Filed under: NFL | Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, NFL, Packers, Sports, Steelers, Super Bowl Preview
Dare I say, our beloved Super Bowl week has been boring?
No, not the Super Bowl. It’s the giant spectacle capturing the attention of the entire world. And while I’m as excited as the next guy for Sunday, the week of hype has been a polar opposite. The two biggest stories have been the weather(the game is being played in a dome), and when the Packers would take their team photo. Media day was essentially a bore, the most exciting aspect possibly being the unintentional comedy created during every James Harrison interview.
But behind the relative lull, the “eye before the storm,” is a game which could very easily go down as one of the timeless Super Bowl classics. The Super Bowl has become a 2 week celebration, a spectacle that’s become lost even within itself at times. While we may not have A-List parties, we will have an A-List performance tomorrow night.
Super Bowl XLV matches Pittsburgh’s 2nd ranked defense against Green Bay’s 5th ranked defense. Pittsburgh allowed 14.5 points per game in the regular season, Green Bay was hot on their heels with 15.It comes as no surprise that Pittsburgh and Green Bay possess the two best defenses in the league to date, and they’ll face off in Dallas.
Offensively, could you think of a better quarterback match-up? Quarterbacks make the NFL’s money, there’s no way around it. Already in the green thanks to the Super Bowl, the NFL lucked out, with Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger leading their respective teams. On one end, you have the winner. Roethsliberger follows a Pittsburgh QB tradition, simply winning Super Bowls. If he wins his third, will he finally get the same respect Tom Brady receives?
Aaron Rodgers, despite not owning any hardware, is the upcoming poster boy of the NFL. He’s the next wave of prolific NFL QB’s. While Roethlisberger is every bit the grit and determination that comprises the NFL phenomenon, Rodgers is the aerial highlight reel. But can his fantasy football-esque numbers translate into success on football’s biggest stage?
There are two major obstacles holding Green Bay back from a shoe-in victory. Their lack of experience in the Super Bowl, and their inconsistency down the stretch in games of high magnitude.
Mike McCarthy. Aaron Rodgers. James Starks. Greg Jennings. Donald Driver. Clay Matthews. B.J Raji. Tramon Williams. All big names for Green Bay, all Super Bowl rookies. Will the bright lights of Dallas blind them? Will the pressure of a Pittsburgh team which knows they have the mental upper hand over Green Bay get to the Packers youngsters?
If recent Super Bowl’s are any indication, the answer is no. The Saints were about as wide-eyed as you could be heading into the Super Bowl. The New York Giants topped an experienced New England team in 2007. Just a year before that, the Indianapolis Colts won their first Super Bowl with that roster.
So if experience doesn’t count Green Bay out, what will? Could it be Aaron Rodgers?
Aaron Rodgers? But he’s received so many accolades leading up to “the big one!”
He’s also struggled mightily at the most inopportune times. Against Chicago just 2 weeks ago, Rodgers sputtered for the last 3 quarters. Against the Eagles, he was unable to put them away and almost allowed Michael Vick the time of day to lead another comeback. Against the Bears in week 17, a Bears team who really had nothing to play for, Rodgers only put up a whopping 10 points.
My confidence in him is not extraordinarily high. I know what Dick Lebeau can do with 2 weeks of preparation. I know that the Steelers defense is talented enough to stop anybody who gets in their way, and the playoffs are where this team shines.
But my gut feeling on this game is that it will not be Pittsburgh who determines who wins. Rather, it will be Green Bay who heavily influences the outcome of this game. Green Bay has all the tools. Talent wise, they are probably better than Pittsburgh all around. But Rodgers has shown a tendency to freeze up when the spotlight is on, making this game nearly impossible to pick.
While the gist of the article may have seemed pro-Green Bay, you may be surprised with the direction of my pick. While my heart loves cheese, my head is a hard-nosed steelworker. I trust Roethsliberger, I think their defense can successfully turn the Packers into a one dimensional passing attack. We all know one dimensional won’t win you games in real life, no matter how hard Madden’s video game predictions may tell you otherwise. Pittsburgh wins this in a close one.
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