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How the Bengals Can Win the Super Bowl

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The Cincinnati Bengals are in their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl 23. Who will be the difference makers that will push the Bengals to their first-ever Super Bowl victory?

They Get Better No.9 Play

KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 30: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the football during the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Both Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford wear No.9, and the superior quarterback will have a strong chance to win the game. Both quarterbacks have great weapons around them, but Stafford has the superior offensive line and play-caller.

Burrow, on the other hand, has to overcome four turnstiles (and Jonah Williams) with Zac Taylor insisting on giving Joe Mixon 20 carries. Burrow is often put in compromising situations, making his success all the more impressive.

For Super Bowl 56, Burrow will need to maintain this level of play. Burrow has earned a PFF grade of 84.0 or higher in seven games, and he only has one game below 65.0. On the season, Burrow has the highest overall offensive PFF grade and passing grade.

Compared to Stafford, Burrow has an identical big-time throw rate and a much lower turnover-worthy play rate. Stafford has generated the most big-time throws in the playoffs, but he is also in an offense that lets him do so. In the playoffs, Stafford has an average depth of target of 9.5 yards. Burrow’s average depth of target is just 6.2 yards.

Zac Taylor Lets Burrow Cook

As mentioned, Taylor has issues with his game plan. Despite having an elite quarterback, Taylor generally opts to run the ball to limited success. Mixon was a Pro Bowler, but a lot of his success came on his ridiculous volume rather than efficiency. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry on 18.3 carries per game.

In the regular season, the Bengals were 26th in yards per rush attempt. On the other hand, they were third in yards per pass attempt. Having a solid rushing attack is useful, but the Super Bowl is a stage for Burrow.

If Mixon is used as a change-of-pace rather than the star, the Bengals will almost certainly have more success. Particularly during the playoffs, the Bengals have faced too many second-and-long situations to be an elite team. Putting the ball in Burrow’s hands will ease offensive operation on early downs.

Mixon should be used in short-yardage situations rather than early downs. The Bengals should lean on Burrow and his wide receivers to accumulate early-down yardage.

Money Mac Continues

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 30: Kicker Evan McPherson #2 of the Cincinnati Bengals hits the game winning field goal in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Evan McPherson has not missed a field goal since Week 16, nailing 14 kicks in his last four games. In each of his last two games, he has sealed the Bengals’ win with a walk-off field goal.

McPherson has made 35 of 37 of his field goals since a disastrous game against the Green Bay Packers. For context, Justin Tucker made 35 of his 37 kicks in 2021. He will need to keep up this run to give the Bengals the best chance at winning.

While the Bengals have had a good offense throughout the playoffs, they have struggled to score touchdowns. In the playoffs, the Bengals have scored just five touchdowns, settling for 12 field goals. McPherson has been perfect on these kicks, but the Bengals are leaving points on the board.

For the Bengals to win the Super Bowl, they will need McPherson to be kicking extra points more than field goals. He has been a tremendous weapon, but it is unlikely that the Bengals can win the Super Bowl with four field goals.

Verdict:

The Bengals are underdogs in the Super Bowl for good reason. The Los Angeles Rams have home-field advantage (good for 2.5 points in the spread), and they have several trump cards in the form of Aaron Donald and Von Miller. However, the Bengals have a serious shot because they have the better quarterback. If Burrow can withstand a star-studded pass rush, the Bengals will win their first Super Bowl.

It may come down to a last-second kick, and there is no kicker as clinical as McPherson at the moment. Only Chris Boswell (16) and Robbie Gould (21) have made more playoff field goals without a miss than McPherson’s 12. He is one game away from having the best playoff run by a kicker in NFL history.


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Main Image Credit

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 12: L-R Ja’Marr Chase #1, Joe Burrow #9 and Tee Higgins #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals sit in the front for the Cincinnati Bengals team photo at UCLA’s Drake Stadium on February 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. The Bengals will play against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI on February 13. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Ryan Potts is an avid football and baseball fan. He covers the NFL and Major League Baseball, focusing on the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Braves.