Super Bowl XLV features the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers; two of the National Football League's most prominent and respected franchises.
To make things even more intriguing, this phenomenon will occur in Jerry's World; home of "America's Team."
This Super Bowl features teams with potent offenses and relentless defensive schemes. The outcome will be determined 10 key individual man on man matchups.
This is part one of my two-part series over viewing the matchups. Enjoy!
Green Bay Packers OLB Clay Matthews Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers OT Jonathan Scott
Clay Matthews is an absolute beast and a nightmare for any offensive lineman who dares to get in his way.
In his second year in the NFL, he made 13.5 sacks to go along with 60 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Matthews is a player that opposing offenses need to focus on the entire time he is on the field.
Advantage: Clay Matthews
Green Bay Packers NT B.J Raji Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Center
Steelers guard Chris Kemoeatu told the media that rookie center Maurkice Pouncey wouldn't be playing in the Super Bowl due to an ankle injury he suffered in the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets.
If Pouncey isn't able to go, Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji will be licking his chops at the chance to have another great game.
Raji Made 39 tackles and 6.5 sacks during the 2010 season and has made a sack, as well as intercepting a pass and returning it for a touchdown in the postseason.
Advantage: B.J. Raji
Green Bay Packers WR Greg Jennings Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ike Taylor
Greg Jennings is emerging as an elite wide receiver in the NFL and is forming a Reggie Wayne-Peyton Manning-esque relationship with Aaron Rodgers.
This season, Jennings made 76 receptions for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns, while adding another 17 receptions for 239 in the postseason.
Ike Taylor, veteran cornerback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, continues to prove that he is reliable, as displayed by his 66 tackles, 11 pass deflections, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
It will be interesting to see if Taylor has the speed to keep up with Jennings, who is an excellent route runner with great agility.
Advantage: Greg Jennings
Green Bay Packers LT Chad Clifton Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers OLB James Harrison
James Harrison has become a household name this year, due to his excessive fines for helmet to helmet hits, that resulted in changes of the NFL rules.
Harrison is a seasoned veteran and brings the heat on every down. Packers Chad Clifton is decent, but he was inconsistent in his pass protection throughout the year.
Clifton will have his work cut out for him as he takes on Harrison, who made 100 tackles, five of which for a loss, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, deflected five passes and forced six fumbles this year.
Advantage: James Harrison
Green Bay Packers ILB's A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall
The Packers are decent in defending the run, ranked 18th in the National Football League, allowing 114.9 yards on the round per game.
The Steelers are ranked 11th in rushing, averaging 120.3 yards per game, but running back Rashard Mendenhall has a knack for finding the endzone, as well as having the ability to break a big one.
On the year, Mendenhall rushed 324 times for 1,273 yards, scoring 13 touchdowns, behind a shoddy offensive line.
A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop lead the Packers in tackles, and are the primary run stoppers. Both are productive players: Hawk (111 tackles, 10 pass deflections, three interceptions) and Bishop (103 tackles, three sacks, eight pass deflections, two forced fumbles and an interception).
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