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Super Bowl XLV: Dream Match-up

by admin February 5, 2011

Super Bowl XLV: Dream Match-up

by admin February 5, 2011
The stage is set for Super Bowl XLV in Dallas on Sunday night. Pittsburgh versus Green Bay. Steeler Nation squaring off against the Cheeseheads. Black and Yellow vs. Green and Yellow. Two of the most storied franchises in pro football from two blue-collar cities bashing helmets with everything on the line. There are over 100,000 seats in Cowboy stadium, but there’s not going to be nearly enough tickets for everyone who’ll want to see this game play out. That place will be rocking Sunday night.

The Packers come into the game as two and a half point favourites, which is questionable considering they are the number six seed in the NFC. However, they are definitely playing more like a number one seed so far this postseason. Green Bay looks to be a team of destiny much like the 2007 New York Giants who also were a number six seed, winning three road games before handing the heavily favoured and previously undefeated Patriots a stunning 17-14 loss.

Even people who couldn’t care less about sports have reason to be excited. Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday that means tasty food, crazy parties and entertaining TV commercials. Furthermore, Christina Aguilera will sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” prior to kickoff and Black Eyed Peas will perform the half-time show.

There are a multitude of reasons why this game is so hyped. It is partly because of the history behind the matchup, partly because of the two big-time quarterbacks, partly because of the battle between two incredible defensive players with long hair going toe-to-toe (Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu), and finally, just because it is the Super Bowl.

But what people may forget is the adversity each team had to battle to get to the big game. Green Bay was riddled with injuries all season long. The Packers led all NFL teams this year with 15 players on injured reserve. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers also missed a couple of games after suffering two separate concussions. Sitting at 8-6 following a loss to New England, the Packers had to win their final two games to even make the postseason. They did just that in the dismantling of the Giants at home 45-17 and then took care of the rival 10-3 Bears in a defensive struggle. The Packers got hot at just the right time and have come up huge in their last five must-win games.

Pittsburgh didn’t have the injury bug like Green Bay did, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after two separate sexual assault allegations. People were counting the Steelers out &- they had missed the playoffs last year, lost their quarterback for the first four games, and parted ways with Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes. However, the Steelers never really struggled the way people had expected them to, going 3-1 without Roethlisberger and finishing off the regular season 12-4 with Big Ben showing no rust whatsoever.

Roethlisberger will be looking for his third Super Bowl ring and to cement himself as a Hall-of-Fame candidate. Rodgers will be looking for his first, but also will be looking to finally step out of the shadow of his predecessor Brett Favre. If he can lead the Pack to the promised land, memories of Favre will rapidly fade.

Since the beginning of the Super Bowl era, there has never been a match-up with such history. The Green Bay Packers were formed in 1919 and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933 (renamed the Steelers in 1940). Never has there been a Super Bowl featuring teams with as many Super Bowl titles (Pittsburgh 6, Green Bay 3). The Packers will be looking to bring the Lombardi trophy back home, where it belongs, while the Steelers will be looking to win their seventh Super Bowl and third in seven years with number seven taking the snaps.

What more can you ask for? Super Bowl XLV is drenched with history, and many fans would walk a thousand miles just to see these two teams go at it with everything on the line.

Keys to the game

Whoever they play, I always like the chances of that potent Packer passing attack. In this game, Aaron Rodgers and his receiving corps will have to be at their peak because you already know they won’t be able to run it very effectively against that smothering run-defence of the Steelers. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley will have to be contained if the Packers offence is to be successful, and I think they will be, for the most part.

Furthermore, I actually like the matchup with the Steelers defensive secondary. I believe the Packer receiving corps has a decisive advantage over the Steelers secondary. Whether it is Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones or Jordy Nelson, Rodgers will find one of those guys open and with that rocket-arm, will be able to get it to them.

Another advantage for the Packer offence: the game will be played indoors. This gives the Packers a chance to attack the Steelers defence vertically down the field. You always hear about running to set up the pass, but in this case, the Packers might have to pass to set up the run. Rodgers just has to be smart with the football as he has been all year long.

