That sound you heard across America was Green Bay Packers fans putting their cheeseheads on in unison.
Super Bowl XLV is less than two hours away as of this posting, and for Packers fans, the anticipation is drawing to a fever pitch. The first Super Bowl involving the Green and Yellow has Packers fans so pumped up that Lil' Wayne even made a song to counter Wiz Khalifa.
So with the Super Bowl a couple of hours away, it's appropriate to start making some last-minute predictions about the game tonight. Everything from who will be the key playmakers—to will the Packers win the Super Bowl?
Here are 10 Last Minute Packer Predictions for Super Bowl XLV.
If you believe in streaks and superstitions, then the Packers should have at least one thing going for them. The NFC has won the last 13 coin tosses, regardless of whether the NFC representative is the home or road team. The Packers will be the home team, so the Steelers will call the coin toss. But the Packers have that going for them.
(Of course, the NFC is also 3-10 in those 13 Super Bowls.)
Much has been made about the injury that has kept Polamalu in-and-out of the game the last couple of weeks. But we've also heard about the impact Polamalu has on the Steelers defense just by being on the field. Aaron Rodgers knows the type of player Polamalu is and knows how good he is. But that doesn't mean Rodgers will shy away from him either.
Starks has been one of the pleasant surprises during this postseason, especially early on. But the Steelers have the best defense the Packers have faced so far this postseason, especially against the run. Starks will have trouble finding holes against the Steelers' defense and getting around those linebackers, so don't be surprised if Starks struggles.
Other than becoming a fan favorite in Green Bay, Kuhn has also become the most dependable back the Packers have on third down and short-yardage situations. With yards expected to be at a premium, especially on the ground, Kuhn will have a big role as a bruising runner and a receiver in the flat. He'll need to keep doing what he's been doing to give the Packers a better chance to win.
Rodgers has been unreal the last month, but like I mentioned, the Steelers are the best defense he's faced this postseason. The Steelers have the ability to pressure and get to the quarterback. I'd be really surprised if Rodgers has the time he's had at other points during the playoffs and the last few weeks. The question will be, can he take the heat? My money's on yes.
Rotoworld.com is reporting the defensive end Smith is listed among the Steelers' inactives, which is not surprising, considering he hasn't played in a couple of months.
Ziggy Hood will start in place of Smith again, and while he has played very well, this is also the biggest stage of his career. If the Packers want to be balanced and run the ball, I'd expect them to run at Hood.
With Maurkice Pouncey out, Raji now gets to line up against rookie Doug Legursky today. And while Legursky will have the benefit of two weeks of reps with the first-teamers, he'll still have to face a pretty big defensive tackle in Raji who can penetrate and cause havoc in the backfield.
Raji needs to have a big day, and he has the potential to do so, now that the matchup favors him.
Sorry Packer fans, but you'll know two things are coming that you won't want to see during the Super Bowl other than the Justin Bieber-Ozzy Osbourne commercial. We all know that the video of Brett Favre, running around with his helmet off during Super Bowl XXXI will come up, followed by more talk about the Rodgers-Favre mess and possibly Super Bowl XXXII. Then you'll probably hear about Ben Roethlisberger's game-winning TD pass to Mike Wallace as time expired last season to seal a Pittsburgh win.
Sorry, Packers fans, but you know it's coming.
Both these quarterbacks have the potential to be phenomenal on the big stage and have the ability to light it up (they did last season when the Packers and Steelers met each other). But the truth is, both of these defenses are too talented and too good to let what happened last year happen again. The Steelers can be exploited at cornerback, but their linebackers and Polamalu are ballhawks. And the Packers' cornerback corps might be some of the best cover men in the league.
I wouldn't be surprised to see at least a couple of turnovers on each side.
Like I mentioned in the previous slide, both of these defenses are too talented to let what happened last year happen again. The Steelers will control the clock with the running game and the Packers will attack the Steelers' corners will short passes.
That said, expect a close game late in the fourth quarter where one of these defenses will capitalize on a mistake. I'm taking the Packers 24-20—with the game-winning score coming off of a turnover.