Whether you’re a hardcore fan or a casual one, the Super Bowl is an EVENT. Ideally, this means time for families and friends to get together...to catch up, to enjoy football, and to eat food! Current pandemic throws a wrench into some of that, but hopefully you’ve learned to live your life despite the current frustrating reality in which we currently find ourselves.
What follows is a (brief) viewing guide for Super Bowl LVI, or Super Bowl 56. Game time is 6:30 PM ET.
How to Watch
NBC, Peacock’s premium tier, NBC sports app, and NBCSports.com.
Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Snoop Dogg will headline.
Los Angeles Rams overview
The Rams are quarterbacked by Matthew Stafford, a really good player who was mired in the mediocrity known as the Detroit Lions for the first 12 years of his NFL career. Aaron Donald headlines a nasty defense that could be the key to the game if they can expose the offensive line of Cincinnati. There’s also some dude named Von Miller in two—you know, just another Hall-of-Fame defender. And on the offensive side, the Rams added Odell Beckham Jr. to a receiving group that also includes COOPER KUPP (this year’s best wide receiver) and Van Jefferson (a solid second-year man). Los Angeles will be without top tight end Tyler Higbee, but Kendall Blanton has filled in admirably. On the ground, the Rams have a three-headed Cerberus should they so choose, in the form of Cam Akers, Sony Michel, and Darrell Henderson. But the story here should be Stafford, Kupp, and the fearsome defensive line.
Cincinnati Bengals overview
The underdogs...these guys aren’t supposed to be here. But they’ve been the hottest team of late, and there’s a ton of firepower for Joe Burrow to fling the rock to—Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd headline a trio of guys who are formidable. Tight end C.J. Uzomah is slated to play despite a sprained MCL, and Joe Mixon is one of the best do-it-all running backs in the NFL. With Chase likely to see plenty of coverage from Jalen Ramsey—and the Bengals needing to do something to nullify the Rams pass rush—perhaps we’ll see a quick-hitting passing game and plenty of Joe Mixon. The onus will be on the Bengals to find a way to protect Joe Burrow. If he doesn’t have enough time to throw, this game could get ugly in a hurry.
Mark’s keys to victory
The Bengals have really wowed up to this point, similar to the Rams team a few years ago. The fact that the Rams are just a few years removed from doing this gives them the experience edge. Plus, while the Bengals are a formidable threat on many fronts, the Aaron Donald to Joe Burrow dynamic should be the key to the Rams winning this. Donald should be able to get past Cincy’s offensive line.
Heath’s keys to victory
Look, Cooper Kupp is going to get his, okay? There’s just no getting around it. And the Rams are going to pressure Joe Burrow, the most sacked QB in the NFL this year (51). Aaron Donald and Von Miller will make sure of it. But don’t let your eyes deceive you, folks. This Bengals team can score with anyone, and make splash plays as well as anyone. Even if Jalen Ramsey slows Ja’Marr Chase down, I expect the rookie to do something. Like the old adage says: you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him. Past that, the Bengals get a boost with fan favorite (and having the best year of his career) tight end C.J. Uzomah back. Tyler Boyd can also work the middle of the field. Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon guarantee that the Rams can’t zero in on any one skill guy. I think Cincy can manage a quick-hitting passing game and a solid dose of Mixon...and I think they can score enough to keep pace with Stafford. On that note, a back-breaking pick from the gunslinging Stafford would not surprise me. I expect a fantastic game from all, but ultimately I think the Bengals will be trying to papercut the Rams to death, and win the time of possession battle. And there’s just something about the levelheaded Joe Burrow that draws me in. Maybe it’s folly. But I’m 100% on the Bengals today.
Mark’s winner and Super Bowl MVP: Rams, Matthew Stafford
Heath’s winner and Super Bowl MVP: Bengals, Joe Burrow
Favorite Prop Bets
Mark Abell - I heard somewhere that these prop bets don’t actually exist but are just a talking point for websites. Either way, the favorite one I read was: the broadcast mentions the fact that Joe Burrow looks like Macaulay Culkin.
Heath Capps - I like the cross-sport prop bets. Here’s a fun one:
Will There Be More Atlanta Hawks Total Points or Cooper Kupp Yards Receiving?
Cooper Kupp Yards -115
Hawks Points -105
Me? I’m taking Cooper Kupp.
Via Bovada (if you’re actually serious), here’s one:
Which commercial airs first—Crypto.com or FTX? Do you go with the more established (Crypto.com) or the up-and-comer who needs to catch up (FTX)?
I’m not really into crypto. But that’s fun. I’ll take FTX.
Lastly, let’s round it off with FOOD!
Mark’s favorite healthy snack:
Celery and peanut butter. Not sure if this is very healthy but it’s at least part of the way there...
Mark’s favorite unhealthy snack:
Nachos! As the Simpsons wisely stated between Gerald Ford and Homer:
Do you like football, Homer? Yes Mr. President.
Do you like nachos? Yes Mr. President.
Do you like beer? Yes Mr. President.
Well then Homer, lets watch football with nachos and beer! Yes Mr. President.
Heath’s favorite healthy snack:
I’m a fan of tempeh wings. Batter ‘em however you like and use whatever dipping sauce you like. I’m actually not eating any today, but I do love them. Okay, maybe they aren’t super-healthy with all the extra stuff added...
Heath’s favorite unhealthy snack:
Honestly, anything that is “buffalo” style is going to take the cake. And then some ranch or bleu cheese to dip it in. Today it’s going to be boneless chicken. I’m also a huge fan of nachos with whatever queso, salsa, quacamole, and etc. you want to have out for people. Dip your chip in whatever you desire, and do 100 times if you want!
What about you, gamers? Who wins the game? What’s your favorite bet? And your favorite food?