This matchup should be an epic showdown. Two of the NFL's greatest franchises will be going head to head on February 6th. Each team has playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Aaron Rodgers is a master signal caller for the Pack while Ben Roethlisberger knows how to win under the toughest of circumstances. On the defensive side of the ball, when the Packers unleash Clay Matthews, he knows how to lay the lumber on opposing QBs, while the Steelers boast one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game.
In a game filled with stars, each team does not go without its weaknesses. Exploiting those areas will be the key to success for both teams.
The Steeler Offensive Line.
Without emerging star Maurkice Pouncey, Doug Legursky has the challenged of dealing with an explosive defensive line barreling down on him. Dom Capers will be dialing up the blitzes and coming with packages this inexperienced center might have never seen.
This also put Roethlisberger in quite a bind. He is known for making plays with his feet and for being nearly impossible to bring down, but he is also known to make the occasional mistake, which could be all the Packers need to capitalize. With B.J. Raji providing pressure and plenty of blitzing linebackers and cornerbacks, Legursky has his work cut out for him.
The Packers Offensive Line.
This group has really come into their own as of late, but let's not forget just how dreadful they were last season. Rodgers was hung out to dry 50 times last year. I know they have come a long way, but they will have to deal with a formidable pass rush next Sunday. James Harrison is a man amongst boys, and Troy Polamalu knows how to utilize his quickness to get to opposing QBs. Just ask Joe Flacco, he knows all about it.
Rodgers, like Roethlisberger, is no stranger to making plays with his feet, but he is up against the big boys now. The Steelers defense can make stars look like rookies at times. Let's just hope Rodgers and his offensive line are up for the challenge.
The Steelers Cornerbacks.
While their run defensive is nearly impossible to crack, the Steelers corners can be shaky at times. Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden are not lock-down cornerbacks. Polamalu will be hovering out there in the secondary, but Rodgers has the ability to pick on mediocre corners.
Jennings and Driver have a knack for getting open and making catches in traffic. Jennings is a master of the double-move, and Driver is a fantastic compliment with his underneath pass catching ability. Let's not overlook James Jones and Jordy Nelson. These guys can make you pay as well.
Can the Steelers corners stick with the likes of this deadly bunch?
The Packers Running Game.
James Starks has found his stride in the postseason, leading all backs in rushing yards with 263. Up until now, the only real threat the Packers had on the ground was Aaron Rodgers, but Starks has shown up when his team has needed him the most. Can he keep it up against this top-notch group of veteran defensive linemen?
Probably not. He did slice and dice the Eagles, who were pretty soft against the run this year. He put up decent numbers against the Falcons and Bears, but they are not as stingy as this Steeler crew.
With the running game shut down, Aaron Rodgers will have to put the Packers on his shoulders. This is something he has done all year, but will he choke on the big stage? Starks needs to have a respectable game to lighten the load that Rodgers will have to carry.
Both teams deserve to be here. They went through diversity—the Packers have been hit by the injury bug all year, and the Steelers went 3-1 without their leader under center. Both Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy know how to get the job done, but the real question is who can use the others weaknesses to their advantage.
We will just have to wait until Super Bowl Sunday to find out.