The wait is nearly over, and it is finally time for the best sports day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will face off in what is sure to be a memorable game.
The Packers have been hot entering play, winning three consecutive road playoff games. They have played so well in the last three games that they remind me of the 2007 New York Giants, the team which that defeated the then-undefeated Patriots. Sorry to all the New England fans for bringing back those memories.
They beat three teams that many believed had a valid shot at winning the Super Bowl, including the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional round. Green Bay dominated Atlanta, winning by 21 points. They handed the Falcons just their second home loss of the season.
The defense is a major reason for their playoff success. They have forced eight turnovers and confused many of the NFL’s most elite players.
They have shown that they can stop any offensive weapon. Whether it was Michael Vick, Matt Forte or Roddy White, the Packers were able to take them out of the game and make them a non-factor.
Their most impressive feat may have been how they held Michael Turner to a meager 39 yards in their playoff matchup.
Their secondary, led by Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams, should be able to limit Hines Ward and Mike Wallace. Wallace had a breakout season, averaging 21 yards per reception, but has only four receptions so far in the playoffs.
The Packers will also be able to stop Ben Roethlisberger. The linebacking core as well as defensive linemen are smart enough not to fall for Roethlisberger’s pump fakes and dancing in the backfield.
The Steelers have allowed 52 sacks this season, including eight during the playoffs. Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji should have no problem causing havoc in the backfield.
The Packers should also be able to stop the Steelers’ rushing attack. They have only allowed six rushing touchdowns this season, which is the second least in the league. Rashard Mendenhall had a great regular season but is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh will struggle to stop Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is perhaps having a career-defining season, and has finally made Packers’ fans forget about Brett Farve. Rodgers has thrown for 3922 yards this season with 28 touchdowns.
With weapons such as Greg Jennings, James Jones and Donald Driver, Rodgers has been able to spread the ball across the field. In their last game, seven different receivers had at least one reception.
In the Steelers’ previous game, they allowed the New York Jets to score 19 unanswered points in the second half. They also allowed Mark Sanchez to throw for 233 yards and two touchdowns. If Sanchez was able to pick apart the Steelers secondary, imagine what Rodgers is capable of doing.
The only flaw that the Packers offense had during the season was their run game. That was until the playoffs, when James Starks emerged as their leading rusher.
In the three playoff games, Starks has 263 yards, which is the most for any player. Starks has helped the team change from their one dimensional style, and the Steelers now have to worry about stopping both the run and the pass.
The Steelers are a great team, but I do not believe they have the ability to beat the Packers on Sunday. Green Bay will come out to play, and if they do not let the distractions get to them, they will be the champions of Super Bowl XLV.
Joe Beaudoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.