Apparently, if you’re an NFC team playing in the Super Bowl, there’s no place like home.
For the second year in a row, the NFC Champion will be playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium. This year, it’s the Los Angeles Rams, who will take on the upstart Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI (8:30pm ET, NBC) from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
It’s fitting that the Rams hail from L.A. because the team is absolutely loaded with stars. The defensive line already had two-time Defensive player of the year Aaron Donald in the middle before the team added former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller to the edge rush (we haven’t even mentioned the secondary, which would surely anger star defensive back Jalen Ramsey). On the other side of the ball, the team’s offseason trade for quarterback Matthew Stafford has them playing in the final game of the season. He’s been helped by another in-season acquisition, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., as well as Cooper Kupp, who hit the trifecta of most catches, yards, and receiving touchdowns in the league.
As for Cincinnati, their Super Bowl appearance caps the most stunning turnaround since, ironically, the 1999 St. Louis Rams. Second year quarterback Joe Burrow has the unflappable cool of a seasoned veteran. His chemistry with rookie wideout and former LSU teammate Ja’marr Chase gives them a shot at an explosive play on every down, while running back Joe Mixon—who finished third in the league in rush yards—grinds down the middle. And as we saw last week, their opportunistic defense makes key halftime adjustments to keep games close enough for the offense to finish off.
That means this Super Bowl has the potential to be a close and exciting game. Here’s everything you need to know to make like the Rams and host your own Super Bowl party.
Matchups to Watch
As we mentioned above, rookie wideout Ja’marr Chase has a tremendous season, setting a number of team records, including most receiving yards (1,455), and rookie marks (266 yards in his first game against K.C.). Rams corner Jalen Ramsey is no doubt aware of all this; the All-Pro is expected to be in man-coverage against Chase. This could open the door for a big game from Tee Higgins, who had nearly 1,100 yards receiving in just 14 games this season.
Of course, Joe Burrow will have to find him first, and that won’t be easy in the face of one of the league’s best pass rushing schemes. Unfortunately for Bengals fans, pass protection is an established problem, as Burrow took 51 sacks in 2021, the most in the NFL, and was dropped a playoff-record nine times against the Titans. Look for Cincy to attempt quick passes to minimize the impact of playmakers like Von Miller, who has seven sacks in his last seven games.
The early lines have the Rams as a 4.5 favorite over Cincinnati, with the Over/Under currently at 48.5 points. Here’s an interesting stat: the Bengals have now covered the spread in seven straight games. They’ve also been underdogs in five of those games, all five of which they won outright. Who Dey has been a payday. To find the latest betting lines, check out the DraftKings channel on DISH!
Who is Performing?
For those of us of a certain age and musical sensibility, this year’s halftime show looks like it could be one of the best ever. Dr. Dre, the king of L.A. rap, will be joined by Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige. It’s a lineup so massive, it got its own big-budget trailer, “The Call” directed by F. Gary Gray (watch above). There’s Eminem battling a young version of himself, Snoop in a CGI-lowrider, and, uh, Kendrick getting writer’s block and trashing his rhymes? That part is weird but otherwise, this is an incredible trailer.
The NFL has also announced that Country singer Mickey Guyton will be singing the National Anthem. R&B singer/songwriter Jhené Aiko will be performing “America the Beautiful,” while Mary Mary, accompanied by Yola, will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Dance music legend Zedd will be the pregame DJ.