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Super Bowl XLV Preview: Who will win?

February 06, 2011 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

This is the final installment in our 9-part Super Bowl XLV Preview series.  We’re finally going to bring it all together to tell you who’s going to win the game.

But first, if you haven’t read the earlier installments, please click the appropriate links below to get caught up.

Part 1:  Super Bowl XLV Preview -  Team overviews

Part 2:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The quarterbacks

Part 3:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Offensive Lines

Part 4:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Receivers

Part 5:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Running Backs

Part 6:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Defensive Lines

Part 7:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Linebackers

Part 8:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Defensive Backs

Part 9:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - Putting it all together

We’ve finally come to the end of our Super Bowl Preview series, and I hope I’ve given everyone enough information so that you’ll be the most knowledgeable fan at your Super Bowl party.

Throughout this series, I’ve pointed out how evenly matched these two teams are.  They’re both very talented.  The Steelers have an advantage at the running back and linebacker positions.  The Packers have an advantage with their talented pool of  defensive backs.

I didn’t really talk about special teams, but I’d say that Green Bay has the advantage there.  The Steelers have a punter, Jeremy Kapinos, who they signed midway through the season when Dan Sepulveda went out with an injury.  Kapinos used to play for the Packers before they decided to not resign him.  The Packers probably feel that they’ve upgraded, or else they would have signed Kapinos.

Similarly, the Steelers signed kicker Shaun Suisham in mid-season when veteran kicker Jeff Reed started missing too many untimely kicks.

Since the Steelers have a kicker and a punter who both started the season sitting on their couch, it’s hard to give them an advantage on special teams.  So the Packers get that one.

But I still haven’t said who I think is going to win, and why.

Ordinarily, I go into every game feeling very confident.  But the Packers are a tough foe.  Aaron Rodgers is a very good quarterback.  I’m nervous.  I admit it.

As I’ve mentioned throughout this series, the Packers are good.  Sure, their regular season record was only 10-6, but they’ve peaked at the right time.  They remind me of the Steelers in 2008.  Big Ben was playing out of his mind, and the Steelers just weren’t going to be stopped.  I see similar things in the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers is a very talented quarterback who is playing out of his mind right now.  Moreover, he’s the type of quarterback who can deliver the ball quickly and pick the Steelers apart.  The Steelers MUST put pressure on him.  They have to hit him early and often.

Fortunately, the Steelers have LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison to do just that.  Both of them should have an advantage over the Packers’ tackles that they’ll be facing.  LaMarr Woodley should eat Bryan Bulaga for lunch.  And Chad Clifton should prove to be no match for James Harrison.  If Harrison & Woodley can generate pressure, it will help their defensive backs out tremendously.

But the guys who are going to be most critical to a victory are going to be Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall.

The Packers have an incredibly talented defensive backfield.  But none of them has the speed of Mike Wallace.  Mike has to go deep early and often to take the top off of their defense.  And when he does, Ben can’t under-throw him (like he does so often).  Once the Packers are forced to respect Wallace’s speed, it will open things up for Rashard Mendenhall.

The Packers may be able to stop one or the other, but I don’t think they can stop both.  So they’ll have to pick their poison.  Do they stop Mendenhall and risk Wallace deep one-on-one, or do they keep a safety back to help with Wallace and make it easier for Mendenhall.  Neither is a good option.

And throughout this series, I’ve barely mentioned Heath Miller, the guy that the Packers will probably have the hardest time stopping.

Ultimately, I think the Steelers are going to be too much for the Packers.  Experience is so important in a game like this, and the Steelers have that.  The Packers don’t.

So when the final whistle blows, the score will be 31-24, and the Steelers will bring Lombardi Trophy #7 back to Pittsburgh.

You heard it here first.

Here we go, Steelers!  Here we go!

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9 Comments to “Super Bowl XLV Preview: Who will win?”

  1. This was a great series Don, and a good article.

    I’ve enjoyed coming to your site to talk intelligent football with (for the most part) level headed fans. I hope you realize how rare that is. For most of the year, I get stuck trying to talk sense in to Bear and Viking trolls, so I really appreciate how educated the Steelers fan base is.

