As a huge Tennessee Titans fan it sucks not having your team to cheer for on Superbowl Sunday, however I do find some comfort in the fact that there are 30 other teams fans that are in the same boat. In looking at the Vegas line for Superbowl XLV in the billion dollar Cowboy Stadium, I was initially surprised to see that the Green Bay Packers are -2.5 favourites. I mean the Pittsburgh Steelers have won an NFL record 6 Superbowls and have suffered just one loss. (’75, ’76, ’79, ’80, ’06, and ’09) Well let me break it down for you…
Let’s start out by taking a look at the Green Bay Packers. They clearly had the more difficult route to arrive for SB XLV. Often playing amid freezing temperatures and high winds, the Packers have thus far ruined the New York Giants playoff chances, eliminate the resurgent Michael Vick and his Philadelphia Eagles on their own turf, shattered what was poised to be the greatest season the Atlanta Falcons had ever had and make rabid Bears fans whimper in there over priced seats by destroying Cutler and company with great ease in their own backyard.
Then there are the Pittsburgh Steelers who have been their usual hard working selves all season long. They started the season without Roethlisberger for the first four games where they went 3-1 and then muscled their way to a 12-4 record to earn a first round bye in the playoffs. In their two playoff games thus far they have yet to play a full 4 quarters of football. Against the Ravens they found themselves down 21-7 at halftime but managed to claw their way back to victory in the second half. Then after building a huge lead against the streaking Jets they almost blew it late in the game.
Roelisberger does not seem 100%. His 35.5 QB rating in his last game is a good sign of that. Rodgers on the other hand is HOT, healthy, focused and set to be one of the fastest ever replacements for a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett Farve. Mr Rodgers currently has the best all time career QB rating EVER at 98.4! He’s better than any of the great NFL quarterbacks you can name in this statistical category.
The game will see many great match ups.
Rashard “Strong like Tractor” Mendenhall who was huge in the game against the Jets vs. James “The Rookie” Stark who has shown some serious promise but will be in tough against the Steel Curtain. I will give the Steelers the edge on this one.
The Steeler’s receiving corps is fairly limited with Hines Ward and Mike Wallace carrying the lions share of the load but on the other side of the ball Rodgers has a number of targets that he loves to spread things around to with Driver, Jones, Jennings and Nelson. Troy “Head and Shoulders” Polamalu can’t be everywhere!
Speaking of Polamalu, both secondaries will be busy. Troy is a beast. There is no denying that but with the double threat of Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson don’t be surprised to see an INT or two on both sides of the ball. It will come down to who makes the most of them when they get them.
Kickers often play a big role in a close game as this one should turn out to be. The Packers definitely have the better kicker in Mason Crosby. He’s definitely more experienced than Shaun Suisham, the Steelers’ replacement for Jeff Reed, and if either team has to go for a long field goal to win the game Crosby gives Green Bay a better chance.
Defensive Lines are a dead heat. With Clay Matthews and AJ Hawk going after Roethlisberger and James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons with Rodgers in their sights both QBs are gonna see themselves flushed out of the pocket. I think both QBs will be on the run in this game for sure.
The final element, when it comes to Superbowl, is that X-Factor know as, “The Intangibles”. They are the surprising heroes, the young rookies that make key plays, the quiet guy playing the game of his life, injuries, whacky calls from the sideline and a long list of other unpredictable events. In many ways is will just come down to who wants it more and if recent play is the best indicator, I gotta give it to Green Bay for the first time since 1997! After all… Black and Gold is Getting Old.
Update Feb 7th/11
TOLD YA SO!