3. Joe Burrow rises to the moment in the biggest games and I think that can happen today. Even with Aaron Donald roaring down on him.
The pressure is all on the Rams, who broke the bank for this moment. The Bengals won’t say it, but they’re playing with house money. They’re loose, young and they believe.
4. Evan McPherson. The Bengals’ ice-in-the-veins kicker is a mix of Minnesota Fats, Karl Wallenda and Lou “The Toe” Groza.
5. The spirit of Harambe will lift this team. If you remember, the beloved 400-pound gorilla was killed by a Cincinnati Zoo worker in 2016 after a three-year-old kid climbed over the fence and fell into the zoo enclosure. Harambe grabbed hold of the child’s arm and pulled him around.
It was a sad and controversial ending – was lethal force the only way? – for the 17-year-old zoo favorite.
A year later Buffalo Bills fans used Harambe to troll the fumbling Bengals. They erected a billboard that read: “You can replace Dalton; you can’t replace Harambe.”
Dalton has been replaced and this young team is remembering Harambe.
Defensive end Sam Hubbard recently saluted Harambe on the “Pardon My Take” podcast, saying:
“Sweet Prince, that’s out guy, our hero. We’re doing this for him.”
My pick: Bengals 31, Rams 28