super Bowl take it.

  27. I think Bengals win this period. Nobody gave them a shot going to TENN. 9 sacks(WIN) K.C No chance to win 7 point spread in noisy K.C. Pat Mahomes going to carve them up etc. Burrows finds a way to win. He will get sacked- so what! He won getting sacked 9 times in Tenn. He is the new Joe Cool don’t bet against him. Rams are vulnerable here.

  28. last time Von Miller was in the Superbowl, he repeatedly hit Cam in the head after the play. Only got called for it once, but those late hits definitely helped his team. I expect him to hit Burrow dirty early in the game

  29. Not only are Mike Florio and MDS picking the LA Rams, but a double digit win. I hope they jinxed them! NFL announcers and fans have doubted the Bengals all season, however Cincy keeps proving them wrong. Matt Stafford has the most Pick Sixes (26) among active QBs. He’s had 4 Pick Sixes this season. He’s also had 17 INTs. The question is will we see the good or bad Mattew Stafford? My best guess is the game will be decided by Evan McPherson, CIN 27, LAR 24 and Joe Burrow will be the SB MVP.

  30. Stafford may be a good guy, but he is not a winner. Burrow has risen to the top in big games in his career. Stafford has not.

  31. Cincy has been winning because of their D and Kicker. Burrow has not been the star this playoff run people are making him out to be. Burrow isn’t carrying them. He just isn’t turning over the ball and making the key play when they need it. If his D isn’t playing well, they get blown out along the way and are eliminated.

    Can Burrow get sacked 9 times and only turn the ball over once again? I doubt it. The Cincy Oline needs to help the cause. The Bengal O just needs to not put the D in a bad spot. If they can, 20 points will win it. I am guessing Donald and Co get their sacks and WILL force some TOs and win comfortably. 27-14 Rams.

  32. Unfortunately for the Rams bad Staffie shows up and throws a couple of pick sixes and fumbles away the ball as well. Bengals win.

  33. It will be close but BENGALS WIN!!! National Media has talked down Bengals all year, but have not seen Bengals play much!!! Joe Burrow is a SPECIAL GUY —— a ONCE IN A LIFETIME SUPERSTAR!!! Bengals Kicker may be Biggest Positive in game —— could probably kick 65 yard Field Goal in that Stadium!!! Media grossly overlooking Bengals DEFENSE!!!!

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