Bold Super Bowl Predictions: 5 Green Bay Packers Who Will Defy the Odds and Shine In Texas
The Super Bowl is finally right around the corner. It has been a long and exciting season in the NFL, but it's time for it to come to a dramatic finish.
This year's game will include two of the more historic NFL franchises, and I know I'm not the only one who's pumped for the opening kickoff.
One thing the Super Bowl is known for is making stars out of nobody. The world's biggest stage gives all the players the chance to show the nation their ability, and there's always a few every year that do just that.
This year will be no exception. Since this writer believes it will be the Packers who come out victorious, five Packers players will be discussed. They might not come in with a lot of expectations, but they will turn everybody's head.
Let the games begin.
James Starks isn't getting the credit he deserves. Yes, the Steelers are the best rushing defense in the league this season and, frankly, it's not even close. But still, look what Starks did to the second ranked rushing defense in the NFC Championship game.
22 carries, 74 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown.
Are those eye-popping numbers? No. But they are very respectable. When you take out Stark's last four carries when the Bear's knew the Packers were trying to run the clock, he had 18 carries for 73 yards. That's a 4.1 yards per carry.
Now, the Steelers rush defense is better than the Bears, but no one is really giving Starks a chance. Him having a "good" game would be to get a run of over five yards. I think it'll be a little different.
If Starks hasn't made a name for himself yet, he will after this Sunday.
70+ yards, a touchdown and no fumbles for the rookie.
Bryan Bulaga was drafted in the first round of last years draft and was expected to be a back-up to Chad Clifton. One season-ending injury to Mark Tauscher later and Bulaga is the starting right tackle for the Green Bay Packers.
He's 21 years old, he has short arms and we could have got Dez Bryant.
All reasons to pick on Bulaga, but to whoever critisized the Packers for selecting him with the 23rd overall pick, watch him closely this Sunday.
Now, Bulaga is not Maurkice Pouncey. Bulaga has shown this year that he can be prone to rookie mistakes such as penalties and missed assignments (see: Week 15 and Week 17). But Bulaga has also proven to be an irreplaceable asset.
If Bulaga had not been drafted, who would have replaced Tauscher? TJ Lang? He wouldn't have held up for 12 games like Bulaga had, let alone one game. Being the youngest player on the Packer's roster, it is understandable why he isn't as fundamentally sound as the rest of the offensive line. But on the plays that he doesn't commit a penalty and gets his assignment right, he is tough to break.
While that may sound obvious, it's really a testament to the job he's done. He has gotten the physical part of his game down as the year has progressed. If he doesn't commit stupid penalties this Sunday then Bulaga will remain relatively quiet in this game.
For an offensive lineman, that's a good thing.
With Erik Walden looking to be a game-time decision on Sunday, I expect Frank Zombo to either start or get a majority of the snaps in Dallas.
Who's Frank Zombo you might ask? Due to the ridiculous amount of injuries to the Packers' front seven, Zombo was forced into a starting role mid way through the season (and kept the job before he, too, got injured).
He played well in his time on the field, recording 4.0 sacks in eight starts at outside linebacker and forcing two fumbles. Having missed the Packers' last six games, including playoffs, he's getting no talk heading into the game. But, then again, neither would Walden if he was healthy.
Being the third rookie to make this list, Zombo should have a lot of butterflies heading into the game. Look for him to use that to get some big hits on the Steelers ball carriers early on.
Two sacks is not out of the question for this young man.
Do you want to know who I think will be MVP of Super Bowl 45?
Aaron Rodgers? Greg Jennings? Clay Matthews?
Nope. James Jones.
Why? I don't know. Just a feeling.
In reality though, Jones is a fantastic play maker for the Packers offense. Many people will point to his drop against the Eagles and say he can't be trusted, and maybe he can't. But Aaron Rodgers still has faith and when you're getting balls thrown your way you can make plays.
He's pretty good at that (see: NFC Divisional Round).
Jones had a very good regular season for the Packers, but he always seemed to drop a perfect pass at the most inopportune times. Week 9, Week 10, Week 16, Wild Card, all potential touchdowns.
How many drops does he have since the Eagles game though?
He may be overdue for a big one, but let that be in Week One next year. Jones catches his second touchdown of the game that wins the game for the Pack in the fourth quarter and is named MVP.
Horrendous in pass coverage, a complete joke on defense in general and overrated on special teams cause that's the Packers' weak spot.
Why is he still on this team?
So he can be here for this game.
All the talk last year was "Jarrett Bush needs to go" and "it's time for Bush to take his talents (talents?) else where". It was well-warented too because Jarrett Bush was hands down the worst defensive player in the league last year.
But Jarrett Bush wouldn't hear a word of it. Ted Thompson most definitely wouldn't hear a word of it. Final cuts came and went and Bush still had a roster spot. Like many Packers fans, a few tears came to my eye...
But if anybody is going to wash away those tears, it'll be Jarrett Bush himself. Bush has been remarkably better this year on defense (mainly due to the fact that Charles Woodson filed a restraining order on Bush making it illegal for him to be on the field at the same time) and has been steady on special teams.
In fact, he is one of the special teams captains for the playoffs. How has that turned out by the way?
Considering the Packers are in the Super Bowl, it's worked out pretty well.
Some Packers fans will remember in the game against the Steelers last year when Bush picked off Roethlisberger to win the game for the Pack late in the fourth. Unfortunately for Green Bay, it was called back for defensive pass interference away from the pick.
Look for the same thing to happen in this game, only this time it will stand. After Jones cements his Super Bowl MVP honors with a late 40 yard touchdown catch, Bush will ice the game for the Pack on the Steelers final drive.
Woodson took a water break.