Keep in mind that even though the Packers were second in points allowed this season, the team ranked above them was, you guessed it, the Steelers. If rising star James Starks can keep up the fine work he has displayed thus far in this postseason and generate any kind of running game, I don’t see Rodgers and the Pack having any problem putting up points.

It will be interesting to see how the Packers’ defence measures up to the Steeler offence. Rashard Mendenhall has been an absolute beast this year and was a big reason why the Steelers were able to knock off the Jets in the AFC Championship. If the Packers do have a question mark on defence, it will be how well they can contain Mendenhall. If they can stop the run, this will put an awful lot of pressure on Big Ben. But with the emergence of deep threat receiver Mike Wallace, reliable big target Heath Miller and rookie wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, this offence is still a very dangerous bunch.

The last time these two teams met was last year in week 15. In what was voted as the fourth best game of the 2009-2010 season by Yahoo Sports, the Steelers drove the length of the field in the final two minutes and capped a wild shootout win 37-36 with Mike Wallace catching a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired.

But that was then; this is now.

The Packers’ secondary has had an awesome season and will be doing everything in their power to not let Roethlisberger carve them up once again. In Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and rookie Sam Shields, Green Bay arguably boasts the best cornerback tandem in the NFL now. Not to mention Pro Bowl ball-hawking safety Nick Collins is also back there. Oh, and I almost forgot, Clay Matthews is playing linebacker and he will make a game-changing play at some point in this game.

The two things that may be a disadvantage for the Pack is their lack of big game experience and also the fact that they are the youngest team in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, you have the Steelers, calm and poised, having been there twice since 2005.

Roethlisberger may not have the best stats, but he does an excellent job of extending plays like no other and just wins games. That won’t matter come Sunday night, as Dallas will become Mr. Rodgers’ neighbourhood for the night.

Young players have stepped up all season for the Packers and have played incredibly well in the postseason. Can players like Williams, Starks, Shields, Erik Walden, B.J. Raji and other young players continue to perform at the level they have been recently when the stakes are as high as they can get? If they do, I really like the Packers to bring home the Lombardi trophy.

Prediction: Packers 31, Steelers 26. Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers

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The stage is set for Super Bowl XLV in Dallas on Sunday night. Pittsburgh versus Green Bay. Steeler Nation squaring off against the Cheeseheads. Black and Yellow vs. Green and Yellow. Two of the most storied franchises in pro football from two blue-collar cities bashing helmets with everything on the line. There are over 100,000 seats in Cowboy stadium, but there’s not going to be nearly enough tickets for everyone who’ll want to see this game play out. That place will be rocking Sunday night.

The Packers come into the game as two and a half point favourites, which is questionable considering they are the number six seed in the NFC. However, they are definitely playing more like a number one seed so far this postseason. Green Bay looks to be a team of destiny much like the 2007 New York Giants who also were a number six seed, winning three road games before handing the heavily favoured and previously undefeated Patriots a stunning 17-14 loss.

Even people who couldn’t care less about sports have reason to be excited. Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday that means tasty food, crazy parties and entertaining TV commercials. Furthermore, Christina Aguilera will sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” prior to kickoff and Black Eyed Peas will perform the half-time show.

There are a multitude of reasons why this game is so hyped. It is partly because of the history behind the matchup, partly because of the two big-time quarterbacks, partly because of the battle between two incredible defensive players with long hair going toe-to-toe (Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu), and finally, just because it is the Super Bowl.

But what people may forget is the adversity each team had to battle to get to the big game. Green Bay was riddled with injuries all season long. The Packers led all NFL teams this year with 15 players on injured reserve. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers also missed a couple of games after suffering two separate concussions. Sitting at 8-6 following a loss to New England, the Packers had to win their final two games to even make the postseason. They did just that in the dismantling of the Giants at home 45-17 and then took care of the rival 10-3 Bears in a defensive struggle. The Packers got hot at just the right time and have come up huge in their last five must-win games.

