Super Bowl XLV: A classic match-up
Green Bay sends them ‘Packin’
After the 2011 NFL Playoff Championship round, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers emerged triumphant above all the rest eager to represent their cities in a head-to-head battle to claim the identity of champions.
Although both teams are heavy-weights in terms of popularity, the ability of Green Bay’s wide-outs is among the best in the league.
With concrete receivers on the turf surface and quarterback Aaron Rodgers there is without doubt an unfair advantage on at least one side of the ball. At his best inside the dome, Green Bay’s quarterback Rodgers’s patience with the ball and game-winning drives will assist in unravelling and exposing Pittsburgh’s secondary.
If they can gain an early lead, Green Bay can initiate a vertical offensive strategy, mixing power running and deep passing where they can dominate the remaining quarters.
By rushing deep into Pittsburgh’s end without warning, Green Bay can tactically eat the clock while utilizing control of the ground game by running and pushing the ball up the middle.
Due to the rash of injuries that have fallen upon Steelers difference-making players such as rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and pro bowl safety Troy Polamalu it is debatable whether Pittsburgh can put together a complete game against the Packers.
A subtle but undeniable tactic that Green Bay employs on their competition is their ability to create turnovers by tackling the ball carrier and stripping the ball, spoiling their opponent’s confidence offensively. Although Green Bay and Pittsburgh both hold strength in their defensive foundation, the Packers punter Tim Masthay has shown to be a valuable commodity, jeopardizing the Steelers potential opportunities by operating to pin the Steelers in their own end zone.
The Packers are facing off with Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl because they have earned their spot through hard work and dedication, not through chance.
Although the Steelers may win their “stairway to seven” Super Bowl eventually, the Packers have materialized into a resilient contender threatening to pierce through the steel curtain.
Prediction: Packers 21, Steelers 14
‘Steel curtain’ impenetrable
Next Sunday, two of the most storied franchises in North American sports will meet on the world’s biggest stage for football supremacy.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been here a lot,, going back to 2006, they have won two Lombardi trophies.
The Packers on the other hand, have not won it all since 1996 when Brett Favre was in his prime and not stalking New York Jet employees. Now this is Aaron Rodgers’s team and he has taken full advantage.
The main matchup to watch in this game will be the Steelers dominant defence and their attempt to at least slow down the Packers explosive offence that lives through Rodgers and their passing game.
There is no way that Green Bay will be able to run the ball against the front seven of Pittsburgh. The Steelers allowed an unparalleled 62 rushing yards per game in the regular season, while Green Bay barely had a run game and would abandon it early in games.
The Steelers on the other hand, had one of the best rushing attacks in the league this year, being in the top 10 in all major categories. Green Bay’s rush defence is their weakness, allowing 4.7 yards per carry.
Come Sunday, if the Steelers run the ball effectively, they will keep Green Bay’s potent offence off the field and keep points off the board.
In terms of offence, the Packers put up 358 yards per game, with the Steelers averaging just 13 yards less. The Packers only averaged one more point a game offensively, so in that category, it’s pretty much a draw.
The difference on the defensive side of the ball is also very small, with the Steelers defence averaging exactly one point less a game.
In order for the Steelers to pull out a victory, they will need to be able to stop the Packers spread offence and Reshard Mendenhall will need another big game on the ground.
One way the Steelers can try and stop the Pack is by generating a pass rush and forcing the always-efficient Rodgers to become uncomfortable. The game in which Rodgers was at his worst this season was against the Jets, who were able to put him on the ground consistently and early, getting an outside pass rush via their 3-4 defence.
James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley combined for 20.5 sacks this season, and should be able to get around Chad Clifton and rookie Bryan Bulaga.
Both coaching staffs have brilliant defensive coordinators in Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau and they share the same philosophy: get after the opposing team’s quarterback and not let passers get comfortable.
I believe the Steelers will be able to run the ball and keep the Packers offence off the field, I pick the Steelers in a very close and entertaining game.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Packers 24
Cord staff picks
Elizabeth Bate, Cord Sports
Kevin Campbell, Staff Writer
Justin Fauteux, Sports Editor
Eric Merkley, Opinion Editor
Jamie Neugebauer, Staff Writer
Alanna Wallace, Editor-In-Chief
Tyler Warry, Cord Sports