It is safe to say that the Cincinnati Bengals have already overachieved with their stellar showing in the 2021 NFL Playoffs thus far. However, the job is still far from finished as they still have to hurdle the last roadblock to their title hopes in the Los Angeles Rams.
Overcoming Sean McVay’s loaded squad will surely be a tough challenge for anyone, especially in the Super Bowl Stage. The Bengals would need their star QB in Joe Burrow to come up with another solid outing for the team under center. All eyes are also going to be set on his running mate in Ja’Marr Chase who is expected to produce monster numbers for the team.
Bengals X-Factor vs. Rams in Super Bowl 56
However, the true X-Factor against the Rams in the title game would be wide receiver Tee Higgins who has been flying under the radar for the most part of this season. Unknown to many, he is also on a tear and has seemingly improved his numbers as compared to his rookie campaign last year despite Chase’s arrival in 2021.
Higgins served as the No. 2 option in the receivers room for the Bengals and was a major threat on offense all season long. He generated 1,091 receiving yards on 74 receptions and six touchdowns scored in only 14 games played. Without a doubt, he could’ve done more damage on the field if only he managed to stay healthy in the entirety of their 2021 campaign.
Yes, the rookie Pro Bowler in Chase is more naturally talented as compared to Higgins but that fact doesn’t take away the latter’s ability to have a huge contribution to the team as well. For one, he previously stepped up in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs when Chase was being covered by the opposing secondary all game long.
Higgins delivered the goods and led the receiving unit with a total of 103 yards on six receptions. Though he didn’t get to score a touchdown for himself, he still managed to attract the attention of multiple Chiefs defenders which eventually allowed Chase and Samaje Perine to reach the endzone. After a huge performance, Higgins already recorded a total of 199 receiving yards in two subsequent playoff contests for the Bengals this season.
In Super Bowl 56, their opponents in the Rams are known to be more than capable of defending the run, similar to what they showed in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. Kyle Shanahan’s RB1 in Deebo Samuel was only limited to a meager output of 26 yards on seven carries which ultimately helped Los Angeles to run away with the victory.
Having said that, the Bengals should be aware of the capabilities of the Rams defense and opt to utilize the passing game more instead. However, as expected, opposing cornerback Jalen Ramsey will have his hands all over the Bengals’ top receiving weapon in Chase all game long. In this case, backup options like Higgins will play an important role and should ensure that they get to deliver whenever Burrow would find them open on the field.
Players like Tyler Boyd, C.J. Uzomah, and running back Joe Mixon are all expected to have similar responsibilities by helping gain yardage and creating scoring opportunities for the team, especially when Ramsey is sticking tightly to Chase on the field.
Surely enough, a fluid offensive attack is needed from the Bengals in order to overcome a cohesive defense by the Rams. Joe Burrow is expected to be at the forefront of their attack though Tee Higgins will also be counted upon to provide support and timely contributions when needed.
If the second-year wide receiver can do his job well in Super Bowl 56 then there is no doubt that the Bengals will be in a good position to win the crown this season.