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LOS ANGELES — Every Super Bowl, I rank the 46 starters — including the nickel corner for each team — to try and get a gauge as to where the strengths and weaknesses are for both teams, areas that could decide the game.

In putting together the rankings for Super Bowl LVI this Sunday, a game that matches the Los Angeles Rams against the Cincinnati Bengals, the top of the rankings are pretty much as expected.

The Rams have the star power, landing the top three spots. The top player is Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, followed by Rams receiver Cooper Kupp and then Rams corner Jalen Ramsey.

But the rest of the top 10 — at least the way I ranked them — evens things out, and it adds up to five from each team. So the elite of the elite are on the Rams roster, but the Bengals have their fair share of top-level talent as well.

As for the bottom of the rankings, that played out pretty much as you would have expected. Three of the five Bengals offensive linemen are in the bottom six players, with right tackle Isaiah Prince coming in at No. 45 and right guard Hakeem Adeniji coming in at No. 46 — the lowest-ranked player in this Super Bowl.

It's that right side that could ultimately decide if Joe Burrow and the Bengals can hold up against the fierce Rams pass rush.

As for Burrow, I ranked him fifth in the game, one spot ahead of Rams quarterback Matt Stafford. It was close, but in the end I went with Burrow ahead of Stafford. 

There are several starters with injury issues, including both starting tight ends. But since there is a chance that both Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah and Rams tight end Tyler Higbee can play, I ranked them here.

So what's the conclusion from these rankings? It will be the Rams star power vs. the young, rising team in the Bengals, who have the game's biggest concern — the right side of their offensive line. 