    We disagree on a number of matchups that have been expounded on throughout the series. You are right in naming the key players (Harrison vs Clifton, Woodley vs Bulaga, MIller vs Woodson, Shields/Tramon vs Wallace, etc..). We’re gonna see who’s got the better team tonight. No matter who wins, congratulations on a great season and a classy franchise and fan base.

    I can’t wait.


  2. Packers 27 Steelers 20

    Sorry to have to say that. Very painful….but I believe our O line will suffer too much and we need to score often because our D can only do so much against the packer air attack. Mendenhall will not come close to 100 yds because he is way to inconsistant and Pouncy is out..

    Rodgers will attempt 40+ passes and it will be enough even if we do get 4 or 5 sacks. Doesn’t matter that we stop the run. We always stop the run. The packers will not need to run and probably won’t worry about running either. Passing is the way you beat the steelers. Let’s not forget….the Steelers lost to Brees and Brady but beat Flaco and Sanchez… Says it all unfortunately.

    The overacheived this year getting to an 8th SB. So for that I’m proud.

    GO STEELERS and prove me wrong

  3. @Bearmeat - Thanks for joining us. It’s been fun. As a Packers fan, you’ve shed light on a team that we don’t get to see very often. Greatly appreciated. We’ve also appreciated the debate. Healthy, intelligent, and cordial. That’s the way it should be.

    @Tony - Whew! I was afraid that you were going to choose the Steelers to win. Thank God you didn’t do that. Now we’re sure to win. ;-)

  4. Both teams are extremely good and the game can go either way. It can even be a blowout either way. Both teams are good enough to exploit small mistakes or plain bad luck (special teams mistake, tipped ball, poor officiating, lucky bounces) and turn it into points.

    Obviously, since the teams are roughly equal and I am rooting for PB, I will take the Steelers at 27-20 (although I will be hoping for 34-13…I could do without the heart trauma of a 4th quarter like XLIII).

    It will be interesting to see how GB tries to stop PB’s run game and the effect of Pouncey’s absence - how LeBeau tries to counter the spread - whether Troy is at 100% or even 90% - if Ike can conver Jennings and if anyone can cover Wallace without Safety help - whether anyone can stop Woodley in a playoff game - how PB tries to stop Matthews (I don’t think Scott can).

    I’m just glad that it’s only ~3 hrs away.

  5. Congrats PACKERS! Thank you beating the Steelers and are the new Super Bowl Champs. The Pediphile Steelers QB went down tonight. Saints beat Steelers on 10/31/10, and now Packers beat Steelers on 2/6/11. Haha! Yeah Cheeseheads! We love you! Who Dat Fan!

  6. Great game gentlemen. The better team won, but it was a heart stopper that’s for sure!

    Best of luck in the offseason, and let’s hope for a rematch in XLVI!

  7. Oh, and..



  8. Congratulations Bearmeat. I’m not sure that the better team won but they played the better game and that’s all that matters.

    I was still pretty bitter about it this morning but then I learned that a coworker had a stroke and that helped put things in perspective.

    So, now we move on to the draft…or to the CBA? Heck, are we even going to have football next year?

  9. Oh come on now John.. I understand you are disappointed. I would be too. But no sour grapes man!

    GB caused those turnovers. They executed better - even with Wood, Shields, and Drive out. Before those three went out it was looking like a rout - PIT could not pass the ball on GB , nor stop GB’s passing attack at all before the injuries. GB had superior skill players across the board. Harrison and Woodley were blocked up very well by GB’s tackles. All of those things happened pretty close to how I said they would go last week. If you want to play the ‘if’ game - If Jordy and James hang on to those surefire TD’s, AR probably goes over 400 yards and for 5 TD’s. GB was the better team all along and just proved it yesterday. If those two teams play 10 times, I’m pretty sure GB wins 7 or 8.

    Ok. I’m out. It was a great game between two great teams, with two great fan bases following them.

    Hope for a rematch next year. And again, congrats on the great season!


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