Rams Vs. Bengals: 3 Biggest Matchups To Watch In Super Bowl Rematch

Rams vs. Bengals Week 3

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams vs. Bengals
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The NFL’s Week 3 features Los Angeles Rams vs. Bengals in the first matchup since they played in Super Bowl LVI. Both teams have taken a step back since the big game 2021 in the eyes of many around the country but for the fans of both, this one is personal. Here’s a look at three matchups that could decide the game in primetime on Monday Night Football.

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#1 – Matthew Stafford vs. Joe Burrow(?)

The biggest question is Joe Burrow’s health. At 0-2, the Bengals are teetering on falling into the early hole that statistics prove to be fatal. At 0-3, the Bengals would only be one of seven teams to reach the postseason after such a poor start. However, in the majority of seasons, one 0-2 team reaches the playoffs per year.

Head coach Zac Taylor can’t be oblivious to that statistic and will be pushing as hard as he can to get Joe Burrow on the field. Assuming both quarterbacks are on the field, the game could end up being a shootout. The first quarterback to blink could lose.

Matthew Stafford has thrown for one touchdown and two interceptions so far. Offensively, he looked clean and crisp against the Seattle Seahawks. However, he showed some cracks in Week 2, but he usually does against the 49ers, even going before his time with the Los Angeles Rams.

Joe Burrow has also started the year sluggishly but did trend up in Week 2. In Week 2, he threw for two touchdowns and an interception. He completed 65.9% of his throws for 222 yards. Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon are still on the team and with Burrow trending up, he could put up a strong performance on Monday Night Football.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
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#2 – Puka Nacua vs. Chidobe Awuzie

Is Puka Nacua for real? The overnight star of the Rams’ offense has proven to be suddenly unstoppable in relief of Cooper Kupp. Through two weeks, he’s earned 25 catches for a whopping 266 yards. At this point, his biggest opponent is doubt. Sure, he’s stuck his foot in the door, but he has more head-scratching doubters than fans outside of Los Angeles.

If he can turn in a breakout performance against Chidobe Awuzie in primetime on Monday Night Football, it would go a long way toward winning over the public at large. At this point, fans of other teams have seen his stats, but are strangers to him. If he plays well against a well-known cornerback in Awuzie, he could put himself on the fast track to going from newcomer to household name overnight.

On the other side, Awuzie has posted a 63.5 PFF grade. Last year, he earned a 69.9 PFF grade. With only two games under his belt this year, the sample size is too small to say he has taken a step back, but as a number one cornerback, he still regularly sees the best of the best and holds his own. As such, for a young budding star like Nacua, he serves as quality competition.

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#3 – Aaron Donald against obligatory Bengals double-team

No matter where Aaron Donald lines up, he’s going to draw attention from multiple Bengals offensive linemen. With the defensive superstar now on the plus side of 30 and heading into his third game of the season, the pressure is on the star to overcome his circumstances and wreak havoc in primetime. So far, he’s earned just half of a sack and has yet to announce his presence to the quarterback in a substantial manner this season.

As such, now is the perfect time for him to remind opponents who he is and to prove that age is just a number. Last year, he earned just five sacks in his injury-shortened season, which was the fewest of his career. Could the upcoming Super Bowl rematch be his moment to relive the all-important exclamation point he sent to Joe Burrow in February of 2022?

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams Championship Parade
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