The LA Rams may be entering Super Bowl LVI as the odds-on favorite, but that has not halted a lot of speculation over the belief by some NFL pundits that the Cincinnati Bengals will pull off another upset. Of course, the fact that the Bengals are coming off a 4-11-1 2020 NFL season, and managed to amass a 10-7 record places a lot of momentum on their side. And it’s that Cinderella story that has made the Bengals the darling of some Super Bowl predictions so far.
But fear not, because a deeper dive into the number shows that the LA Rams may hold a much stronger hand than many originally believed. For one thing, I believe that the Rams receivers hold a measurable advantage against the Bengals secondary. One such matchup that appears to be a good matchup for the LA Rams is WR Odell Beckham Jr. versus Bengals defensive back Eli Apple.
Curiously, OBJ and Apple are quite familiar with one another. They both played for the New York Giants from 2016 through 2018. After that? Apple tried to catch on with the New Orleans Saints, the Carolina Panthers, and now the Cincinnati Bengals. Alternately, OBJ ended up with the Cleveland Browns, where he slowly wilted on the vine.
Now, former teammates face-off in Super Bowl LVI. How does this all look on paper in terms of the match-up?
Of course, on paper is one thing. But what about on the football field?
Better news, in fact. In his past three playoff games, OBJ has gone 4-4, 54 yards, 1 TD; 6-8, 69 yards, 0 TD; and 9-11, 113 yards, 0 TD, respectively. As the spotlight has gotten brighter, the stage has gotten bigger, and the intensity has increased, Odell Beckham Jr.’s play has simply gotten that much better.
By that rate, he could be upwards of 10-14 for 130 yards and a touchdown. Against the Cincinnati Bengals? Yes. If the Rams commit to the running game, and favor their safety over the top towards Cooper Kupp, OBJ could have a huge game for the Rams offense.