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Madden predicts a nail-biting Bengals win in the Super Bowl

A 24-21 win will give Cincinnati its first Lombardi Trophy, Madden says

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The Cincinnati Bengals will capture their first Lombardi Trophy this Sunday in Super Bowl LVI, according to Madden NFL 22’s prediction of the big game.

Madden says that the Bengals, currently a 4.5-point underdog, will edge out the Los Angeles Rams on their home turf with a 24-21 victory. In Madden NFL 22’s simulation of the 2022 Super Bowl, the Bengals’ Joe Burrow throws two touchdown passes and secures the Super Bowl MVP award, becoming the first quarterback to win that honor as well as the Heisman Trophy and NCAA national championship.

It’s a come-from-behind win in which the Bengals overcome a valiant effort by the Rams, who are leading at halftime after touchdowns from running back Sony Michel and wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Rams quarterback Matt Stafford and wideout Odell Beckham Jr. connect on a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 21, a great moment for two men playing in their first Super Bowl after spending long careers with teams that mostly failed to make the playoffs. But it’s Bengals rookie phenom Evan McPherson who notches the winning field goal in the final minutes to send the Cincy fans into a frenzy.

Madden’s Super Bowl simulation — conducted in a CPU-vs.-CPU game on All-Pro/Simulation difficulty with six-minute quarters, the default settings for ranked Madden play — is an annual tradition that dates back to 2004. It’s just one data point, but the video game has correctly picked the Super Bowl winner more often than not, with a record of 11-7. (Last year’s prediction of a Chiefs victory over the Buccaneers was a complete whiff.)

Electronic Arts put together a fun video for its 2022 prediction, with retired NFL running back Marshawn Lynch playing the role of a psychic who is divining the beats of the game. It’s the second notable starring role in recent memory for the ex-Seahawks great — don’t miss his show-stealing guest appearance on Netflix’s Murderville.

Super Bowl LVI will kick off at 6:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 13, from SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood, California. This is the second time in NFL history — and the second year in a row — that the Super Bowl is taking place at the home field of one of the teams playing in it. (The Rams share SoFi Stadium with the Los Angeles Chargers.)

The game will be broadcast on NBC, with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calling the action. Those without access to NBC can stream the game on Peacock, although that requires a subscription to at least the $4.99-a-month Peacock Premium tier.

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