Super Bowl 2011 Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers

Walker DanielsCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2011

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron RodgersMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

Betting Online Preview

The Green Bay Packers finally get a home game in the playoffs, but it is in Dallas. The Packers are the home team, and the offshore NFL betting favorite, in Super Bowl XLV, to be played on February 6, 2011 in Dallas.

The Packers are the first NFC No. 6 seed to ever reach the Super Bowl, and they ride an incredible wave of momentum into the season’s biggest game.

On their way to Super Bowl XLV, the Packers have beaten the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears. The Packers beat the top three seeds in the NFC to get to the Super Bowl, and now they have their sights set on the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

The Super Bowl betting lines may not favor the Pittsburgh Steelers, but NFL history certainly does. The Steelers have played in seven Super Bowls to this point and have only lost one. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger adds to the Super Bowl odds of Pittsburgh by being 2-0 in the Super Bowl.

Under head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have been to the playoffs three times and now the Super Bowl twice. This is only Tomlin’s fourth year. Momentum may be on the side of the Packers, but history speaks highly of the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Green Bay Packers

The Packers got a surprise gift in the first playoff game of the year against the Philadelphia Eagles. That gift was rookie running back James Starks. Starks barely played in the regular season. He never started and only saw time in three Packers games. But when he was handed the ball against the Eagles in the Wild Card Round, Starks ran up 123 yards and helped run the Packers past the Eagles.

Starks has been the difference in all three playoff games for the Packers. Now that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a running game, he is even more dangerous than he was in the regular season.

On defense, the Packers are full of talent. Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews control the middle of the field, and Matthews has become a virtuoso at rushing the quarterback. Nose tackle B.J. Raji intercepted a pass against the Bears and ran it in for a touchdown. This is a very active and athletic Packers defense.


Pittsburgh Steelers

It is pretty obvious that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is making up the offense as he goes along. He is getting plays in from the sideline, but as soon as the ball is snapped, Ben ignores the play.

Pro Bowl rookie center Maurkice Pouncey suffered a high ankle sprain in the AFC Championship Game, but he promises to play in the Super Bowl. If Pouncey can play, the Packers defense will have their hands full between Roethlisberger’s improv, Pouncey’s ability to spring running back Rashard Mendenhall and the running game.

The Steelers defense hits hard. There is just no other way to put it. The only soft spot of the Steelers defense is the secondary. The secondary seems to get out of position at times and make mental mistakes that a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers can take advantage of.


The Bottom Line

This will be a great Super Bowl. Both teams have unpredictable yet effective offenses, and the speed on defense for both sides is a big difference maker. In the end, the Packers offense now has too many dimensions for the Steelers defense to handle, and that will be the difference in the game.

Pick: Green Bay Packers