The Green Bay Packers vs The Pittsburgh Steelers
The day all NFL fans have been waiting for has finally arrived. Today Superbowl XLV will be played in Dallas, Texas’ newest billion-dollar attraction, Cowboys Stadium. While getting to the stadium could get dicey with freezing rain predicted in the evening, once inside the fans and players will be comfortable in the climate controlled environment of one of the most glamorous sports venues ever created .
Pregame shows will start at the crack dawn and run right up to the big game for hardcore NFL fans eagerly awaiting the crowning of a new champion, while at the same time hating to see the season come to an end. This off-season has fans and players alike uneasy, as the NFL and the NFLPA ( National Football Players Association) are in tough negotiations, which, if not resolved could lead to a strike interrupting next season. Lets move forward towards today’s big game annalysis, and check out the festivities.
The halftime show will feature the multi-talented group, The Black-Eyed Peas, and it has been rumored to include a surprise appearance on stage with them by 2 Rock n Roll legends. Last years halftime show was watched by an incredible 153 million Americans, not to mention the worldwide attention it garners. This is the biggest day in sports, bar none. The glitz and glamour of the superbowl will be over the top as always, but this is the NFL Championship game, and history will be made today. Lets take a look at the teams, and then I will give you my “conservative” predicition.
Both the Packers and Steelers were picked by many to be in the Superbowl, yet both teams looked anything but super at times during the season. The Packers were ravaged with injuries that left them without their starting running back and tight end along with half their starting defense for pretty much the whole season. Aaron Rogers brilliant season, the emergence of a running game, and reserve players stepping up to rejuvenate their defense helped the Packers recover from a disasatrous stretch during mid-season and make the playoffs as a wildcard team. The Steelers started off without their starting QB for 4 games, ( which they won 3 of) and while their defense was pretty much stifling oppopnents all season long, their offense seemed to be no more than mediocre at times. This game has all the makings for a historic clash of titans on the biggest stage ever. Both teams also match up very well, with both defenses ranked near the top, and both QB’s being young future hall of famers.
When the Steelers have the ball, they should have the advantage in the running game with Rashard Mendenhall a bruising runner with very deceptive speed. The Packers counter this with a stout run defense and rookie Clay Mathews constant backfield pressure and speed. Packers defensive coordinator Dom Caper’s blitz packages will be key to slowing down the Steelers passing game. Pittsburgh QB Big Ben Roethlisberger has had a steady season where he has proven time and time again that he can find a way to win in big games. The Packers were 2nd in the league with 47 sacks.
When the Packers have the ball, they will rely on QB Aaron Rogers laser arm and quick passing attack to thart the dangerous Steelers pass rush. The Steelers linebackers are among the fastest in the league, led by James harrison and a league leading total of 48 sacks. The Packers will try to slow down the Steelers pass rush with a steady diet of emerging star rookie RB James Starks running the ball. The Packers have a slight advantage in the passing game, with Greg Jennings always a deep threat and complimented by 4 other young emerging recieving stars. Steelers superstar safety troy Polamalu always seems to be in the right place at the right time with 7 ints this season. If Rogers has the time he will pick the Steelers apart with the mid-passing attack. The Steelers need to keep someone in place to spy on Rogers , as he is very capable of trucking the ball and running for huge chunks of yardage at critical times.
This game could very well come down to special teams match-ups with two evenly matched teams on offense and defense. The Packers Mason Crosby hit 2 field goals over 50 yards this season while the Steelers Shaun Suisham was 8 of 9 form 40-49 yeards with no field goals over 50 yards. In the punting game Pittsburgh’s Sepulveda had a slightly better average while the Packer’s Mashay had 25 kicks downs inside the 20 yard line. No clear advantage here, unless it comes down to a game winning field goal try from over 50 yards where Crosby has a slight advantage. In the punt return game, Pittsburgh should have a slight advantage with Sanders returning punts vs whoever the Packers send out there.
Enjoy your Superbowl Sunday and thanks for checking out the new CDN Sports page. My prediction: Packers 34 – Steelers 27.