Maybe the LA Rams do have homefield advantage after all. The Rams were behind 17-7 in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s NFC Championship but rallied from behind to tie the score with 6:49 remaining. Aaron Donald led the defense to force a quick punt by the 49ers and Matthew Stafford drove the Rams down the field to have Matt Gay kick the go-ahead field goal with 1:46 remaining.
L.A. took a 20-17 lead and Travin Howard intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo three plays later to send the Rams to the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium. There they will face the surprising 10-7 Cincinnati Bengals led by Joe Burrow, after Burrow helped the Bengals beat the Kansas City Chiefs after they trailed by 18 points on Sunday.
The Rams are currently 4-point favorites over the Bengals per DraftKings Sportsbook, though the Super Bowl line should be expected to move over the next two weeks.
The Bengals were 2-14 two years ago, which gave them the opportunity to draft Joe Burrow with the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow tore his ACL as a rookie but returned and paired with college teammate Ja’Marr Chase to take the league’s passing defenses by storm. However, at 10-7, Cincinnati was not the favorite by any means to win the AFC and they have been discounted as “not that serious” during their entire trip to the Super Bowl.
Certainly the Rams will be taking them seriously. Especially Sean McVay, who once hired Bengals head coach Zac Taylor to work for him, then promoted him to QBs coach after only one season together.
L.A. will be favored in the Super Bowl by about the same number of points that they were favored to win against the 49ers: 3.5. By winning 20-17, the Rams didn’t beat the spread.
But they did send the 49ers back to the Bay empty-handed.
Many predicted that the Rams wouldn’t have as much fan support at SoFi Stadium as the opponent on Sunday and it turned out to not be the difference for San Francisco. Will there be a bigger turnout now that the hometown team is playing host in the Super Bowl? If McVay can help the L.A. Rams win the next game, there will surely be a lot more fans next season and beyond.
What’s your early Super Bowl score prediction?