Skip to main content

Super Bowl LVI (56) Prediction and Preview: Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Super Bowl LVI (56) Prediction and Preview: Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Two Hollywood stories play out their final act as the NFL's big game descends on L.A.

Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals is a quarterback story. It's as simple as that.

Last January, Matthew Stafford was a Detroit Lion, facing a new coach and an uncertain future after missing the playoffs a fourth straight season. Joe Burrow had been sidelined since Thanksgiving, suffering a torn ACL that derailed his rookie year and left the Cincinnati Bengals a disastrous 4-11-1. Two former No. 1 overall picks facing each other in Super Bowl LVI, with Stafford a member of the Rams, seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream.

Turns out even the craziest of fantasies can still come true.

The Hollywood script for both quarterbacks writes its final act on Sunday night as the Lombardi Trophy is contested at SoFi Stadium. But after riding the roller coaster of playoff momentum, only one of these two QBs can have the happy ending that launches them into the rarified air labeled Super Bowl champion.

For Stafford, it's been a long road, suffering through a 74-90-1 record in a dozen seasons with Detroit before a trade to the Rams breathed new life into his career at age 34. Suddenly, a man who actively avoided the spotlight, toiling in obscurity, was thrust into the second-largest media market in the country, his new team giving away two first-round picks and its former first-round quarterback to risk it all.

"He had so much pressure on him," Stafford's wife Kelly said this week on "Good Morning America." "That team had so much pressure on them. And if they didn't make it to the Super Bowl they were a bust, you know?"

But when it counted, Stafford delivered. The fourth-seeded Rams came from behind to win the NFC West, destroyed rival Arizona in the Wild Card Round, and weathered the storm against Tampa Bay and San Francisco to advance. With 905 yards, six touchdowns, and just one interception, Stafford kept the ship afloat to earn the Rams a chance to win the Super Bowl at home. (Weird NFL rules still make them the visiting team out of the NFC.)