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NFL Playoffs Picks: Super Bowl

US-AMFOOT-SUPERBOWL-NFL-LVI-BENGALS Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

On Sunday the 2021 NFL season culminates in the over-hyped, over-produced, over-the-top extravaganza known as the Super Bowl. The Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams will get together in Los Angeles to decide which team gets bragging rights for a year as Super Bowl champions. I get one more chance to royally screw up my picks. After going a perfect 6 - 0 in the wild card round, I fell back to earth with a thud the next two weeks, putting up a 1-5 record. That’s ... not good. That brings my playoff record to 7 - 5. Here is my final pick for the season. All odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. For my pick, this is just a who wins the game deal. Odds do not factor in. DISCLAIMER: This is just for fun. I make no claims to actually being any good at this. Given my current track record, I am apparently not very good at this. Anyone who chooses to bet according to my picks will likely prove the old maxim, a fool and his money are soon parted.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Los Angeles Rams. The Bengals have defied expectations at every turn. They have won six of their last seven games, including last week’s huge upset of the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. That was the Bengals’ second upset win over the Chiefs in the last few weeks. The Bengals’ defense, mediocre for much of the year, has really come together recently, holding opponents in check game after game. Joe Burrow has emerged as a rising star at quarterback, and he has one of the best set of offensive weapons in the NFL. The Bengals have risen to the level of competition this season. They have gone 6-2 against playoff teams and they have not lost to a playoff team in two months. This is a dangerous Bengals team, peaking at the right time of the season.

The Los Angeles Rams are a better team than the Bengals on paper. The Rams have a better record. The Rams have the higher rated offense and the higher rated defense. The Rams played the tougher schedule. They have won 9 of their last 10 games and they beat the defending Super Bowl champions in the playoffs. The Rams are playing in their home stadium and they are the betting favorites. By all rights the Rams should win this game. But the Rams are not my pick.

Sometimes a team just seems to get on a magical run. This year I feel like that team is the Bengals. It isn’t logical. It isn’t about matchups or win/loss records or statistics. It’s entirely, ridiculously, gloriously irrational. Maybe it’s sympathy for a similarly downtrodden fanbase, I don’t know. I can’t justify it, but I’m going with the underdogs. Bengals over the Rams in an upset special for Cincinnati’s first ever Super Bowl championship.