The Pitt News Sports Desk gives their picks for Super Bowl 56


AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, before Sunday’s upcoming Super Bowl game.

By The Pitt News Staff

The Pitt News Sports Desk gives their picks and predictions on this year’s Super Bowl matchup between the Bengals and Rams. Two former Pitt Panthers — Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Bengals’ receiver Tyler Boyd — will face off on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on NBC.

Rams win 31-24 // Dalton Coppola, Assistant Sports Editor

The Joe Burrow-led Bengals have taken the football world by storm in recent weeks, upsetting the Titans and Chiefs en route to their AFC Championship. But the Bengals will run out of gas against Matthew Stafford and the Rams. The Rams’ stout defensive line — featuring former Pitt Panther Donald — will prove to be too much for Burrow and the Bengals.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, right and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., left, stretch during practice on Thursday in Pasadena, California, for Sunday’s Super Bowl game. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Rams win 27-23 // Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

The Rams are the second consecutive team to host a Super Bowl and that’ll help them throughout the game. The Bengals will rely on Burrow and his passing, but the Rams’ defense — including linebacker Von Miller, corner Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Donald — will stifle Cincinnati and propel them to their first title since the Greatest Show on Turf won Super Bowl 34.

Bengals win 24-21 // Nick Aaron, Staff Writer

It’s been a magical season for the Bengals and that won’t change on Sunday. Burrow will take his fair share of licks from the LA defense but the Bengals will muster just enough late offense to set up another clutch field goal from kicker Evan McPherson. The legend of Burrow continues, as he’ll become the first QB ever to win a Heisman, college national title and Super Bowl — all in the span of three seasons.

Rams win 30-19 // Zack Gibney, Senior Staff Writer

The Bengals boast plenty of elite weapons, but the Rams won’t need to blitz with more than four defenders considering the weak Cincinnati offensive line. This should assist Ramsey and the rest of the secondary against Cincy’s skill players. If Donald brings pressure and the secondary can hold up against Bengals receiver Jamar Chase, Los Angeles will bring the Bengals’ run to an end.

Bengals win 27-17 // Jermaine Sykes, Staff Writer

The legend of Burrow and the Bengals will grow even larger. The Bengals come into Super Bowl LVI red-hot against a Rams team whose offense has struggled this postseason. It’s cliche to say “defense wins championships,” but here I see the high-powered Bengals offense scoring too many points for Stafford and the Rams to keep up with.

Cincinnati Bengals players including Joe Mixon, center, warm up during practice on Wednesday, in Los Angeles, California, for Sunday’s Super Bowl game. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Rams win 21-14 // Brian Sherry, Staff Writer

Bengals quarterback Burrow was the most sacked player in the NFL this season with a total of 51 sacks in the regular season. Burrow will face off against one of the league’s greatest defensive players in Rams’ defensive tackle Donald. This match-up does not fare well for the Bengals, who will keep the game close but ultimately fall short.

Rams win 31-27 // Frankie Richetti, Senior Staff Writer

In the Divisional Round against Tennessee, the Titans sacked Bengals quarterback Burrow nine times — tied for the most sacks given up in a playoff game. Burrow and the Bengals escaped that night, but their magical run will come to an end Sunday. This game will be won in the trenches and the Rams’ defensive line will be too much to handle for Cincinnati.

Bengals win 23-20 // Richie Smiechowski, Senior Staff Writer

On paper, the Rams should win this game — maybe even by double digits. They have weapons on both sides of the ball that not many teams in the NFL can match, let alone the underdog Cincinnati Bengals. But that won’t matter Sunday night in Los Angeles though — Joe “Cool” Burrow and Evan “Shooter” McPherson will combine as an all-time great super bowl tandem, winning the game on a last-second field goal.

Rams win 27-14 // Kyle Saxon, Senior Staff Writer

While Burrow is deserving of every bit of praise he’s received on Cincinnati’s historic playoff run, the excitement surrounding the star quarterback has overshadowed a glaring flaw in the Bengals’ offense — the offensive line. Pitt alum and Rams defensive tackle Donald and 2016 Super Bowl MVP Miller will take over this game. The magic runs out for Cincinnati in Los Angeles and the Rams win the Super Bowl in their home stadium.

Rams win 30-24 // Jack Markowski, Staff Writer

It feels as if the story of Rams quarterback Stafford has flown under the radar leading up to Sunday. He has been nearly flawless throughout the postseason and his chemistry with receivers Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. will prove too tough of a task for the Bengals defense. The Rams will take advantage of the mismatch in the trenches on the other side of the ball as well, leading to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

Bengals win 34-31 // Stephen Thompson, Sports Editor

The Bengals are a team of destiny, ready to exorcize the demons that have haunted their franchise for decades. I think both offenses will overpower their opponents, but a key turnover from Stafford late in the game will shift momentum in the defacto visiting team’s favor. McPherson will make the deciding play — a walk-off field goal that wins the game and sends Cincinnati into a state of lawless delirium.