Steelers vs. Packers: Why Pittsburgh's Defense Can Stop Green Bay's Offense
The Green Bay Packers were one of the hottest teams entering the playoffs. They are a very dangerous team that will provide the Pittsburgh Steelers with a tough matchup.
On paper, these two teams are very evenly matched. The Pittsburgh Steelers allowed 14.5 points per game on defense while the Green Bay Packers allowed 15 points per game. Offensively, Green Bay scored 24.2 points per game to Pittsburgh's 23.4 points per game.
What is going to make the difference in the game? Whether or not the Steelers' defense can stop Green Bay's offense.
Expect the game to be decided while Aaron Rodgers is on the field facing off against the Pittsburgh defense.
The following slides will discuss why the Steelers defense can stop Green Bay's offense.
Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. Pittsburgh showed that it can shorten the game against the New York Jets. Winning the time of possession battle could be very instrumental to winning the Super Bowl.
The less time that Green Bay's offense is on the field, the less time it has to score points. If Pittsburgh can grab an early lead, it may force the Packers into playing an offensive scheme that is easier for the Steelers to defend. Teams are often more predictable when they are playing catch up.
Even when the Steelers offense will be on the field, it will be playing defense against the Packers by virtue of allowing the clock to keep moving while Aaron Rodgers sits on the sidelines.
Dick LeBeau fathered the 3-4 zone-blitzing scheme. He is one of the greatest defensive minds in the league. He seems to always know how to design plays to create favorable matchups for his defense.
He always finds a way to generate pressure on the quarterback. He knows how to put his players in the best position to stuff the run. He just knows what to do and when to do it.
It's like he's playing chess while the opposing offensive coordinator is playing checkers. Dick LeBeau will not be out-coached.
The Steelers' secondary is a unit that many people would consider one of Pittsburgh's weaknesses. However, it finished ranked 12th in passing yards allowed, which is not terrible considering that it faced the fourth-most pass attempts in the league.
When you dig a little deeper into the stats, you find that Pittsburgh's 6.3 passing yards allowed per attempt actually led the entire league. Furthermore, Pittsburgh allowed the second-lowest quarterback rating all season. It was also one of only three teams to force more interceptions than the number of touchdowns that it allowed.
Pittsburgh has all of the tools to limit what Rodgers can do on the field.
Everyone knows that the Steelers led the league in rushing yards allowed. However, they also led the league by only allowing five rushing touchdowns all season.
This is an advantage that can't be understated for the Steelers. The Packers are going to have a hard time finding balance on offense. When the Steelers can completely take the run phase of the game away from their opponent, it makes it much easier to defend the pass.
The Steelers can actually put more pressure on Rodgers just by simply doing what they do best: stuff the run.
The Steelers led the NFL with 48 sacks during the regular season. Once the run is no longer a valid option for their opponents, the Steelers can pin their ears back and throw everything they have at the quarterback.
Even when the Steelers don't get to the quarterback, they force mistakes, which greatly contributed to Pittsburgh's 21 interceptions this season.
Quarterbacks get nervous when they hear James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley coming for them. Can you blame them? Who wants to get hit by either one of those guys?
Troy Polamalu is a land shark. He has a knack for smelling blood. Troy can attack an offense in any number of ways. His opponents rarely see it coming. All they see is a wisp of hair coming out the back of his helmet as he goes in for the kill.
Polamalu just seems to know when to make a big play. He's done it all season and he's done it for his entire career. Whether it's laying a big hit on a receiver or leap-frogging an offensive line to get into the backfield, he just makes plays.
He can even generate offense for the Steelers. His pick six against Joe Flacco and the Ravens put the nail in the coffin of the 2008 AFC Championship.
Rodgers and Green Bay need to be aware of where he is at all times. Because just like Jaws, if you lose sight of him for a split second, he might turn you into shark food.
Winning an AFC Championship is nice. But Steelers Nation wants a seventh ring. This is going to be a tall task. However, the Steelers are up to the challenge.
There is some room for improvement on both offense and defense for Pittsburgh. However, it has two weeks to prepare for Super Bowl XLV.
Don't expect the Steelers to cruise to an easy win against a tough opponent like the Green Bay Packers. But they should have enough in their tank to secure the win...
Thanks heavily to their defense.
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