Super Bowl Commentary: Nathan Bennett

Nathan Bennett and several students give their Super Bowl predictions.

Nathan Bennett, Staff Writer


The NFL’s 56th annual Super Bowl is this Sunday and like every year, there is a lot of excitement coming into the game. Matthew Stafford and the  LA Rams, who have looked very good in the postseason so far, will go up against the underdog team of the entire playoffs, the young Cincinnati Bengals. 

After winning a combined six games over the past two seasons, the Bengals had their best season since 2015 as they were able to go 10-7 this year and it was really due to their fantastic offense led by quarterback Joe Burrow. 

Burrow, the second year quarterback out of LSU, was able to throw for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns while leading the league’s third ranked scoring offense. Burrow from the very beginning built a strong connection with his former LSU teammate, Ja’Marr Chase, which led to one of the most historic rookie receiving seasons of all time. 

Chase was able to rack up 81 catches for 1,445 yards and 13 touchdowns in his rookie season.

But, the guy who really makes this offense go is fifth year running back Joe Mixon. Mixon was the third leading rusher in the NFL this year as he was able to rack up 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns while being able to stay healthy for pretty much the full year and putting his injury history behind him. 

All of these players allowed the Bengals to have a tremendously successful season on offense even without a good offensive line. Burrow was sacked the third most times in football this year as he was sacked 55 times and the Bengals were still able to be a top 5 offense this year. 

The Rams offensively are led by former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Rams traded for Stafford in the offseason and really mortgaged their future to get the former Lion to try and improve their Super Bowl odds because they thought that if they were going to compete for championships it was not going to be with Jared Goff at quarterback. The Rams traded Goff, two 1st round picks, and a 3rd round pick to the Lions and it seems to have worked out exactly as they wanted it to. 

“I really think Stafford is going to be able to win super bowl MVP this year because it is always the quarterbacks that win it,” senior Elliot Witte said. 

Stafford was able to make quick friends with fantastic slot receiver Cooper Kupp and the two’s relationship really paid off for LA as Kupp put up one of the most incredible seasons we have ever seen from a wide receiver. 

Kupp, with the help of Stafford, was able to put up 145 catches for nearly 2000 yards and he also accumulated 16 touchdowns on the year as he was able to blossom into the best wide receiver in football this year. But Kupp was not the only receiver Stafford built a big connection with this year. 

In November of this season, the Rams former number 2 wide receiver Robert Woods tore a ligament in his knee and the Rams needed to look for a new number 2 wide receiver.  But lucky for the Rams, former Second Team All-Pro WR Odell Beckham Jr became unhappy with his situation with the Cleveland Browns and that ended with Browns actually cutting Beckham and lot long after that, Beckham landed with LA.

It did not take long for Beckham to get his numbers with the Rams. Beckham in his time with the Rams in the regular season had 27 catches for 305 yards and 5 touchdowns. Beckham allowed the Rams to not be so dependent on their ground game in the second half of the season and it really benefited the Rams offense. 

The Rams became the 25th scoring offense in football behind the trio of Stafford, Beckham, and Kupp. But the offense is not the reason the Rams are not here in this situation. 

Led by three of the best defensive players in football–Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Von Miller–-the Rams were able to become the 10th ranked defense in terms of point per game allowed (21.4 ppg) and they were the 3rd most in the NFL with a combined 50 sacks on the year. The Rams also gave up the fifth fewest amount of rushing yards per game (95.8 yds).

 “I think the Rams will win because Aaron Donald and Von Miller will dominate the Bengals offensive line, and the team as a whole is more experienced,” senior Chase Gemes said.

The Bengals defense, on the other hand, was a very up and down group this year and it definitely wasn’t as good as their offense.  The Bengals dealt with inconsistency on defense all year giving up the seventh most passing yards per game (247.7 per game). But, one bright spot for the Bengals defense this year is they gave up the eight fewest rushing yards per game (106.2 per game). 

So overall both teams have quite a few strengths that they can exploit, but each team has a key weakness that the other team can exploit that could be their ultimate downfall. 

If I had to give my prediction, I see the Rams winning this game 28-17 on the backs of their dominant defensive lineman. With Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Von Miller on the Rams defensive line and with the way the Bengals offensive line has played this year, I think it is going to be way too much for the Bengals to overcome. I also think having Jalen Ramsey cover Ja’Marr Chase the whole game is going to put the Bengals in a tough spot because Ramsey is regarded as maybe the best corner in all of football so he is for sure going to at least make it very tough on Chase to consistently get open. Prediction Rams 28 Bengals 17. 

Student Super Bowl Predictions

Senior Travis Clouse- 27-20 Bengals

Senior Keegan Thompson 27-24 Rams

Senior Elliot Witte -34-17 Rams

Senior Chase Gemes 27-21 Rams

Coach Jeff Young 28-24 Bengals