Super Bowl 2011: 5 Bold Predicitions For Packers Vs. Steelers
One game. One shot. One reason to believe.
A chance at his first Super Bowl title will have Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the foot of greatness. However, the biggest individual game of his young, prosperous career may also have him battling the pressures of Dick Lebeau's defense.
Likewise, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be facing his own demons as well—though without the adolescent mindset like that of Rodgers.
On the biggest stage in the sporting world, who will accomplish what they've set out to achieve?
Here are five of my most warranted forecasts sure to come true in Super Bowl XLV.
1. Aaron Rodgers Will Overpower The Pittsburgh Secondary
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Plain and simple, Aaron Rodgers has mauled opposing secondaries this postseason—and if not for a lucky interception by Chicago's Lance Briggs, Rodgers would have only thrown one interception the entire postseason.
Totaling 790 yards, six touchdowns, completing 71 percent of his throws, and a 109.2 quarterback rating in these playoffs, Rodgers has obviously made his presence felt throughout the league as a premier clutch quarterback.
However, the plan of attack for Rodgers will prove to become the most complex and thought-out strategy of his young career. With playmakers such as James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor on the outside, Rodgers is sure to have his hands full.
But, as I'm sure you've heard, Aaron's elevated play inside domes has become a recurring issue for opposing defenses—and Pittsburgh is no exception.
Besides, can the Steelers really duplicate their two home-performances on the defensive side of the football on a neutral field? I'm thinking it's a stretch.
If Rodgers and the Pack get out to a fast start, it's hard to imagine anyone slowing them down.
2. Mike Wallace and Heath Miller Will Each Produce One Touchdown
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Arguably Pittsburgh's two most vital wide-receivers, Mike Wallace and Heath Miller have combined for one touchdown in these playoffs. What does this tell us? They're due now more than ever.
In the absence of clutch wideout Santonio Holmes, both Miller and Wallace have totaled up half of Ben Roethlisberger's passing yardage over the course of the regular season.
So, why is this relevant?
Well, if there's one thing we've been accustomed to in Super Bowls past, it's that one or more unexpected players can make all the difference to a team's winning effort.
Look for Wallace and Miller to light up the show... again.
3. Tramon Williams Will Intercept Ben Roethlisberger
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Six interceptions over the course of the regular season, three in each playoff game this postseason.
Packers cornerback Tramon Williams has been without question the most valuable corner back of these playoffs—and it isn't even close.
After intercepting Michael Vick, Matt Ryan and Jay Culter in consecutive playoff victories, Williams has only furthered his recognition and value to Dom Capers' electrifying defense.
Will he be the most valuable player on the field? Doubtful. However, Williams may be the most essential part to a Green Bay victory against Ben Roethlisberger.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin may not want to throw in his direction, but don't expect Williams to be ousted from the action. The guy just has a knack for the football.
Look for Tramon to be in on a game-changing turnover in Dallas.
4. Rashard Mendenhall Will Have a Solid Game
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Pittsburgh's prolific tail-back, Rashard Mendenhall, will have his first meaningful go-around in the big game against the vaunted Green Bay defense in Cowboys Stadium. However, look for Mendenhall to have a fairly productive game against Dom Capers' 3-4 defense.
Clay Matthews and the Green Bay defense gave up over 114 yards per game to opposing running backs during the regular season. But let's not forget their solid effort against Matt Forte: limiting him to just 70 yards on 17 attempts.
What will be key for Mendenhall should be whether or not he makes the big-play happen for Pittsburgh's offense. The Packers have allowed just 10 20+ yard runs this season, along with one 40+ yard run.
If Mendenhall and the Steelers running game can wear down Green Bay's defense at the line of scrimmage, Pittsburgh could be well on their way to another Super Bowl victory.
5. Green Bay Will Win By Four Points Or Greater
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After the dust has settled, the tension shattered, one thing will be for certain: Green Bay will have won their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.
And it won't have anything to do with No. 4.
No; this Super Bowl belongs to the man of the hour (maybe the man of the year), Aaron Rodgers.
What he has done this season is nothing short of extraordinary—and we should all watch what will become potentially a record-setting Super Bowl from the Packers quarterback.
Give all the credit in the world to Pittsburgh—there's a reason why they've made their third Super Bowl appearance over the past six seasons.
However, this is the year of the cheese. The year Rodgers and the Packers officially leave behind the legend that was Brett Favre. Because they've got a new legend to celebrate.
Prediction: Green Bay 24, Pittsburgh 20