NFL DFS, Super Bowl Predictions

The NFL has had wild and exciting seasons but 2021 was truly one for the ages, especially the postseason. Last weekend set the bar for thrilling Championship games and neither contest disappointed…unless you’re a Chiefs or a 49ers fan.

Back in September it became apparent that the Rams were a legitimate Super Bowl contender, having traded away draft picks for Matt Stafford. It became even more obvious after the midseason acquisitions of Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr., whose presence paid off down the stretch. Now the Rams become only the second team to host a Super Bowl in their home stadium, a feat Tom Brady’s Buccaneers achieved for the first time in NFL history last year.

As for the Bengals, they’ve been one of the more surprising NFL stories this millennium. It was just two years ago that they went 2-14, under then rookie head coach Zac Taylor. They then went 4-11-1 after rookie QB Joe Burrow tore both his ACL and MCL. Now here they are in 2021, having gone 10-7, having won the AFC North, having won their first playoff game in thirty years, having upset the number one seeded Titans on the road and having stunned the defending AFC champion Chiefs in their own house. The Bengals may be underdogs on paper, but they’ve earned this Super Bowl berth, their first since 1988. This improbable run can be mainly attributed to one man: Joe Burrow. Yes, Ja’Marr Chase was an inspired draft choice, with Burrow and Chase already having rapport from their LSU days. But it is Burrow that makes this locomotive chug. He is the only first-pick QB to ever lead a team to the Super Bowl in his second season in the NFL.

Sunday, Feb. 13th (Super Bowl LVI)

RAMS (15-5) AT BENGALS (13-7) — 6:30pm ET NBC

Favorite: Los Angeles (-4) O/U: 48.5

Keys to the Game:

The Bengals are already dogs on the matchup card, and a big reason for that is their porous offensive line. That same line allowed Burrow to get sacked nine times in their victory over the Titans. And now it faces the fiercest pass rush in the league, lead by Aaron Donald and Von Miller. In order for the Bengals to have any chance at the upset they must find a way to protect Burrow. That’s far easier said than done and analysts across the NFL are predicting a Burrow sack-fest. Joe Destiny was able side-step several would-be sacks from the Chiefs thanks to his scrambling and elusiveness in the pocket but the Rams defense is a different beast—one that’s far more relentless than the Titans’ or Chiefs’ pass rush. As long as Burrow gets the ball out of his hands quickly and wins time of possession, he and his offense can get this done. And lest we forget, Stafford—with 19 turnovers—makes mistakes. We’re loathe to bet against the mismatch between the Ram’s pass rush and Cincinnati’s front five, but if the Bengals get an early lead, if could give Joey Franchise all the confidence he needs to pull this out.

S.W.O.T. Analaysis





Joe Destiny

Bengal O-line

L.A.'s subpar pass coverage of RBs

DMF (Donald, Miller, Floyd) on 3rd downs

An elite runner who can catch (Joe Mixon)

Elevate their pass blocking to at least average

Some dude named Kupp

Chase drawing 2-man coverage

Use Chase as a decoy when double-teamed

"Home field" advantage

Questionable running attack

Bengal's weak pass coverage of TEs

Stafford miscues

NFL's offensive player of the year (Kupp)

OBJ exploiting Cincy's poor coverage vs WR2s

League's #1 pass rush

Penetrating the Bengal's bottom 10th-worst run D

DFS Players to Watch:

  • Tee Higgins (WR): When you’re the offensive player of the year or rookie of the year, you attract a lot of coverage. We’ll defer to Higgins who led the Bengals in yards and targets (10) in their last game. He should face a far more favorable corner matchup.
  • Rams DST: The best defense in football will pressure Burrow like he’s never been pressured before. Even if the Bengals pull this out, the Rams DST should justify its pricetag.

About the Author: Steven A. Cravens has been a professional sports better and analyst for over a decade. As a former Fox Sports NFL researcher and data logger, he specialized in player profiling and performance statistics.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all fantasy stats are based on point per reception (PPR) scoring. For more player selections, check out the free NFL Lineup Builder (now in beta).

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