Super Bowl 2011: Aaron Rodgers vs. Ben Roethlisberger and Top 10 Matchups
Super Bowl XLV features two of the most storied franchises in NFL history. The Green Bay Packers, winners of three Super Bowls, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the most successful team in league history with six rings, will face off February 6th for the Lombardi Trophy.
From training camp to now, these teams have had to face injury, controversy, and 30 other teams fighting for the right to play for the title.
This is a position by position breakdown that will show who has the edge and why they will win....
Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger
These are two of the best quarterbacks in the league for a reason. Rodgers has taken the Packers on his back this season despite not having an efficient run game and suffering a concussion on two seprate occasions. He has become one the hardest signal callers to sack due to his illusive nature and ability to read the blitz. His wide receivers love this guy because even when a play breaks down, he is great at directing traffic and finding the open man wherever he may be.
Roethlisberger is cut from the same cloth. The man is nearly impossible to take down because of his physical nature and crafty playmaking abilities on the fly. Both quarterbacks are much quicker than they appear and make it difficult on a defense to game plan against them.
Its hard to give the edge to either player because of the impact that they have on their teams. It will be interesting to see who is holding the Lombardi Trophy over their head when it is all said and done, because these guys are going to give it everything they got.
Green Bay: Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn, James Starks
Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore
Mendenhall's 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns are more than all of the Green Bay running backs combined. Losing Ryan Grant during the first week of the season was tough, and Brandon Jackson and the John Kuhn, could not fill the void.
This is no contest, the Steelers run game was impressive against the Jets, and will be key during the Superbowl.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Green Bay: Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Andrew Quarless
Pittsburgh Steelers: Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antwaan Randle El, Heath Miller
While we all know the hard nose style of Hines Ward, and the vertical threat that Mike Wallace supplies, the Green Bay Packers' wide receiving core is one of the best in the game.
Recently, Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears said, "I would say this receiving corps is the best in the NFL..." "Their ability to get a lot of yards after the catch [makes them the best]. They run hard. They make the difficult catch. They block well down the field."
Heath Miller is also an X factor in this game, because Roethlisberger relies heavily on him when he is in trouble.
Green Bay: Chad Clifton, Daryn Colledge, Scott Wells, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang
Pittsburgh Steelers: Jonathan Scott, Chris Kemoeatu, Markice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, Flozell Adams
Before the season started, Willie Colon, the Steelers Right Tackle was sidelined for the season. In comes Flozell Adams, a veteran that has lost a step. The Steelers gave up 43 sacks, 8th worst in the league and it could have been worse if not for Roethlisberger's ability to escape the pocket. Their swiss cheese blocking may be problematic against an aggressive Packers defense that has their own version of James Harrison in the form of Clay Matthews.
Green Bay: Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Cullen Jenkins
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ziggy Hood, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel
With both teams running a 3-4 defense, it is easier to compare their styles. I would like to call this contest a push, but the Steelers only gave up 62.8 YPG on the ground this season. Those type of numbers are a team effort, but it all starts up from with Hampton clogging up the middle and getting a great push on the center and guards. Both teams are great at moving the pocket and making the quarterback uncomfortable, but I give Pittsburgh a slight edge.
Green Bay: Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop, Erik Walden
Pittsburgh Steelers: LaMarr Wodley, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, James Harrison
Another very close category, the linebacking core for the steelers has proven time and time again that in big spots, they can get big stops. Harrison is the heart and soul of a team that got to the quarterback 48 times this season.
On the other side, the Packers linebackers have been ferocious in their own right. Clay Matthews has evolved as one of the most feared defenders in the game and should give Roethlisberger plenty of trouble during the game.
Green Bay: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Charlie Peprah, Nick Collins
Pittsburgh Steelers: Bryant McFadden, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor
You might be asking, how can the Packers have a better secondary when the Steelers have Troy Polamalu? Well, Tramon Williams is a name that soon everyone will know after the Super Bowl. The fifth year pro has earned his first Pro Bowl appearance and will be a huge factor in keeping the ball out of Mike Wallace's hands and preventing big plays.
Green Bay: Mason Crosby (K), Tim Masthay (P), Tramon Williams (PR), Sam Shields (KR)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Shaun Suisham (K), Jeremy Kapinos (P), Antonio Bryant (PR/KR)
Neither team has any special teams players that have the big play ability of a Devin Hester or a DeSean Jackson. The game might just come down to a field goal, so both teams will rely heavily on their punters and kickers to control field position.
Green Bay: Mike McCarthy (Head Coach), Joe Philbin (OC), Dom Capers (DC)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin (Head Coach), Bruce Arians (OC), Dick LeBeau (DC)
Mike Tomlin has been here before and has seen what it takes to get to the top of the mountain. That being said, Mike McCarthy has been a very good coach and mentor to Rodgers, and under his wing has flourished. Under the radar are the two defensive coordinators Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers, two of the most talented defensive play callers in the league.
Having guys that have been in the Super Bowl before that can handle media day, the pressure, and the spotlight is very important. This is Roethlisberger and many of his teammate's third title game and do not be surprised if we see some early game jitters from even the coolest Packers.
And the winner is the .....
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Final Score: 27-21
After analyzing all of the matchups, it seems that this is one of the most evenly matched and star driven Super Bowls that we have seen in a long time. At the end of the day, I still see Aaron Rodgers being able to pick apart the Steeler's secondary and take advantage of three and four set wide receiver packages against the Steelers nickel and dime coverage corners.
Rodgers wins his first title, and solidifies his place as an elite NFL QB.