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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Preview: Key Match-ups and Final Predictions

Part 3 of SKOHRboard's Super Bowl XLV Preview.  In today's episode I'm going to give away the victors in all of today's key match-ups and then tell you who is going to win the Super Bowl.  Part 1 covered what is going on when Pittsburgh has the ball and Part 2 what's going on when Green Bay has the ball.

Happy Super Bowl!  I hope you have your oven's preheating and your beers icing because there are only about 5 hours left until it's game time.  Once the game is underway there is no time for anything other than watching, eating, and drinking so it's best to get all the prep work out of the way now.  Which is why I'm going to give you all the answers in this article, so you don't even have to think during today's game because you'll already know what's going to happen.  

Key Match-ups in Super Bowl XLV
  • GB Pass Rush vs. Pittsburgh O-Line: With Maurkice Pouncey now confirmed out and in fact placed on IR as of yesterday, Doug Legursky will be making his first NFL start today.  He will presumably also be making line calls against the NFL's second ranked defense in terms of sacks.  While Legurskey and the rest of Pittsburgh's banged up O-Line has played decently through the playoffs, I don't think they are ready for the pressure that B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, and the rest of the Packers are going to bring today.                                                                                                          Winner - Green Bay
  • Mendenhall vs. LBs Matthews and Hawk: Rashard Mendenhall is going to have to help protect Roethlisberger today because Big Ben is going to be under attack as Green Bay tries to exploit Pittsburgh's hodge-podge Line.  If he can help by chipping edge rushers like Matthews it's going to go a long way to helping the Steelers win.  Pittsburgh will also rely heavily on Mendenhall to be effective running the ball in order to prevent the Packers from sitting back in coverage and making it impossible for Ben to find any open receivers before he is sacked.  In my opinion Mendenhall plays the biggest part out of anyone in today's game.                                                                                          Winner - Pittsburgh
  • Ben Roethlisberger vs. GB's DBs: Ben has been on fire lately and, well, he has been for much of the season after his suspension.  His ability to place an accurate deep ball and hit clutch throws is maybe the best in the league.  However, Green Bay's secondary has been playing out of their minds lately.  Last year's Defensive Player of the Year, Charles Woodson along with the undrafted duo Sam Shields and Tramon Williams will be tasked with locking down the many Steeler's pass catchers, most notably Mike Wallace.  Ben's ability to extend the play is going to be huge today because the longer he can avoid getting sacked, the greater chances that his WRs will be able to get open.                            Winner - Draw
  • GB O-Line vs. Pittsburgh Pass Rush: The Packers O-Line is healthier than the Steelers' but they have the unfortunate task of stopping the league's best pass rushing defense today.  As much as Pittsburgh's players are extremely good, their game plan uses them in so many unique ways that it's really really difficult to stop.  Although Rodgers has good quickness and can usually escape, the Steelers' OLBs are much faster than you'd think and should be able to track him down.             Winner - Pittsburgh
  • James Starks vs. Lawrence Timmons: Starks has had a great run in the playoffs and while he is talented, I have a sneaking suspicion that his success has been somewhat due to teams overlooking him to focus on shutting down Rodgers.  With an extra week to prepare for today's game I think it's a pretty safe bet that the Steeler's won't be overlooking the rookie RB.  Timmons is one of the best MLBs in the game and he has the support of the league's best run defense all around him.  While the Steelers will be focused on shutting down Rodgers just like everyone else, I think they will be able to stop Starks today.                                                                                                                   Winner - Pittsburgh
  • Aaron Rodgers & Co. vs. Pittsburgh DBs:  Aside from Mendenhall, this is going to be the most critical matchup of the day.  While Rodgers has looked like one of the best QBs in the league this season, he hasn't had to play against the Steelers every week.  Despite his plethora of highly capable WRs, I think the pressure is going to begin getting to Rodgers which will make his throws less accurate than they typically are.  Which will ultimately result in turnovers as the DPOY, Troy Polamalu is always in the right place at the right time to take advantage of even the slightest mistakes by QBs.  That said, I don't think the Steelers will be able to shut down this potent offense all game, they are just too good not to hit on a few plays or even a few drives.                                                                           Winner - Draw

This Super Bowl is being touted as one of the best team pairings or at least one of the more compelling pairings in a long time.  There are no other teams with as much history as Green Bay and Pittsburgh and there may not be two fan bases that love their team as much as these two do.  Hopefully tonight's game lives up to the hype and gives both fan bases something to be proud about but ultimately there is going to be a winner and based on the match-ups above I think that winner is going to be the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Green Bay is favored to win tonight mostly because they have looked so good lately, but Pittsburgh has been playing great football all year long and their defense is much better than any Green Bay has seen in their run up to today's game.  Green Bay has placed 16 players on IR this season which makes their presence in the Super Bowl even more amazing, but that has to take a toll on the overall on field ability of the squad which Pittsburgh is going to take advantage of.  If things shake out the way I think they will, Pittsburgh is going to win tonight and my final score prediction is Pittsburgh 27, Green Bay 24.

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Brett Favre said...

Steelers 30
Packers 3

Greg said...

I'm going with Packers 23, Steelers 20. But rooting for the Steelers. Should be a great game though.

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