As the old adage goes: defense wins championships. The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams have defenses with opposing strengths and weaknesses, and we’re here to dissect just how their respective stop units square up against the opposing offense as we slowly approach the big day on February 13.
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 break down the defensive units of both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams, as well as an evaluation of which team has the edge on D heading into Super Bowl 56.
Super Bowl 56 Defense Breakdown
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Cincy’s Great but Not Purr-fect D
At the end of the 2021 NFL regular season, the Bengals finished 13th in the league in defensive success rate, which does sound good on paper. However, it’s also worth noting that they faced pretty weak competition towards the back-half of the regular season, facing backup QBs such as Drew Lock, Mike White, Case Keenum, and Josh Johnson.
Cincinnati’s D has certainly been tested by top-10 offenses, allowing an average of 31 points and over 404 yards of offense in such matchups. That’s a stark contrast to the team’s season averages of 22.1 points allowed and 367.1 yards surrendered per contest.
Thankfully, the Bengals’ defense has been bent but not entirely broken during the playoffs. Although they’ve escaped the postseason with merely three-point wins in back-to-back games and that each of their three playoff matchups went down the wire, their D’s tenacity against adversity still deserves a lot of praise regardless of what the stats would say otherwise.
LA’s Star-Studded Stop Unit
Unlike the Bengals, the Rams really had an elite defensive unit throughout their campaign. They racked up the third-most sacks during the regular season (50). Furthermore, they also ranked first in the league in pass-rush win rate, whereas Cincinnati was the second-worst team in terms of pass-blocking win rate.
Another huge contrast between LA and Cincy’s respective defenses is that the former has a ton of star power on its roster, particularly in the front seven. Former Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and Greg Gaines are just some of the names that Cincinnati has to worry about.
On the other hand, the Rams’ secondary is quite the concern despite having five-time Pro Bowl corner Jalen Ramsey covering opposing WR1s. They finished just 21st in the NFL in pass-defense success rate. LA also hasn’t faced truly potent aerial attacks of late, with the injury-riddled Cardinals and Buccaneers passing offenses and a lackluster 49ers receiving corps being their latest challenges. That being said, Burrow and the Bengals’ aerial assault are arguably their stiffest competitions this entire postseason.
Who Has the Advantage in Super Bowl 56?
As of this writing, the Rams are priced at (-4) to win Super Bowl LVI and their defense played a huge role in their status as the favorites in their title-game matchup against the Bengals. Then again, Cincinnati’s D has recently done a great job at containing the Chiefs’ mighty offense during the AFC Championship Game and should continue to play inspired football and give LA’s defense a run for its own money.
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