A new season is upon us, and with it comes plenty of intriguing storylines. From massive traves and superstar uncertainty in the East to a West perhaps the deepest it has ever been, here is an early season NBA Power ranking.
Rams Bengals Super Bowl Headed for Blowout
It pains me to say that this upcoming Super Bowl will be a blowout of historic proportions. The Joe Burrow story is so wholesome, as is Ja'Marr Chase's journey and the fact that just two years ago, they were starring for an LSU College National Championship that looked improbable when the season started, much like this Cincinnati Bengals run to the Super Bowl. Then there's the fact that 14 months ago, Burrow had his ACL reconstructed just minutes from the Super Bowl stadium, and it makes you feel for the man affectionately known as Joe Sheisty and his immeasurable drip.
Unfortunately, sports are unforgiven, and the truth is the Cincinnati team got matched up with the worst possible team.
To be honest, both the 49ers and Rams were worst-case scenarios, but at least with the 49ers, you can somewhat mitigate Jimmy Garropolo and an offense that is only slightly above average at best.
What makes this matchup so bad for the Bengals? They can't block to save their lives.
On paper it may look like the two teams are very evenly matched. Both offenses averaged an identical 27.1 points a game, and both defenses were within .2 of each other, Rams at 21.9 allowed a game, and Bengals at 22.1. But the key here isn't those raw numbers. The key is the matchups. And the vital information here is that the Bengals allow the third-most sacks per game, while the Rams averaged the third-most sacks a game.
And while that is essentially the only Achilles heel on this Bengals team, when they play teams that don't do well in getting to the Quarterback, they are virtually unstoppable. There's a reason they went to Arrowhead and beat the Chiefs twice in three weeks when no one gave them a chance . . . The Chiefs finished the season 29th in the league in sacks. No pressure on Burrow, then that offense can pick you apart.
But, what you have in this matchup is one of the worst blocking teams in the NFL is about to face one of the best pass-rushing teams, led by Aaron Donald and Von Miller, who both have Super Bowl experience. It is an absolute recipe for disaster. Then you have Jalen Ramsey, arguably the best cornerback in the game, as an option to pair up with Chase. So not only will Burrow be under pressure the whole game, but his #1 target will be up against the premier cornerback in the game.
This season the Bengals are 3 and 4 against teams who finished in the top 10 in sacks. You take away the two freebie wins against an aging Ben Roethlisberger, and that comes down to 1 and 4. Meanwhile, the Rams are 5 and 1 against teams who finished in the bottom 10 of sacks allowed.
Keep in mind that in the last 20 Super Bowls, this is by far the largest discrepancy between where one team ranked in sacks and where the other ranked in pass protection.
The Rams win this game by at least 14 points.
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