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Super Bowl LVI: 5 Reasons Why the Los Angeles Rams Will Win

Defense/Special Teams Rankings Week 5: Aaron Donald/Los Angeles Rams

Aaron Donald and the Rams' fearsome pass rush could wreak havoc on Joe Burrow and the Bengals' offense

It’s been three years since the Los Angeles Rams last made an appearance in the Super Bowl. But thanks in large part to the addition of Matthew Stafford, the best quarterback to play for the worst organization (Detroit) since the Archie Manning/New Orleans Saints days, that brief drought came to a glorious end on Sunday as the horned-ones beat despised rival San Francisco 20-17 on a late Matt Gay field goal and defensive stand. With that, Stafford has turned an 0-3 career postseason record to a much more respectable 3-3 mark.

And now the most-hated team in the NFL will take on everybody’s new darling, the Macaulay Culkin-esque Joe Burrow and the former sad sack-turned-Cinderella Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. Oh sure, you can argue that the Raiders are more hated, the Packers are too, and of course, nobody wanted to see the New England Patriots in another Super Bowl. But almost the entire country hates anything to do with the initials L and A involved. Their fans are passive, their freeways are parking lots, they have more plastic surgeons than 7-11s, and the homeless live like kings. Everybody hates L.A.

Related: 5 Reasons Why the Cincinnati Bengals Will Win Super Bowl LVI

But here's the deal, you'll have to put up with the Blue & Gold reveling in the postgame celebration, holding a downtown parade and having a ring ceremony at the start of the 2022 season. I mean don’t feel too bad for Burrow. Something tells me this transcendent talent will get a championship ring or two in the years ahead.

5 Reasons Why the Los Angeles Rams Will Win Super Bowl LVI

1. The Rams still haven't put it all together

Imagine if the Rams actually played their best game of the year? I’m relatively confident no one would beat them. Hands down. But despite winning all three of their playoff games, you could point to a few key head-scratching plays and note that they came really close to losing all three games. For example, what would’ve happened if Jaquiski Tartt makes that gimme interception with nine minutes left and the 49ers ahead 17-14? That could’ve changed the game right there. And you also have to wonder how the game would’ve turned out if Matthew Stafford hadn’t had that ball tipped and intercepted in the end zone on their opening drive. Would an emphatic opening drive TD have changed the fortunes to a blowout win for the Rams?

Either way, the Rams seem to shoot themselves in the foot a couple of times but still get the win here in the postseason. If they can put together 60 minutes of clean, bonehead-free football this Super Bowl could be a yawner in their direction.

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2. They're figuring out how to use OBJ

The Rams took some heat for bringing on Odell Beckham Jr., a sometime-troubling, yet uber-talented wide receiver, in mid-season and even took their lumps a couple of weeks in trying to figure out how he was going to be used and what he was going to contribute. But here in the postseason the former Giant and Brown has stepped up his game, posting 19 catches for 236 yards. Sunday's nine-catch, 113-yard effort really brought out his best, including a number of key grabs at the perfect time. All this has made it even better for Cooper Kupp to blossom on the other side. Li'l ole No. 10 has seemed to catch a second wind here in the playoffs, especially in Sunday’s win over the Niners, hauling in 11 balls for 142 yards and two TDs with six of his grabs resulting in a successful third-down conversion. Beckham and Kupp combined for 20 catches, 255 yards and two scores. The Bengals will have their hands full trying to slow down this red-hot pass-catching duo.

3. The Rams' defense is turning offenses into one-dimensional attacks

Los Angeles has been pretty solid against the run all season, finishing sixth in the regular season by holding opponents to 103.2 rushing yards per game. But things have been ratcheted up in the postseason where they have basically forced teams to abandon the run, which in turn allows the pass rush to go pell-mell at opposing QBs (more on that in a bit). Arizona, Tampa Bay and San Francisco combined for just 162 yards on 52 carries for a rather putrid 3.1 yards per carry. In the fourth quarter alone on Sunday, the 49ers ran the ball just three times while Jimmy Garoppolo attempted nine passes, completing two and misfiring on his last six attempts. Of their 12 rushing attempts in the second half, San Fran managed one yard, no yards, or a net loss on seven of those carries.

4. The Rams might just knock Joe Burrow out of the game

Let’s face it, the Bengals' offensive line is a mediocre patchwork unit. ESPN’s Booger McFarland said Cincinnati's line "is one of the worst I've ever see," and the numbers (12 sacks allowed in three playoff games) show it. Now, all this unit has to do is face possibly the best collection of pass rushers in the entire league. Aaron Donald, Greg Grimes, Leonard Floyd and Von Miller may not have notched a sack on Garoppolo on Sunday but their pressure was a big factor late in the game, as every one of his pass attempts in the fourth quarter was hurried as he was under constant duress, capped off the by game-clinching pick from Travin Howard.

Burrow will have to rely on some quick-step dropbacks and get the ball out fast. Otherwise, he will continue to take hits all game long. This may not be the "Fearsome Foursome" of the Rams of yore, but something tells me by the time this one is over Burrow is going to wish he was facing Rose Grier, Lamar Lundy, Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones instead of the current quartet.

5. Experience. Experience. Experience.

The old adage is "you can’t replace experience," right? Absolutely. And one of the things the Rams will have going for themselves is that they have been here before. As for Cincinnati? Pfft, the Bengals haven't sniffed a Super Bowl since Icky was Shufflin' back in the era of giant shoulder pads and two-thirds of the current Bengals were even born (i.e., 1989).

Head coach Sean McVay has four assistant coaches and 10 players still around from that 2018 team that lost in Super Bowl LIII to the New England Patriots. Included among those players are All-Pro talents like Donald, Kupp and tight end Tyler Higbee (who may not be able to play due to a knee injury sustained on Sunday), as well as offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth, Rob Havenstein and Joseph Noteboom.

The experience of going to the Super Bowl is invaluable. Every head coach that gets the second chance at the big stage knows the mistakes he made the first time around and always promises to be more business-like the second time. On top of that, the Rams' rabid home-field advantage will kick in… Okay, just kidding, the visitors always have more fans at SoFi Stadium. But the Rams do have the luxury of being the "home" team and will get to sleep in their own beds and keep their routine, well… routine. That's another invaluable advantage.

— Written by Eric Sorenson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He is a college football, college baseball and college hockey addict... and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Stitch_Head.