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NFL: Key NFL Championship battles

Two unlikely teams have made it all the way to the NFL showpiece and the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams will battle it out for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Article originally published on 06/02/2022

Burrow key for Bengals

Joe Burrow has galvanised the Cincinnati Bengals this season in just his second campaign in the NFL, as his side went from 29th in yards and points last year to 13th in yards and eighth in points this term.

Burrow has thrown at least 240 yards in all three playoff games and has done it the hard way, beating the number one seed Tennessee Titans and back-to-back AFC Champions Kansas City Chiefs on the road.

The comeback against the Chiefs from 18 points behind showed how far this team has come and Burrow is their talisman and leader.

The quarterback began this postseason by snapping a 31-year playoff victory drought with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders and would make history once more if he were to win the NFL Championship, becoming the first quarterback in history to win the Heisman Trophy, National College Championship and NFL Championship.

Burrow is priced at 9/4 to be named NFL Championship MVP.

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Donald weapon for Rams

If the Los Angeles Rams are to keep Burrow quiet they will need to rely on pressure from their defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who led the Rams in sacks this year with 12.5.

Burrow was sacked nine times in the Bengals' win over the Tennessee Titans, which is the joint-most of any winning quarterback in NFL history.

Donald is an eight-time Pro Bowler and the key piece of the Rams defence, if they are to put Burrow off his stride, they will need to pressure him early and often and Donald will be a key element of that.

Another key player will be Von Miller, who leads active NFL players for sacks with 115.5. The pass rush combo of Donald and Miller are integral to the Rams' chances.

Kickers could have big say

For the top point scorers on many teams, kickers can often go under the radar but both of these sides have relied on clutch kicks from theirs in this postseason.

The Rams' Matt Gay kicked the winning field goal in their divisional round win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to hold off a Tom Brady comeback.

Arguably even more key has been the Bengals' Evan McPherson who became the first kicker ever to make four field goals in separate rounds of the playoffs.

McPherson nailed the winning kick for both wins against the Titans and the Chiefs so will be key to the fortunes of the Bengals once more.

Statistically, the two men have been two of the best kickers in the league, Gay leads the NFL in field goal percentage, 94.1 and McPherson set the franchise record the longest kick of the regular season, 58 yards, and the most over 50 yard field goals, nine.

Kupp v Awuzie

Cooper Kupp has been key to the Los Angeles Rams this season, recording 145 catches, 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdowns, leading the NFL in all three categories.

The receiver is 6/1 to be named NFL Championship MVP and it may well be the job of Chidobe Awuzie to try to lock Kupp down.

Awuzie registered 10 tackles in the regular-season win over the Chiefs and may be similarly busy against a talented Rams' receiving group.

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