Most of the Super Bowl 2011 preview-talk has been reserved for the starting quarterbacks—Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers—as well as the two defenses.
For a game that doesn't give either way on paper, it's difficult to think of an immediate advantage one team has over the other. The game will require a special performance, or an x-factor.
Here is a list of 10 Green Bay Packers who could make a difference in Super Bowl XLV.
Second-year defensive tackle B.J. Raji already made himself known in the 2011 playoffs, thanks to a pick-six in the NFC Championship Game vs. the Chicago Bears.
The big man's impact could be great in the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey will not play, which means the Steelers' second line of defense will have to pick up the pieces against the 337-pound tackle.
Raji will be a key in pushing back the Steelers running game. With the cornerbacks Green Bay has at their disposal, forcing the Steelers into long-passing downs will be very important.
Raji will also have to do his best at keeping Ben Roethlisberger from scrambling around. Many defensive lineman have had trouble in the past with Roethlisberger's size, but Raji might be an exception considering his bulk.
If the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has a weakness, it might be on the perimeter with their corners. However, long-developing pass plays are music to the Steel Curtain's ears, considering their pass-rush, smoke and mirror blitz schemes and the way that Troy Polamalu can disrupt a quarterback's rhythm.
If you want to throw against Pittsburgh, quick run-after-catch pass plays are your best bet.
Thankfully for the Green Bay Packers, they thrive on that type of offensive system.
Donald Driver and Greg Jennings aren't big, leaping receivers. They both are reliable, quick pass-catchers who get up-field in a hurry. Donald Driver should be able to put immediate pressure on the Steelers corners and possibly help open up running lanes.
In a game where red-zone scoring, or even getting into opposing territory, will run at a premium, special teams will be of increased importance.
Mason Crosby, the Green Bay Packers' 26-year-old kicker, will have to come on in at least one field-goal situation. He could come on for seven in a game like this.
He has to have ice in his veins. The psyche of the kicker might take the biggest beating in Super Bowl games, with Adam Vinatieri being an exception.
Crosby better bring his game face (and boot).
Yep, that means you too, Mr. Punter.
Many are doubting this game is going to be an offensive fireworks-show. Sometimes, especially in the college ranks, punters can go into the biggest game in decades and never even touch the field.
Seems like the life, right?
Well, that's not happening on this stage. Tim Masthay better have his clutch punting ironed out, because nothing would be more devastating than a shank that puts the Steelers on the Packers 48-yard line.
Coffin-corner punting is what this guy has been training to do his entire life. He'd better be ready.
Tramon Williams has arguably been the Packers x-factor so far this postseason, so leaving him off this list would be unforgivable.
As a starting cornerback and punt returner, the potential for big, game-changing plays from No. 38 is doubled.
He's been a ball-hawk this postseason, and is one of the better one-on-one cornerbacks in the game. Plus, it helps that all-world corner Charles Woodson plays on the other side.
A lot of balls come Williams' way, and he's been pretty good at making quarterbacks pay. He might make a punter pay, too.
Troy Polamalu won't be the only head of hair attacking offensive players on Sunday.
Rookie linebacker Clay Matthews has quickly become one of the more popular young players in the game, thanks to his ferocious playing style and his hair-cut (or lack thereof).
The outside linebacker will be very busy trying to contain Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers running game.
Matthews' motor on defense is something required to have success against the Steelers. Green Bay has a set of high-flying linebackers who should be able to get their jobs done, but it's the rookie who might be called upon to make impact plays as the blitzing linebacker.
Ah, yes, the folk hero of Green Bay Packers football—John Kuhn.
The Packers' third-string tailback has been a tough-yardage utility player since 2007.
In a game like the one coming Sunday, power and dirty work holds much more importance than finesse.
John Kuhn and his silly, uncoordinated looking dump-passes of six and seven yards could roll into one big difference-making performance if he's given the opportunity.
In this day and age, the tight end can basically always be deemed a potential x-factor.
Andrew Quarless has had to step in this year following an injury to Packers starting TE Jermichael Finley. His postseason output so far has been four receptions for 41 yards.
But, Quarless may very well have to make a clutch catch here and there to save the game.
The Packers were criticized all year about not having a championship-type running game.
Enter rookie running back James Starks.
The youngster from Buffalo has burst onto the scene, and has carried 70 times in the playoffs for 263 yards.
We aren't ready to call him a superstar yet, but watching a rookie tailback grind out a Super Bowl win for a team who apparently couldn't run would be impressive.
Starks has a nice burst and patience about his running game, which is pretty important when playing against a confusing, swarming defense like Pittsburgh's.
Special teams are going to be pretty important in this game, as stated earlier.
Sam Shields is another two-part player who could end up having a huge impact on the Super Bowl.
Shields starts at nickel-back for the Packers, and also returns kickoffs.
Big kickoff returns and and cutting away hot routes will be his job description, and it could be a make-or-break job.