2011 NFL Playoffs: Packers, Steelers Defenses Propel Them Into The Super Bowl

Shaun McPartlinCorrespondent IIIJanuary 24, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers intercepts a pass intended for Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears late in the second quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Steelers and the Packers will battle for NFL supremacy on February 6th in Dallas.

Let's be completely honest: Even though Rashard Mendenhall and Greg Jennings had big games for their respective teams, without the play-makers each team had on the defensive end of the ball, their seasons would have ended weeks ago.

The Packers have had players step up each week and put their team on their shoulders. I am not taking any credit away from Aaron Rodgers and his ascent into the league's elite, but you also must give credit where credit is due.

In the Wild Card game, Tramon Williams picked off Michael Vick to the end the game and was on both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin like a glove. 

In the Divisional Round, once again Tramon Williams stepped up his game and picked two of Matt Ryan's passes. One, he took to the house.

In today's game, Sam Shields made his presence known: He intercepted two passes, one of which iced the game.

Defense, defense, defense. It is still the key to success in the NFL.

The Steelers have always been known for their hard-nose defense and it has shown up in each of their playoff games.

In the Divisional Round, James Harrison put Flacco on his back three times. He plays hard to the end and without his stingy D, this game could have ended much differently.

Now to today's game. The whole Steelers defensive line stepped up today and eliminated the Jets run game. Without LT and Greene taking pressure off Sanchez, he had to carry his team. He did a very respectable job, but the real story of the game was the goal line stand by the Steelers.

When LT failed to cross the plane on fourth down, the game was nearly cemented.

The teams whose offense was the reason for their success did not last long in this year's playoffs. The Colts, Patriots and Saints were all one-and-done, being beaten by teams whose D's stepped up to the challenge.

This goes to show you that if you want to win in the NFL, your defense is still the place to start building your foundation.