On February 6th, in Dallas, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will showdown for the title of ‘World Champions’ until the next time a Super Bowl is played. With the imposing lockout, the Super Bowl may not be played next year as scheduled. However, we should focus on this Super Bowl before worrying about next year.
Aaron Rodgers has been almost unstoppable lately. In the playoffs this year, he has thrown for six touchdowns, ran for two, and only two interceptions. The Packers’ receivers have been appearing out of nowhere for Rodgers to throw to. They aren’t well-known receivers like Reggie Wayne, but it is nearly impossible for secondaries to cover all of Rodgers’ weapons. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and James Jones are his main targets and the defense will have a hard enough time taking these away. Even if they do take these away, Rodgers will throw to his other receivers like Andrew Quarless or Jordy Nelson.
In the playoffs, James Starks has ignited the running game which was a nice compliment to Aaron Rodgers’ explosive arm. However, the Steelers defense will not allow James Starks to have any impact on the game at all. Pittsburgh’s defense is not to be ran against and this year have held opponents to very few rushing yards. Eliminating Starks, the Steelers will force Rodgers to beat them with his arm, which is nothing less than lethal.
Although Ben Roethlisberger isn’t as much of a pocket passer as Rodgers, I think Ben has a slight edge because of his ability to extend the play and he will not take a sack easily. Also, Ben has two rings already. The latest one came with a game winning drive and touchdown pass to take the lead with only 43 seconds left on the clock.
Pittsburgh’s receiving core doesn’t have quite the depth that Rodgers has to work with, but they have some young receivers that have come together late in the season. Antonio Brown has had two key catches in back-to-back playoff games that have led the Steelers to victory. One came against the Baltimore Ravens on a 3rd down with 19 yards to go. Ben unloaded the ball deep down field and Brown caught it on his helmet. The other one came a week later against the Jets in the AFC Championship Game. Also on a 3rd down, this time with only 6 yards to go, Brown was initially held up at the line of scrimmage. He made his away across the field where Ben found him for a first down to seal the victory.
The Packers’ secondary, in my opinion, is the best in the league. Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams will limit the touches of Hines Ward, but Mike Wallace could be able to get deeper than the corners for a big play. In addition, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Heath Miller could be able to have a lot of catches because of the matchup with the Packers’ linebackers. Overall, I believe that although the Steelers’ leading receivers will not have big games, the secondary receivers have the potential for a huge game.
Rashard Mendenhall turned into a beast against the Jets, making a mockery of their “high-end” run defense. He ran over defenders like a bowling ball does to pins. Green Bay’s run defense, although solid, is not as good as the Steelers’ front seven and will be vulnerable to some decent chunks of yardage.
In conclusion, the Packers will be forced to throw it a lot early and the Steelers can have relatively easy success against the Packers’ defense. These two factors are why I think the winner of the Super Bowl will be…6-time Super Bowl Champs…the owner of the Steel Curtain…the Pittsburgh Steelers.