Super Bowl 2011: Breaking Down the Packers vs. Steelers Matchup

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 24, 2011

Super Bowl 2011: Breaking Down the Packers vs. Steelers Matchup

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    Super Bowl 2011: The matchup is now set. After months of waiting for this moment, we finally have the teams ready to do battle on February 6 in Dallas in Super Bowl XLV.

    The Steelers took care of the Jets Sunday, sidestepping a late surge by New York. Their defense gave the Jets fits and their running attack was just as prolific.

    The Packers also had a fortuitous day. They sealed the game late in the fourth quarter when one of their defensive linemen, B.J. Raji, had a Caleb Hanie pass float right to him. His touchdown put the Packers up for good.

    Now we have a game pitting two of the most storied franchises in football against one another. Regardless of the outcome, the fans are sure to come out winners.

    Here is the breakdown of Super Bowl XLV.

Quarterbacks

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    Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger

    The most important position on the field during the Super Bowl will be occupied by two of the best. Both quarterbacks are playing at a high rate of production right now. They seem to be peaking at the right time.

    The thing I love most about these guys is their grit. You have to believe that either one would still consider playing if one of his limbs was chopped off. They bring a true warrior mentality to the position.

    Despite some interceptions, Rodgers was masterful for most of the NFC title game. If he is left with some time in the pocket, he will pick apart any defense, including "Hits-Burgh's."

    Advantage: Green Bay Packers

Running Backs

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    Green Bay Packers: James Starks, Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman

    The Packers spent the whole 2010 season without a true No. 1 running back. It is a startling fact considering their success.

    The Packers have given the ball to one player over any other in the postseason. James Starks has done quite a good job of alleviating some of the weight on Aaron Rodgers' shoulders. But the Steelers get the edge here.

    Rashard Mendenhall is a sleek back who also houses the talents of a bruiser. He will battle you for every inch. You also better wrap him up because he is very adept at breaking tackles.

    The Green Bay defense does a fine job of stopping the run. It is a good thing too because they have their hands full with Mendenhall.

    Advantage: Pittsburgh Steelers

Wide Receivers

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    Green Bay Packers: Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Heath Miller

    The Steelers like to pound the ball on the ground first. After that they spread the ball to all corners. One game may feature Mike Wallace; another may tout Hines Ward. You never know who is going to get the majority of touches. But that is the genius of the Steelers receiving corps. They are unselfish individuals that play for the team first.

    The Packers have a receiving corps that could do damage on any defense in the NFL. At times they are unstoppable; just ask the Atlanta Falcons. It is unclear if Aaron Rodgers delivers a great many precise passes or if these guys have glue-laden hands. Either way, I take their receivers and their ability to break ankles on the cut any day.

    Advantage: Green Bay Packers

Coaches

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    Green Bay Packers: Mike McCarthy

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin

    Both coaches are worthy of the stage that the Super Bowl presents before them. Each coach has had to face adversity through the season. Most importantly, they sidestepped certain disaster to get to this stage in the season.

    McCarthy needed a win in the final game of the season to get into the playoffs. He not only beat the Bears on their home field to end the season, he did it again on Sunday to get into the Super Bowl. Game-planning for a team that knows you backwards and forwards must be intense.

    Mike Tomlin had to avert a potential disaster when his starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was suspended by the Steelers to open the season. Tomlin gets my my vote here. He has a calm about him that soothes players at the most intense moments. That will come in handy in the Super Bowl.

    Advantage: Pittsburgh Steelers

Defense

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    Green Bay Packers

    Opponent Passing Yards/Rank: 194.2/fifth

    Opponent Rushing Yards/Rank: 114.9/18th 


    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Opponent Passing Yards/Rank: 214.1/12th

    Opponent Rushing Yards/Rank: 62.8/first

    The Packers and Steelers have their fair share of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. By both teams being represented in the Super Bowl, it is assured to make the Pro Bowl next week become a shootout.

    Both defenses cover teams well. The interesting item will be how each team fares against its opponent's strength. The Steelers stop the run. It is too bad that Green Bay loves to throw the ball. Similarly, the Packers have a stout secondary that will do little to stop the Steelers running game.

    I have seen the Packers defense play much better ball in the postseason. As it stands now, they have the hotter hand. As ridiculous as it sounds, the Packers are shutting down some good offenses lately, and I give them the edge.

    Advantage: Green Bay Packers

Intangibles

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    How can you measure the intangibles? It is the way a team carries itself on and off the field. It is the way the players complete hustle plays. Intangibles carry from the locker room onto the field of play.

    Both of these teams have them in droves. Each team has had to sidestep adversity. The 2010 season has not been smooth sailing. That fact has brought these two teams closer together. It makes them all the more lovable to watch. It also makes it infinitely more difficult to pick a fan favorite.

    Advantage: Draw

Fans

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    I can't whittle down a winner here either. Both fan bases are known to brave ridiculously cold weather to root on their respective teams.

    The recent weeks have been good to both teams, selling jerseys and other paraphernalia online. I will go the safe route and call this one a draw. That smart man realizes when he is up against two maniacal fan bases that take their beloved teams very seriously.

    The NFL is better because of them.

    Advantage: Draw

Franchises

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    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Super Bowl Titles: 6

    Conference Titles: 8

    Playoff Appearances: 26

     

    Green Bay Packers 

    NFL Championships: 9

    Super Bowl Titles: 3

    Conference Titles: 13

    Playoff Appearances: 26

    Super Bowl XLV will truly pit two of the most successful franchises in sports history against one another. The Steelers have had more success during the Super Bowl era, but I give the edge to Green Bay.

    The reason is simple: Vince Lombardi. Before him there was no such thing as winning. The man invented being victorious. That's fairly remarkable.

    Advantage: Green Bay Packers

Prediction

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    Now we come down to the meat of the article. The winner of the Super Bowl will control the ball, clock and tempo. The team will be proficient on both sides of the ball.

    Most of all, the winner will make use of the holes in its opponent's schemes. So far, the Packers have done a better job doing just that in the postseason.

    That is not to say that this game will be a lopsided affair. On the contrary—this has the makings of a classic Super Bowl.

    You have two defensive teams that also boast powerful productive offenses. There will be enough scoring to make it interesting and enough defense to make it respectable.

    Prediction: Green Bay Packers 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 24

    MVP: Aaron Rodgers