Who would’ve thought that the Cincinnati Bengals would actually pull off the road upset against the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend on Championship Sunday? Cincinnati is back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1989, and this scrappy team has a ton of unsung heroes outside of the headline-grabbing skills of former LSU standouts Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.
NitroBetting is ready to equip its bettors with the latest news, NFL odds, and previews for the entirety of the 2022 NFL Playoffs. This time, let’s cite the three X-factors for the Cincinnati Bengals in their upcoming Super Bowl LVI matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, as well as the Bengals’ odds to beat the Rams for the franchise’s first-ever Lombardi Trophy.
Top 3 X-Factors for the Bengals in Super Bowl 56 vs. Rams
1. WR Tee Higgins
Although fellow wideout Ja’Marr Chase has garnered the most attention from opposing defenses and the media alike, it’s been Cincy’s second-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft in Tee Higgins who’s been just as reliable in the Bengals’ passing game of late.
Over his last two playoff starts, Higgins has 19 catches for 199 receiving yards. And while Chase found the end zone during the AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs, he finished with just six catches in nine targets for 54 yards. Higgins has big-play ability to tear the Rams’ secondary apart whenever Chase gets double-teamed in coverage and should be in line for his first career postseason TD in Super Bowl 56.
2. CB Eli Apple
Some would argue that Eli Apple has been a bust since entering the pros in 2016. And even until now, he’s been overshadowed by the stellar play of his fellow corner Chidobe Awuzie. However, the former 10th-overall pick has been playing some pretty good football this postseason as part of the Bengals’ gritty defense, recently leading his team in solo tackles against Kansas City with six.
On the other hand, Apple has to keep his nerves in check in what’s undoubtedly the biggest game of his career. The former Ohio State product dropped what would’ve been a game-winning interception of Patrick Mahomes during the wild overtime in Arrowhead, and he’ll have his hands full in the Super Bowl with either Cooper Kupp or Odell Beckham Jr. as his final assignments.
3. K Evan McPherson
As of this writing, the Bengals are (+4.5) underdogs to win the Super Bowl in what’s a virtual home-field game for the Rams in SoFi Stadium. Those odds would state that the final game of the NFL season will be a close one, and we all know that special teams have played a huge role in all of the tight battles since the start of the Divisional Round.
That being said, Cincinnati kicker Evan McPherson has been lights out all throughout the postseason. The fifth-round rookie out of Florida has yet to miss a kick in this year’s playoffs, going 12-for-12 in field goals (3-for-3 from 50 yards out), including back-to-back game-winners in overtime over the Titans and Chiefs.
It’s highly possible that Super Bowl 56 will be decided by a game-winning score. Luckily, the Bengals have themselves arguably the most reliable weapon this postseason in McPherson ready to hopefully boot them into the NFL record books.
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