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Packers vs. Steelers at Super Bowl XLV – Who Will Win?

Clay Matthews gets a chance to prove himself at Super Bowl XLV Clay Matthews gets a chance to prove himself at Super Bowl XLV

When Super Bowl XLV kicks off this Sunday, February 6 from Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, the NFC champion Green Bay Packers meet the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers to see who can add to their franchise’s collection of NFL championships. A lot of people tune in for the ads, some watching the only football game they’ll see all year. But whether you’re a diehard or a newbie, everyone likes to make predictions. So let’s break the big game down a little.

We’ll start with the most important position – quarterback. The Steeler’s Ben Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings already and looks to add his third while securing his position among the greats of the game. On the other side, Aaron Rodgers will play in his first NFL championship. It’s something he’s been building up to for a long time, gaining the respect of pundits throughout the football world along the way. But all the talent and great statistics in the world don’t mean much until you win the big one.

At quarterback, it’s a wash. Rodgers is super talented, and Roethlisberger just has a knack for getting the job done when it counts the most. If there’s an edge, it’s with Big Ben’s experience, but Rodgers has never shown any signs of cracking under pressure.

Both sides have great receivers as well. For Pittsburgh, there’s Hines Ward and Mike Wallace, who combined for over 2,000 yards this season. For the Packers, it’s Greg Jennings and James Jones, with Jennings having a huge year including 12 touchdowns and over 1200 yards.

Really, the question of how the passing game goes depends on the ability of the running game to keep the defense honest. Green Bay’s Brandon Jackson may have been so-so in the regular season, but overall, the post-season Packers have shown that they have a running game to contend with.

But the advantage clearly has to go to the Steelers. Rashard Mendenhall has proven himself a total stud this year with 13 touchdowns, 1273 yards, and great playoff performances. The big monkey wrench, however, is the absence of center Maurkice Pouncey, a key figure on the Pittsburgh offensive line. That’s going to affect Mendenhall’s ability to find holes, and get blocks, not to mention pass protection for Roethlisberger.

On the other side of the ball, the Steelers have the advantage. Of course, both teams have tough defenses. You don’t make it to the Super Bowl without that. But the Steelers are something else. Pittsburgh had the NFL’s number one run defense in the regular season, and their pass defense has stepped up in the post-season. Green Bay’s pass defense has been strong all year, but their run defense has sometimes been suspect.

Of course, the match up everyone is watching on defense is the battle of the hair. Both the Packers’ Clay Matthews and the Steelers’ Troy Polamalu are instantly recognizable on the field thanks to the locks that flow out of their helmets, and they are also the NFL’s two best defensive players. Now the two are sponsored by competing shampoo companies, highlighting the on-field comparisons even more. Once again, experience goes to the Steelers, where Polamalu has been around the block and in the big game, while the younger Matthews is playing in his first Super Bowl.

In the end, even with the absence of Maurkice Pouncey, it looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers are the better team. The Green Bay Packers will have to step up and push the play to get a taste of the NFL championship. It might be hard to stomach the idea of someone like Ben Roethlisberger, whose off-field scandals are increasingly vile, being rewarded for anything in life, but the situation is what it is. Who knows? Maybe Aaron Rodgers will come in to Dallas on February 6 and dominate Super Bowl XLV. That would be nice. Either way, watching the likes of Hines Ward, Greg Jennings, Troy Polamalu, Rashard Mendenhall, and Clay Matthews compete on football's biggest stage will be a treat for everyone tuning in.

 

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Troy Polamalu was the NFL's defensive player of the year for 2010, and will be a key figure in Super Bowl XLV
Last modified on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 17:40

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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