Super Bowl XLV is right around the corner. The biggest game in American sports is upon us. Millions will be watching on television. They will be focusing on star players like Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, and Clay Matthews.
However, football is perhaps the most team oriented sport that in the U.S. One player cannot win a championship. It takes all 53 men on a roster to contribute and play well in order for a team to be successful.
Super Bowl XLV will not be decided by the star players. In fact, most games are not. Instead, the victor will be decided from unsung heroes. It will be the role players, the guys you don't talk much about, that will decide the outcome and ultimately decide the champion of the football world.
Although most fans have come to know who Maurkice Pouncey is, they don't know what it takes to be a center in the NFL.
He has a tough challenge in the Super Bowl as Packers DT B.J. Raji will be lining up right across from him.
Raji has dominated in all three games in these playoffs so far, and looks to make it one more. It will be up to Pouncey to protect Big Ben, and himself.
When you think about the Packers linebacker corps, you think about former 1st round pick A.J. Hawk and Defensive POY runner up Clay Matthews.
You don't necessarily hear the other two LBs names too often.
One of them is Desmond Bishop who plays the other ILB position next to Hawk.
He very quietly had a great season recording over 100 tackles and three sacks.
In the playoffs, he has 18 tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery.
Although Spaeth is without a catch so far this postseason, he is always a threat to score when the Steelers are in the red zone.
The Steelers run a lot of two tight-end sets. The better coverage will be on starter Heath Miller, and Spaeth should draw a more favorable match up.
Spaeth will make a big impact in this week's game, whether it be catching a touchdown or blocking for his running backs.
Chad Clifton may have the toughest task ahead of him this week. He will be in charge of protecting Aaron Rodgers' blind side.
He will also be responsible for blocking James Harrison coming off the edge, most the time.
Surely this will be a tough task for Clifton, but if he holds his ground, the better the chance Green Bay has at winning.
Antonio Brown, a rookie out of Central Michigan, has made a name for himself in the playoffs this season. He caught the 3rd and 19 pass off his helmet against the Ravens, which was critical in the Steelers win.
Brown has become a big play target for Big Ben this postseason averaging over 22 ypc.
Brown also plays on special teams guy and that is where I see him making an impact in this game. Green Bay's special teams are not the best. Look for Brown to have a big (kick or punt) return.
Mason Crosby will be very important in this game. The Packers are facing one of the best defenses in the NFL and maybe one of the best in this decade.
Aaron Rodgers will be able to only do so much. They won't score a TD with every possession.
That is where Crosby's big foot comes into play. Crosby may have one of the strongest kicking feet in the league and has proven he can hit FGs well over 50 yards.
That may be a deciding factor in determining the winner of this game. The Pack have the big edge at K.
We all know what Rashard Mendenhall brings to the table when he runs the football. He brings the power game, but also the ability to bounce outside.
Moore and Redman are the change of pace backups to Mendenhall, and will get some pretty tough carries this week. These two backs will be in on a lot of 3rd downs and will be asked to pick up some key 1st downs.
John Kuhn is the ultimate team player. Whether it be blocking for his RB, running for a tough 3rd and 1, or leaping over a defender to gain the extra yard or two, Kuhn has turned into a big time player for the Packers.
Throughout the season Kuhn has proven that he can run the ball, and do so well. He had a breakout season this year compiling almost 300 yards on the ground.
Over/Under 2: The amount of defenders Kuhn tries to leap over. I am going to say PUSH.
Flozell Adams may have as equally a daunting task as his counterpart Chad Clifton.
Adams will have the pleasure of trying to stop Clay Matthews.
Matthews already has 3.5 sacks in the postseason after leading the league with 13.5 in the regular season.
Adams will be key in the Pittsburgh offense. If the Steelers want Big Ben to feel comfortable in the pocket, the veteran Adams will have to be at the top of his game.
If you have watched any of the postseason this year, you will know why I picked a P as possibly the most important role player out there Sunday.
The rookie Masthay has been one of the best players on the Packers all year. He is averaging 44 yards per punt and has pinned opponents inside the 20 yard line over 25 times this season.
The Steelers present a big problem with their defense and the Packers will have to punt a significant number of times. It will be up to Masthay to pin the Steelers as far back as he can.