A lot has been made about how great Aaron Rodgers has been this postseason. It's true that he's been deadly accurate, and the Packers looked like the best team in the NFC after they dismantled the Falcons in Atlanta.
They rode that momentum and Rodgers' arm to a trip to Texas, where they will have the misfortune of playing the best team of the last six or seven seasons.
Ever since Big Ben Roethlisberger was drafted, the Steelers have been the most successful franchise in the NFL. In his young career he has already won two rings and now is being referred to as a Hall of Famer.
His postseason record currently sits at an amazing 10 wins vs. two losses—and he's undefeated in the Super Bowl.
Coming off a horrible offseason, Roethlisberger found incredible support from his team, who managed to excel in his early absence. The Pittsburgh Steelers gelled this year while he was suspended and then just continued to play well all season.
Their postseason journey continued thanks to a nice pass from Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown, a rookie out of Central Michigan. It's fitting that in a season where Roethlisberger has had to grow up, he's benefited from young receivers, including Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders.
Just like every other team that lost to the Steelers this postseason, the Packers have not had to face a QB like Roethlisberger.
Green Bay's defense shut down Mike Vick, who was already starting to fade at the end of the regular season, and they did a great job stifling Matt Ryan, the media darling and one of the hottest QBs in the regular season. Against the Bears, well, we all know about the quarterback situation that the Bears were dealing with. Let's just say that the Steelers will present a somewhat tougher challenge.
Roethlisberger doesn't go down easily. He displayed this at the end of the AFC Championship Game against an inspired Jets defense that was desperate to make something happen. He kept making the right decision time and time again.
While the Packers defense has been great this postseason, and for that matter during the regular season, they will face a much better, more efficient offense in the Steelers than they matched up against with any of their NFC North foes.
Another factor that works against the chances of the Packers is the running game—most importantly the Steelers' run defense. Green Bay utilized a more balanced offense on the way to the Super Bowl behind the surprising James Starks. I doubt he will have the same success against the Pittsburgh run D that held the Jets to 70 yards on 22 carries, including that all-important goal-line stand in which LaDainian Tomlinson was stuffed not even close to the goal line.
I expect to see the Steelers match the success that the Bears defense displayed in the NFC Championship Game, but the big difference will be that Pittsburgh doesn't have to fall back on Caleb Hanie. Roethlisberger will be the difference—and at the end, he and the Steelers will be holding up another trophy named after the Packers' legendary coach.
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