UPDATE: STAT OF THE DAY- PACKERS HELD TO BELOW 21 POINTS 8 TIMES THIS SEASON. D0es that mean anything? It means they can be stopped. Geez, our own Fins beat them at Green Bay (of course, the Fins never win at home) 23-20.
Comparison: Green Bay has the best linebacker in Clay Matthews. He is a beast. But the Steelers have the best 4 linebackers. Harrison, Woodley, Timmons and Farrior are a fantastic unit. Harrison and Woodley are only slightly behind Matthews. Edge Steelers.
Offensive line: No standouts here. Steelers more of a patchwork and without Pouncey, edge Packers, but don't discount their one notable free agent signing- 13 year vet Flozell "The Hotel" Adams having a solid game at right tackle to try and nail down his long awaited ring.
Secondary: Packer secondary quietly carried this team in their playoff run and the playoffs. Steelers have the bigger star, Packers have the more steady group.
Running game: No comparison. Mendenhall for the Steelers is in his 3rd year and he is a complete back. It is possible he could take this game over and put up 150. If he does, the game won't be close. Edge Steelers.
Receivers: Each team has a veteran (Driver for the Pack, former Supe MVP Ward for the Steelers.) Each team has a set of fast young players. Edge Steelers because their tight end, Heath Miller is perhaps the most complete TE in the game. He can pass block, run block, and peel off a block and run a pattern.
QBs: Rodgers is hotter, Big Ben is 10-2 in the playoffs. Roethlisberger has taken a team 88 yards in under two minutes to win a super bowl. How he even saw Santonio Holmes open and how he even dropped that pass in there is still amazing to us two years later. Watch the replays. It's an impossible pass and catch. Until Rodgers does it, he hasn't. Ben has.
Coach: Both teams have great head coaches and great Defensive Coordinators. Both teams have suspect Offensive coordinators. This is a wash. Mike Tomlin took the Steelers through 4 games without his starting QB and they went 3-1. After getting brutalized by the Cheaters, Tomlin settled his team down and the've only lost one game (to the Jets in the regular season) since then. McCarthy, who is ironically a Pittsburgh guy, has guided his team through what has essentially been sudden-death through the beginning of December.
Special Teams: Both teams have average units that have surrendered a big play during the season.
Intangibles. Steelers have 18 players with two Super Bowl rings. They have a nice mix of veterans and rookies. Packers have one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Green Bay appears to be the popular pick. Rumpole says Steelers 31-17.
UPDATE: The total line is 46. It seems tempting to go over. But when we keep thinking of a final score, 24-21 keeps popping into our heads. Now it is true that Aaron Rodgers has a 111 QB rating inside on turf. But the Steelers will try and slow and shorten the game with the run. But when considering the run game, both Defensive Coordinators share the philosophy of stopping the run first. While the Steelers like to run, they can be stopped. The bottom line is the over/under is right on the correct number, so we're staying away from this bet.
The Pack remains a solid 2.5 favourite.
The Steelers (or Stillers as they say in Pittsburgh) are the more balanced team. We think that they have more possible playmakers. If the Steeler stop Rodgers, the Pack is done. The Steelers however, have consistently managed to win when their QB has a big game (Super Bowl 43, and a bad game, Super Bowl 40.) Roethlisberger can either carry his team, or manage the game and make a few big plays, as he has done in both playoff victories this year. Don't forget- this Steeler team was 3-1 without Roethlisberger to start the season. Could the Packers go 3-1 without Rodgers?
On defensive, while Troy Polomalu gets the attention, it was James Harrison in 2008 who turned in a goal line interception and 99 yard pick six. Currently, the best unheralded player on the Steeler D is inside linebacker (and former Seminole) Lawrence Timmons. While Polomalu can ( and is expected) to change the game, keep your eye on the Steeler inside backers- Timmons and Farrior.
The clear favourite among most of the media and the public are the Packers. And what do we say about following the crowd?
We really like tails.
Also the over.
The Steelers were 2 point dogs by the public and two point favourites by the bettors. So the early play was Pittsburgh +2. But lets say you've woken up on the day of the big game and decided to make the Super Bowl interesting. What do you do?