Now that the wait is over and we know who’s going to the Super Bowl, it’s a little bitter sweet for fans. Let’s face it: the supposed “big” game is rarely all it’s cracked up to be. It’s usually the lead-up to the championship that keeps everyone on their toes.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, although they’ve won 6 Super Bowl titles and have appeared now in 8, are an old-school team, boring and slow on offense with a ground-and-pound approach and a stingy defense that, like usual, is ranked high in the NFL (#1 in 2010 for total YPG).
The Green Bay Packers, led by the now-free-of-Favre’s-shadow Aaron Rodgers, are a more explosive team on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, but yet they’re still not the sexy choice for NFC representatives.
It is what it is, however, and while this isn’t a Drew Bress vs. Peyton Manning rematch, or even a Tom Brady vs. Matt Ryan showdown, Big Ben and Mr. Rodgers are certainly nothing to sneeze at. Sure, it’s not that great on paper. No one expects the over to exceed around 35. But with these teams in this atmosphere, we might just see the best Super Bowl in a long, long time.
Currently, the Green Bay Packers are favored by about a field goal universally. Of course, betting on football—especially the Super Bowl—isn’t like betting on online blackjack games. Nothing’s set in stone, nothing’s quantifiable; it’s all up for grabs. Even still, that’s a fairly safe bet as we see it.
Pittsburgh’s run defense is monstrous, stuffing everyone, but it’s also exploitable by way of play action and an ironically Roethlisberger-like mobile quarterback, ala Aaron Rodgers.
One thing neither the Ravens nor the Jets had was a playmaker at the QB position. Sanchez and Flacco are both pretty good pocket passers, but their ability to extend a play is about as good as that can of Crystal Pepsi you have in the basement. Rodgers, on the other hand, was second only to Michael Vick in rushing yards from the helm, and he has put the belt on all season long with rushing TD after rushing TD.
The Steelers are exploitable here because they’re not fast enough to cover all the bases. They will stuff the run, surely, but quick slants, deep outs, broken plays, and potential third down conversions all work in the Packers’ favor due to the type of dynamic, switch-‘em-up O they bring with them to Cowboys Stadium.
The game should remain very close, however, as the Steelers’ offense is definitely not a pushover. We all bore witness to what Rashard Mendenhall did to the third-ranked defense in the league, the New York Jets (Just Envy the Steelers?), and Big Ben can also turn broken plays into sandlot football and pick up key yardage in tough situations.
Many feel as if this game is a toss-up, the proverbial roll of the dice or a spin on the no download slots reel. But just like Pittsburgh did to the Jets in the first half, the Green Bay Packers should be able to dominate time of possession and keep the Steelers off the field.
Other than a forced throw in Chicago that resulted in an Urlacher INT, Rodgers has been playing out of his mind. Roethlisberger, conversely, threw 2 INTs vs. the Jets and should have thrown 4 to 6, and he wasn’t exactly Troy Aikman in his previous playoff game against the Ravens.
In the first half with the Ravens and the second half with the Jets, the Steelers were only on the field physically. Their spirits were in the locker room or off somewhere trying to send Jenn Sterger photos of their junk.
When Super Sunday rolls around, the Steelers will need to play all 60 minutes – something they’re not really accustomed to, whereas Green Bay has yet to take a down off all postseason.
When it’s all said and done, the Packers can keep the ball away from the Steelers and hold on to a lead late. True, Pittsburgh is going to score on Green Bay’s defense. They can’t match the Steelers’ physicality. But the object of the game isn’t to score; it’s to score more than your opponent.
This is something that the Steelers will fail to do, and we predict that the final score will be Green Bay 30 and Pittsburgh 24 – covering the spread but still a great game that comes down to some fourth quarter heroics.