Super Bowl LVI is approaching on Sunday and a lot of the football world's eyes will be on the top stars taking the field at SoFi Stadium. The Cincinnati Bengals have arrived at the NFL's 2021-22 finale thanks to the play of their best players like Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, so they'll be counted on to deliver one more time.
However, history has shown that sometimes it's the unlikeliest heroes who step up at the Super Bowl to deliver their team a championship. Only time will tell if that'll be the case against this Sunday.
Here's a look at three under-the-radar Bengals players that could end up deciding Super Bowl LVI.
3 Bengals Who Could Decide Super Bowl 56
1. Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver
The Bengals have proven that they can have one of the most dangerous aerial attacks on any given night, which is why the Los Angeles Rams will likely keep a close eye on Chase and Tee Higgins. That puts veteran wideout Tyler Boyd in a position where he can be an unlikely hero. The 27-year-old has been relatively quiet this postseason, catching 10-of-14 targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. That's underwhelming considering how he's averaged 52.5 receiving yards per game throughout his career. With the spotlight on Cincinnati's other top wide receivers, Boyd needs to come up big at Super Bowl LVI. If he does, he could be treated as a hero in the city for years to come.
2. Hakeem Adeniji, Offensive Guard
The Bengals offensive line hasn't protected Burrow too well this season, proven by his combined 63 sacks across the regular season and playoffs. That's why it'll be important for second-year offensive guard Hakeem Adeniji to have the game of his life on Sunday. Adeniji split playing time on the right side with Jackson Carman in the AFC Championship Game, but the latter is questionable for Super Bowl LVI with an injury. The Bengals will be dealing with an onslaught from the likes of Aaron Donald and Von Miller, which is why Adeniji must be at the top of his game. Protecting Burrow to the best of his ability will give Cincinnati its best shot at winning a championship.
3. Mike Hilton, Cornerback
Most casual fans probably aren't familiar with Mike Hilton, but that could all change after Super Bowl LVI. The 27-year-old cornerback will likely draw the task of covering Kupp on Sunday, meaning he'll need to do everything he can to slow down the NFL's top wide receiver. Fortunately, Hilton has had success covering the dangerous pass-catcher in the past. As a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019, Hilton held Kupp to zero catches on four targets. The latter has taken his game to another level since then, but stranger things have happened. If Hilton can make lightning strike twice, he could certainly wind up deciding Super Bowl LVI.
Bet $5 to win $280 on either team to win Super Bowl 56!