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MNF Week 3: Rams-Bengals Preview, Prop Pick, Prediction

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass against Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The teams that met in Super Bowl LVI will square off for the first time since when the Los Angeles Rams visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Star quarterback Joe Burrow was leading the Bengals on a potential game-tying or game-winning drive when nose tackle Aaron Donald got to Burrow on fourth down and sealed the Rams’ 23-20 win.

The Rams have turned over their roster significantly since, with the exception of Donald, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The Bengals are just hoping that Burrow can get on the field for the rematch after he re-aggravated his right calf strain in last week’s 27-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Burrow returned to limited practice Friday and Saturday and by mid-day Monday optimism was growing that he would be able to play.

“You got to be able to adapt. It’s part of the game. Nobody’s 100 percent healthy out there,” Burrow said. “Everybody’s dealing with something.”

QUICK PICK
The Bengals were a consensus 3.0-point favorite shortly after reports that Burrow is trending toward playing. It’s a dicey spread, especially against a Rams team that has been far more competitive than most thought entering the season — opening with a resounding win at Seattle and playing San Francisco tough at home.

Cincinnati is the more desperate of the two, but Los Angeles also has a healthy quarterback. Matthew Stafford has thrown for 641 yards through two games and if he can avoid turnovers, the Rams can send the Bengals to 0-3. The public has backed Los Angeles with 55 percent of the total spread-line bets and 54 percent of the money at BetMGM.

Prediction: Rams 27, Bengals 23

THE NEWS
The Bengals have started 0-2 for the fourth time in five seasons under Zac Taylor. Last year, they were able to recover and win 14 of their next 16 games before falling to eventual Super Bowl LVII champion Kansas City in the AFC Championship.

“The beauty of this team is we know it’s a 17-game season,” Taylor said. “There’s no overreaction on our end. We’ve got to be prepared for it outside of our locker room, which is natural. This is exactly where we were last year.”

This marks the first game for Bengals starting safety Nick Scott against his former team after signing with Cincinnati in the offseason. He has 20 tackles through two games.

The Rams won their opener at Seattle before dropping last week’s home opener to San Francisco, 30-23.

Stafford passed Peyton Manning for the third-most passing yards by a player in his first 200 regular-season games (52,723 yards in 193 games). In the loss to the Niners, Stafford completed 34 of 55 passes for 307 yards.

“(The offensive line) did a great job,” Stafford said. “They kept me clean the majority of the (game).”

PROP PICK
The Rams have turned the running game over to feature back Kyren Williams after trading Cam Akers and a 2026 conditional seventh-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick.

Williams ran for a touchdown and caught another score against San Francisco, marking the first Rams player to score through the air and on the ground since Week 8 of 2021.

Williams’ Over/Under rushing total at DraftKings is 60.5 — a number he has yet to reach after totaling 52 yards on the ground in each of his first two games. We think that changes this week, with the Rams relying a bit more on the ground game in a tough prime-time road venue and Williams hitting the Over.

KEY STAT
Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua is just the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 10 catches and at least 100 receiving yards in his team’s first two games of the season. He is the only rookie to accomplish the feat.

“My success will come when the team wins,” Nacua said. “So I’m excited us for to be able to come back and capitalize when we’re able to win. It was sweet (vs. Seattle). I got things to improve on, but the most important thing is getting that (win).”

INJURY REPORT
Nacua (oblique) returned to limited practice Friday and Saturday and is officially listed as questionable. Cornerback Cobie Durant (groin), center Brian Allen (illness), guard Joe Noteboom (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jonah Williams (back) were all back to full practice by Saturday and are expected to play.

Burrow was officially listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision. Burrow initially injured the calf on July 27, the second day of training camp, and felt a twinge again on the play before his second touchdown pass of the game to Tee Higgins last week.

“Just feeling better. Not as sore,” Burrow said Thursday. “Time heals. So we’ll see. We’ll see.”

Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. is doubtful with a hamstring injury, while safeties Tycen Anderson (calf) and Scott (concussion) returned to full practice and are expected to play.

THEY SAID IT
“We’ve done it before. Obviously, you don’t want to start 0-2. It’s not what we were planning on, not what you want to do at all. But we’re going to bounce back. That’s what we do, that’s all there is to it.” — Burrow

–Field Level Media

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