05
Feb
11

Super Bowl 45: A Preview

As I write this post, I am sitting at O’Hare International Airport awaiting my flight to Pittsburgh for the big game. So yes, up front, I’m taking the Steelers to win tomorrow (and feel that I’m remaining as unbiased as possible in that selection). I’ve taken the past two weeks off this sports blog for two reasons: 1)  to try to wrap my head around what is sure to be a legendary Super Bowl and 2) I’ve also started another pr blog with some friends of mine which has required a little more attention (Ok shameless self promotion complete.) Let’s let’s get right down to it:

Steelers 24-20 over the Green Bay Packers.

I’m going to go with Pittsburgh for a few reasons. The first being that this team has experience and has worked together through adversity at various times throughout the year. They scraped together a 3-1 record in their first four wins, had an amazing comeback against the Ravens twice and scooted their way to a 12-4 record. And true, it wasn’t always pretty. The defense has, much like any other year, been the glue that has held the Steelers together–headed by AP Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu. But with a defense like this, you don’t need your offense scoring 30 points a game.

I think that the Steelers will benefit from their multiple offensive weapons–Mendenhall (who has developed into a work-horse for team), Wallace (who is the fastest receiver in the NFL), Ward and Miller (who make huge plays in the clutch–if not as often as they used to) are the usual suspects, but the Steelers have done a great job of incorporating rookies Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders into the mix. These two additions to the offense have proven that they can make the big plays when necessary in play-off games and give Ben two more weapons to utilize on offense–it’s impossible to cover EVERYBODY that Ben may be able to get the ball off to. That is, if he decides to hand the ball off at all. Ben has become an increasingly mobile quarterback (a necessity since our O-line is depleted) and has no problem scrambling for first downs.

And yes, Green Bay is a good team. Aaron Rodgers is a good QB, Clay Matthews is a beast, Tramon Williams is clutch and Jordy Nelson has been on fire lately. In my opinion, the Steelers have a player that matches toe for toe with every one of them (Roethlisberger, Polamalu, Clark and Miller) not to mention Harrison, Woodley, and Wallace. Yes, I worry about our pass protection and our secondary–and Aaron Rodgers has an ungodly amount of 20+ yard completions this post-season. I mean really it’s ridiculous. And yes, I’m slightly uncomfortable about the state of our offensive line–especially with the loss of key center Maurkice Pouncey. But I’m not scared of the Packers in the slightest. I think they are an absolutely beatable team. They beat up on NFC fools and let’s not forget that they couldn’t exactly close out the NFC Championship against a third string QB in Chicago. The ONLY difference in that game was an understandable pick six by an unexpecting BJ Raji to preserve the lead. The Packers struggled against a Bears defense that is similar to Pittsburgh–except that Pittsburgh’s is better. Yes, I expect them to get burned once by the long-ball but I also expect defensive genius Dick Lebeau to be able to adjust.

Roethlisberger has Super Bowl experience and is a proven leader for his team (if you want my personal take on him in general, check out a great read on 15 Minutes Blog that features a variety of blogger opinions on the subject) and is unlikely to choke–in fact, I expect this to be his best Super Bowl performance to date (and God help us if it’s worse than his first Super Bowl performance.) I don’t think Aaron Rodgers will choke either–but expect nerves to get to him the first quarter before he settles down.

Let’s not forget either that everyone is picking the sexy pick of the Packers, which undoubtedly adds fuel to the fire. No one ever gives Pittsburgh its due–and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Of the 45 analysts at ESPN, 32 picked the Packers to win tomorrow. Lil Wayne puts out ‘Green and Yellow’ a song aimed squarely at Pittsburgh and the Packers are favored by 2.5 in Vegas.  See the Steelers have that extra drive to play for now–much like they did in ’09 and ’06 and they’re going to be fired up beyond belief wanting to prove the haters wrong–haven’t people learned yet that its Ben who is proven himself time and time again in the clutch–NOT Aaron?  Personally, I’d never bet on the Steelers to lose a game, being a fan aside, more often than not, they manage to find a way to get it done (in the final two minutes to give you a heart attack). Again, I don’t think this is a blow out by any means on either side–both teams can win the game and the victor will need to put together a damn near perfect ball-game to do so. But I give the Steelers the edge because I think their defense will allow for at least seven points off turnovers and that will be the difference in the game.

Who do you have tomorrow—and why??

It’s gonna be fun to watch (except for the Black Eyed Peas at halftime) so everybody enjoy the game and, of course, HERE WE GO STEELERS!! ❤



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