Pittsburgh didn’t have the injury bug like Green Bay did, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after two separate sexual assault allegations. People were counting the Steelers out &- they had missed the playoffs last year, lost their quarterback for the first four games, and parted ways with Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes. However, the Steelers never really struggled the way people had expected them to, going 3-1 without Roethlisberger and finishing off the regular season 12-4 with Big Ben showing no rust whatsoever.

Roethlisberger will be looking for his third Super Bowl ring and to cement himself as a Hall-of-Fame candidate. Rodgers will be looking for his first, but also will be looking to finally step out of the shadow of his predecessor Brett Favre. If he can lead the Pack to the promised land, memories of Favre will rapidly fade.

Since the beginning of the Super Bowl era, there has never been a match-up with such history. The Green Bay Packers were formed in 1919 and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933 (renamed the Steelers in 1940). Never has there been a Super Bowl featuring teams with as many Super Bowl titles (Pittsburgh 6, Green Bay 3). The Packers will be looking to bring the Lombardi trophy back home, where it belongs, while the Steelers will be looking to win their seventh Super Bowl and third in seven years with number seven taking the snaps.

What more can you ask for? Super Bowl XLV is drenched with history, and many fans would walk a thousand miles just to see these two teams go at it with everything on the line.

Keys to the game

Whoever they play, I always like the chances of that potent Packer passing attack. In this game, Aaron Rodgers and his receiving corps will have to be at their peak because you already know they won’t be able to run it very effectively against that smothering run-defence of the Steelers. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley will have to be contained if the Packers offence is to be successful, and I think they will be, for the most part.

Furthermore, I actually like the matchup with the Steelers defensive secondary. I believe the Packer receiving corps has a decisive advantage over the Steelers secondary. Whether it is Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones or Jordy Nelson, Rodgers will find one of those guys open and with that rocket-arm, will be able to get it to them.

Another advantage for the Packer offence: the game will be played indoors. This gives the Packers a chance to attack the Steelers defence vertically down the field. You always hear about running to set up the pass, but in this case, the Packers might have to pass to set up the run. Rodgers just has to be smart with the football as he has been all year long.

Keep in mind that even though the Packers were second in points allowed this season, the team ranked above them was, you guessed it, the Steelers. If rising star James Starks can keep up the fine work he has displayed thus far in this postseason and generate any kind of running game, I don’t see Rodgers and the Pack having any problem putting up points.

It will be interesting to see how the Packers’ defence measures up to the Steeler offence. Rashard Mendenhall has been an absolute beast this year and was a big reason why the Steelers were able to knock off the Jets in the AFC Championship. If the Packers do have a question mark on defence, it will be how well they can contain Mendenhall. If they can stop the run, this will put an awful lot of pressure on Big Ben. But with the emergence of deep threat receiver Mike Wallace, reliable big target Heath Miller and rookie wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, this offence is still a very dangerous bunch.

The last time these two teams met was last year in week 15. In what was voted as the fourth best game of the 2009-2010 season by Yahoo Sports, the Steelers drove the length of the field in the final two minutes and capped a wild shootout win 37-36 with Mike Wallace catching a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired.

But that was then; this is now.

The Packers’ secondary has had an awesome season and will be doing everything in their power to not let Roethlisberger carve them up once again. In Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and rookie Sam Shields, Green Bay arguably boasts the best cornerback tandem in the NFL now. Not to mention Pro Bowl ball-hawking safety Nick Collins is also back there. Oh, and I almost forgot, Clay Matthews is playing linebacker and he will make a game-changing play at some point in this game.

The two things that may be a disadvantage for the Pack is their lack of big game experience and also the fact that they are the youngest team in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, you have the Steelers, calm and poised, having been there twice since 2005.

Roethlisberger may not have the best stats, but he does an excellent job of extending plays like no other and just wins games. That won’t matter come Sunday night, as Dallas will become Mr. Rodgers’ neighbourhood for the night.

Young players have stepped up all season for the Packers and have played incredibly well in the postseason. Can players like Williams, Starks, Shields, Erik Walden, B.J. Raji and other young players continue to perform at the level they have been recently when the stakes are as high as they can get? If they do, I really like the Packers to bring home the Lombardi trophy.

Prediction: Packers 31, Steelers 26. Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers

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