Super Bowl Predictions: Steelers vs. Packers
It’s amazing, is it not? Just think back to September, Week 1, when all teams were even, we thought the Cincinnati Bengals were a good team and the New Orleans Saints were the reigning Super Bowl champions. Well, now our view of the NFL is a bit different, and rightfully so. This year’s Super Bowl features two quarterbacks that everybody knew coming into the season, but nobody was daring enough to call either of these guys the best at their position.
Well, the best at the quarterback position just might be what’s on the line here in the 2011 Super Bowl. As good as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are, they have combined to lose their last four playoff games. If Green Bay wins this Sunday, Aaron Rodgers will have won four games this postseason alone. And if Ben Roethlisberger wins, he’ll have three.
So which team comes out on top, and which quarterback gets to hoist himself up as perhaps the best quarterback in the game today? Here is our NFL 2010-2011 Super Bowl prediction!
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
When the Steelers have the ball: The Steelers don’t have to be creative against the Packers in this game, because they should be able to run the football. Granted, the Packers did a good job of stopping the run in their first two postseason games, but against the Chicago Bears, Matt Forte was quite efficient on the ground. The Steelers are also coming off a week in which they dominated the New York Jets front seven and had over 100 rushing yards in the first half of the game.
However, when it comes to passing the ball, things might get a little tricky. The Green Bay Packers were one of the best teams in the league against the pass, and Charles Woodson and Sam Shields are playing unbelievable football in the secondary. Roethlisberger will have to get used to checking the ball down and making the Packers defense come up and make tackles. Thus, I highly doubt this year’s Super Bowl will be the high-scoring affair it was when the Steelers were last in the Super Bowl. But with the running game working efficiently, the Steelers will move the chains and will open up the game to take some shots down the field to Mike Wallace. I don’t expect a lot out of the Steelers offensively, but it should be more than enough to win this game with a decent effort from the defense.
When the Packers have the ball: Expect a lot of passing. I know all the talk this postseason has been about how much the Green Bay Packers would prefer to run the ball if they had the personnel, but against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the personnel is definitely lacking. I don’t care who’s at running back for the Packers, that offensive line will not make a whole lot of running lanes against this Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
Thus, here’s the question: Can Aaron Rodgers, considered the hottest player in the league right now, perform at the highest levels when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the pass against a one-dimensional offense?
Well, there are two theories to that. On the one had, the Steelers are not very good on the outside. Yes, they have a tremendous defense, but they haven’t had a cornerback go to the Pro Bowl since Rod Woodson played for them in the 1990’s, and the team’s cornerbacks are average at best. Rodgers is excellent at throwing the ball outside the hashes, where the Steelers safeties and linebackers are less likely to provide any support. As we saw when the Jets connected on a long throw to Santonio Holmes in the AFC Championship game, the Steelers cornerbacks cannot be trusted in single coverage, and if Rodgers catches them in single coverage enough times, it’s probably going to be lights out for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On the other hand, if the Steelers are in single coverage, they will also probably be blitzing. The Steelers are the master of the blitz, and against this Packers offensive line, things could get ugly for Rodgers. Not to mention, Rodgers didn’t look to good against the Bears rush in the second half to the game. They forced him into some bad throws. If the Steelers pressure can do the same thing, Rodgers may not be as effective as we are expecting him to be. And if the Steelers shut down the running game of the Packers, as we expect them to, an ineffective Rodgers will cost the Steelers the Super Bowl. In fact, we think that’s what will happen. As good as Rodgers has been, when he faced a team with a dominant edge rusher and took some shots, he looked beatable. The Steelers have two dominant edge rushers in Lamar Woodley and James Harrison, and I expect them both to be in Rodgers face all day.
Super Bowl Prediction: Steelers win, 20-14
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