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Front Page - Friday, February 11, 2022

Bengals seem to be a team destined to win Super Bowl LVL

Joe Burrow’s Bengals are on a postseason roll that could end with the Lombardi Trophy. - Photo by Steve Sanders | AP

By Terry McCormick

No one expected the Cincinnati Bengals to be in the Super Bowl this year. Heck, very few expected them to even make the playoffs. Vegas had them open at 200:1 to reach Super Bowl LVI.

But here they are after wins over the Raiders, Titans and Chiefs in consecutive weeks ready to challenge the Los Angeles Rams, who will host the big game in their own stadium.

The Rams, on the other hand, were one of the darling preseason picks to win it all, especially after trading for quarterback Matthew Stafford in the offseason. It only added to the hype when Los Angeles acquired pass rusher Von Miller and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in midseason.

When things kick off Sunday in SoFi Stadium, it will in a sense be David vs. Goliath. That might especially be true when the Rams defensive line tries to tee off on Burrow while making their way through Cincy’s sieve of an offensive line. You remember the Bengals’ blockers. They’re the group that gave up nine sacks against the Titans. Wonder how they will fare against Miller and Aaron Donald?

Oddly, the Bengals still won in spite of the nine sacks. And Burrow, in only his second NFL season, proved unflappable.

The same thing happened in the AFC Championship Game when the Chiefs roared out to a 21-3 lead, only to have the Bengals rally and win the game in overtime. For the Chiefs, overtime giveth and overtime taketh away.

Nevertheless, while the Rams might have home-field advantage – if you can call it that the way 49ers fans populated the stadium in the NFC Championship Game – the Bengals do seem to have fate and luck on their side:

• Against the Raiders, an inadvertent whistle gave them a touchdown that helped Cincinnati to the win.

• Against the Titans, it was an unlikely interception from Ryan Tannehill in the closing minutes that set up the victory.

• And against Kansas City, the Chiefs not being able to get into the end zone just before the half, proved pivotal in the Bengals’ being able to survive and overcome.

The Rams would appear to have a decided advantage when it comes to talent. But the Bengals have a look of destiny about them.

Final score: Bengals 31, Rams 27.