Ranking Super Bowl starters
Aaron Donald Los Angeles Rams DE
He might not be just the best player in this game, but in the entire league. He can wreck a game on his own and will be a tough handle for the inside players on the Bengals line.
Jalen Ramsey Los Angeles Rams CB
He is an elite cover player who can match up with Ja'Marr Chase in a lot of one-on-one situations. He has those types of skills.
Cooper Kupp Los Angeles Rams WR
Coming off a season that could win him Offensive Player of the Year honors, he has continued to roll up big numbers and make big plays in the playoffs. His route running is as good as anybody in the league.
Ja'Marr Chase Cincinnati Bengals WR
This rookie has provided the big plays this season for an offense that lives by them. He is tough to stop in any man-cover situations.
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
His cool in the big moments will be vital in this one. His accuracy and ability to navigate the pocket is as good as any young player in the league.
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
He has proved the doubters wrong with his play in the playoffs. He has made the big throws and hit the big shots. This game will define him for the rest of his career.
Trey Hendrickson Cincinnati Bengals DE
This 2021 free-agent signing has proved to be worth the money in his first season. His matchup with Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth will be huge in this game.
Joe Mixon Cincinnati Bengals RB
Mixon can run and catch the ball, with the latter maybe being just as important in this game if it gets loose. He can make big runs when there isn't a lot of push in the run game, which tells how good he is as a runner.
D.J. Reader Cincinnati Bengals NT
If the Bengals defense is to have a big day, they have to get inside pressure from Reader and have him play his usual key role against the run. He is a mismatch against the Rams guards.
Odell Beckham Jr. Los Angeles Rams WR
Since coming to the Rams, he's looked like the Beckham of old, the pre-ACL-tear Beckham. Maybe it was the offense in Cleveland because he's rejuvenated in this system.
Tee Higgins Cincinnati Bengals WR
He isn't Chase, but he's had a heck of a postseason. He sees single coverage a lot more than Chase, which he can take advantage of with his big body.
Von Miller Los Angeles Rams OLB
He started slowly when he first came to the Rams this season, but he's picked up the pace down the stretch. His ability to get pressure off the edge was the perfect complement for this defense.
Sam Hubbard Cincinnati Bengals DE
He plays opposite Hendrickson and gives the Bengals a nice 1-2 punch. They move him around and rush him from different spots, which creates issues for an offensive line.
Chidobe Awuzie Cincinnati Bengals CB
This free-agent signing from 2021 has proven to be a quality cover corner this season as the Bengals best. He's had good games against top receivers like Tyreek Hill, which shows his growth this season.
Tyler Boyd Cincinnati Bengals WR
The third receiver on the Cincinnati roster might play a big role in this game in the slot. He can create real problems for the middle of the Rams defense.
Leonard Floyd Los Angeles Rams OLB
He teams with Von Miller to give the Rams a nice pair of edge rushers. Floyd has the speed to really influence the quarterback, which has to be a concern for the right side of the Bengals line.
Andrew Whitworth Los Angeles Rams OT
The veteran left tackle will be key against Trey Hendrickson in this game. He spent most of his career with the Bengals, so this one will have added meaning.
Jessie Bates Cincinnati Bengals FS
He came into the season off an impressive 2020 season, but he didn't play as well for much of this season. He said he let his contract issues get into his head, but that hasn't been the case in the playoffs. He's been outstanding.
Mike Hilton Cincinnati Bengals CB
This veteran nickel corner has proven to be an important part of the Cincinnati defense in his first season since signing from Pittsburgh as a free agent. He can cover and he's a good at blitzing from the slot.
Greg Gaines Los Angeles Rams NT
Playing on the same line with Aaron Donald really helps the rest of the down players and Gaines takes advantage of that. He's an active inside player next to Donald.
Jonah Williams Cincinnati Bengals OT
The starting left tackle for the Bengals will play an important role in this game against the edge rushers for the Rams. He's been inconsistent in the playoffs, but played well against the Chiefs.
Rob Havenstein Los Angeles Rams OT
The right tackle came into the league as a mauler in the run game, but he's improved in pass protection as well. He gives the Rams a nice 1-2 tackle combination.
Vonn Bell Cincinnati Bengals SS
This veteran safety was a big part of how the Bengals slowed down Patrick Mahomes last week. He's a smart player who has seen a lot in his six seasons, which is why he's improved greatly in coverage this season.
A'Shawn Robinson Los Angeles Rams DE
This 6-4, 320-pound third-year player has emerged as a power run player in their defense. He is coming off a good game last week against the 49ers and should be able to hold up against the run against a weak right side of the Bengals line.
Brian Allen Los Angeles Rams C
He's a smart, heady center who keys their run game with his ability to move in their zone scheme. He isn't great in pass protection, which will be something to watch in this game.
Quinton Spain Cincinnati Bengals OG
This seven-year veteran is a solid player, but he is has had some pass-protection issues this season. He is a solid run blocker.
B.J. Hill Cincinnati Bengals DE
When Larry Ogunjobi went down a few weeks ago, Hill stepped in as the starter and has played just as well. He is known for his run defense, but he's been much better at rushing the passer this season.
Tyler Higbee Los Angeles Rams TE
His status is up in the air for the game after suffering an MCL sprain. But I ranked him in case he does play. His backup, Kendall Blanton, had a good day against the 49ers in the title game, but he would be ranked lower if he played.
Logan Wilson Cincinnati Bengals LB
Early in the season, he looked like he might be on his way to the Pro Bowl. But he had a rough go in the middle part. He has played well the past two weeks.
Eric Weddle Los Angeles Rams FS
This veteran came out of retirement before the playoffs to become a big part of their defense. He was impressive in the victory over the 49ers, getting nine tackles and he was especially good in the run game
Eli Apple Cincinnati Bengals CB
He's a solid corner, who fits perfectly in their defense. He has become a good player in the run game and has matured as a cover player.
Nick Scott Los Angeles Rams SAF
He has gone from a good special-teams player to a big part of their defense in the second half of this season after injuries forced him into the lineup. He's a good tackler who will be key in the run game.
C.J. Uzomah Cincinnati Bengals TE
After injuring his knee early in the title game, his status is uncertain for the Super Bowl. If he plays, he gives them a good additional weapon in the middle of the field. If not, it's Drew Sample,who isn't as good a receiver.
Cam Akers Los Angeles Rams RB
Getting him back after an Achilles' tendon tear this summer is an amazing story. He has done some good things, but he still isn't as explosive yet as he will be next season. Even so, he does have the big-play ability.
Darious Williams Los Angeles Rams CB
He is the other starting corner opposite Jalen Ramsey. Williams had an outstanding 2020 season, but didn't play quite as well this season. He has really come on late in the season to look more like the 2020 version of himself.
Van Jefferson Los Angeles Rams WR
The Rams third receiver is capable of having a big day if the Bengals pay too much attention to Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham. Jefferson has big-play ability.
David Edwards Los Angeles Rams OG
He's a power player who has had some issues in pass protection over the final five weeks. That could show up in this one.
Ernest Jones Los Angeles Rams ILB
This rookie has emerged as a big part of their defense this season. He is an athletic linebacker who can sometimes be too aggressive, but he's cut down on those types of mistakes as the season has moved along.
Austin Corbett Los Angeles Rams OG
He is the weak link on the Rams line. Like fellow guard David Edwards, he has struggled over the final five weeks in pass protection. He was better in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers.
Germaine Pratt Cincinnati Bengals LB
He is a better run player than coverage player, which could make him big against the Rams zone-running scheme. He is a big linebacker at 240 pounds.
Trey Hopkins Cincinnati Bengals C
He is solid in the run game, but he has issues in pass protection. That can be an issue against Aaron Donald and this group of good down players.
Troy Reeder Los Angeles Rams ILB
He struggles at times in coverage, which could be a big problem against the Bengals. He's a decent enough run player, but he can be exploited in the passing game.
David Long Los Angeles Rams DB
He's played solid as their third corner in the postseason and he will be tested against the Bengals three receivers. Long can sometimes have issues with his tackling.
Markus Bailey Cincinnati Bengals LB
He isn't on the field that much since they are in the nickel most of the time. He's played just over 200 snaps this season.
Isaiah Prince Cincinnati Bengals OT
After taking over for Riley Reiff when he went down with an injury, Prince has struggled at times. He has to be able to block Von Miller and Leonard Floyd in this game — or else.
Hakeem Adeniji Cincinnati Bengals OG
He is a major problem on their line and will have his hands full when Aaron Donald is lined up against him. Right guard is an issue.