Super Bowl 56 Running Backs Breakdown
Much of the talk surrounding the strengths of both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams heading into Super Bowl 56 is about their two high-flying passing offenses led by stellar quarterbacks. However, it wouldn’t be right to overlook the impact of having a strong running game to complement the passing offense. That being said, their respective running backs deserve much more recognition, and we’re here to do just that.
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 running back corps of both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams, as well as an evaluation of which team has the edge in the battle on the ground game to come 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 wide receiving corps of both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams, as well as an evaluation of which team has the edge in the aerial assault to come on February 13.
Super Bowl 56 Wide Receivers Breakdown
READ MORE: Super Bowl 56 Wide Running Backs Breakdown
Another Joe From Cincy Also in the Mix
Joe Burrow isn’t the only Joseph being praised for his work in Cincinnati, as fifth-year running back Joe Mixon is quietly having a stellar run in the playoffs. Mixon, who earned his first-ever Pro Bowl nod this season, finished with career-highs of 1,205 rushing yards (his third-career 1,000-yard rushing season) and 13 rushing touchdowns.
Mixon also currently leads all running backs this postseason with his 190 rushing yards and was the only player to score a touchdown for the Bengals in their win over the Titans in the Divisional Round. However, outside of the 25-year-old standout, the Bengals have rarely gotten their other running backs involved.
Backup and Mixon’s former Oklahoma teammate, Samaje Perine, only has one carry this entire postseason. Perine was more involved during the AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs, though, hauling in three catches for 43 receiving yards along with a trip to the end zone. Having a solid pass-catching back like Perine will go a long way towards Mixon’s own potential to have a huge game on the ground in Super Bowl LVI.
Two-Headed Battering Rams in LA
Los Angeles lost starting running back Darrell Henderson Jr. to a season-ending knee injury in Week 16 of the regular season, and second-year back Cam Akers has since taken over Henderson’s role. Unfortunately, we’re met with lackluster results.
In last year’s playoffs, Akers had 221 rushing yards in two starts. This postseason, the 22-year-old out of Mississippi only has 151 rushing yards through three games for a paltry average of 2.8 yards per carry. He also lost two fumbles in the Divisional Round against the Buccaneers, and those two fumbles nearly cost the Rams the contest with Tampa Bay staging a furious rally in the second half thanks to those turnovers.
Behind Akers in LA’s backfield depth chart is Sony Michel, who’s also slowly been phased out of the offense during the playoffs in favor of the passing game. Over the last six weeks of the regular season, Michel had four games with 20 or more carries and two 100-yard rushing performances. Through three playoff games, however, the former New England Patriot standout has just 78 rushing yards in 24 carries and three catches for negative-eight yards.
Simply put, the Rams have abandoned their rushing attack in favor of their evidently more prolific passing game that has led them to the Super Bowl. If the Bengals somehow find a way to contain the connection between Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, LA better hope that its running back duo of Akers and Michel are able to deliver in the biggest game of their respective careers in order to switch things up on offense.
Who Has the Advantage in Super Bowl 56?
The clear answer here is Cincinnati, as Mixon alone has been more productive and dependable than his backup in Perine and Los Angeles’ two running backs combined. Then again, we wouldn’t be surprised if Rams head coach Sean McVay comes up with a run-heavy offensive game plan against a Bengals defense allowing 127.3 rushing yards per game this postseason.
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