Super Bowl XLV: 7 Keys to a Steelers Victory Over the Packers
Are you excited? Only six days until the Super Bowl. The Steelers have already arrived and now it's a matter of just playing the game.
I'm sure everything is set, the players know the game plan, and they are ready to become champions.
The only thing standing in their way are the Green Bay Packers and a red hot Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers won't be easy to beat, but if the Steelers follow these seven keys, they will leave Dallas Super Bowl Champions.
No. 7: Get Mendenhall Going Early
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Rashard Mendenhall had his way the Jets in the first half of the AFC Championship. Even when it looked like the Jets had him for a loss, he turned it into positive yardage.
He finished the day with 27 carries for 121 yards. The Steelers will need a similar type of performance in the first half of the Super Bowl.
Everyone is going to be excited and off their game a little bit, so it would be in the Steelers best interest to start off pounding the ball with Mendenhall.
This will get everyone settled down and will get the Steelers into a rhythm. As of late, the running game has been working rather well.
You know the old saying. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
No. 6: Continue To Be Special on Special Teams
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Special teams almost cost the Steelers a victory against the Ravens. They allowed the opening kickoff to be returned 50 yards, even though it was called back.
In the fourth quarter, they allowed a punt return for a touchdown, though that was called back as well.
Shaun Suisham missed a 43-yard field goal attempt, but made up for it in the second half with a 35-yarder to take the lead.
Needless to say, the Steelers caught a lot of breaks that game.
Against the Jets, the Steelers were much better. No long returns were allowed, Suisham made his only field goal and Antonio Brown popped off a couple long returns of his own.
That's what needs to happen against the Packers. Field position and points mean everything, especially in the Super Bowl.
No. 5: Do Not Become Air Heads
We all expect the Packers to air the ball out. That means it will be very tempting for Bruce Arians to do the same.
This cannot happen.
The Steelers need to stick with their balanced attack that has been working all season. Air Kordell is not what got the Steelers to the Super Bowl.
The reason why they are here is because they have been balanced on offense. Now that they are at the Super Bowl, there is no need for Bruce Arians to change that formula.
Unfortunately, this all falls on his shoulders. I hope he doesn't change it.
No. 4: Prevent from Using the Prevent Defense
For some reason, whenever the Steelers get a lead in the second half, they tend to switch to a prevent style of defense.
That means they play further off the receivers and drop more guys into coverage to prevent the big play. That formula has never worked for the Steelers.
Even if they don't give up the big play, teams still march down the field and get easy points on them. That's exactly what Aaron Rodgers will do if the Steelers go prevent.
It's unlikely that the Steelers will have a big enough lead to even go to the prevent defense. If they do, they must not play not to lose.
No. 3: Protect the Franchise
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Big Ben is the key to the Steelers success. Without him, the Steelers wouldn't even be here. Now that he's here, they have to protect him.
Unfortunately, all the Steelers have to protect him is a bunch of 300-plus pound guys, who'd probably be backups on another team. Most of them are backups now.
If things couldn't have gotten any worse, the Steelers lost their best lineman and center Maurkice Pouncey to a high ankle sprain and a broken bone in his left ankle.
Doug Legursky is a capable backup and will make the start Sunday.
I know. At this point it looks like Ben will get murdered out there. The offensive line can't have that mentality.
They have to go out there, do their jobs and not get manhandled all game. I've seen these guys have a perfect game or two, so I know they are all capable of performing well.
No. 2: Take Full Advantage of Any Turnovers
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The Packers are not a team that turns the ball over a lot. However, it's no given that they won't in the Super Bowl.
If they do, the Steelers must take full advantage. By that I mean turn the turnover into points, preferably seven.
The Steelers defense forced numerous turnovers this year. A bunch of those turned into zero points.
The offense would go three-and-out or shoot itself in the foot with costly penalties.
The Steelers can't afford to do that on Sunday. They must turn any turnovers they get into points. Even if it's three, points are points.
No. 1: Contain the Packers Passing Attack
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No question this is the most important thing for the Steelers.
Even though they gave up a lot of pass yards this season, they still finished 12th overall and led the league in yards per pass with 6.3.
No team can run on the Steelers so they are forced to pass the ball in order to win. It's likely the Packers will do just that, so the defense has to be ready.
Instead of dropping seven and eight and rushing three and four, the Steelers need to bring some heat on Rodgers.
They can't afford to just sit back and let him pick the secondary apart like Brady and Brees did.
When the Steelers blitz, they have to blitz with control. Aaron Rodgers isn't big, but he is slippery. If you don't bring him down, he will take off for some nice chunks of yardage.
The Steelers also have to keep Rodgers out the end zone. He's going to get his passing yards in, no doubt, but if the Steelers keep him from scoring, then it will still be a victory for the secondary.
If the Steelers stick to these seven keys, they will win Super Bowl XLV.