Super Bowl 2011: Breakdown, Odds for Four Potential Matchups

Ryan FallerAnalyst IJanuary 17, 2011

Super Bowl 2011: Breakdown, Odds For Four Potential Matchups

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  A fan of the New York Jets holds up a Jets Jersey which reads 'Super Bowl 45' against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Now that the NFL playoff field has been whittled down to four, it’s time to ponder what lies ahead. The conference championship matchups have been determined, and in a week’s time we’ll know who will be playing for a Super Bowl title.

    Until then, let’s take a quick skim over each of the four pairings we could be treated to Feb. 6 in Dallas.

Green Bay vs. New York

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31:  Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a play as LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets looks on on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIs
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Why it could be great: Two of the league’s better young quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Mark Sanchez would make for an entertaining duel, as would the Jets’ ground-and-pound attack against a Packers defense that seems to get stingier by the week.

    Why it could be awful: There’s always the possibility that history repeats itself. In Week 8, Green Bay and New York slogged through four quarters of football so uninspiring that only the most hardened of purists would applaud. The Packers left The Meadowlands 9-0 winners, but only after the two teams combined to convert nine of 31 third downs and complete only 31 of 72 passes.

    Odds of it happening: Actually pretty good, perhaps as high as 75 percent, given each team’s proven ability to win on the road this postseason.

    Outcome: Green Bay, 28-20

Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 20: Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts to break through a tackle by AJ Hawk #50 of the Green Bay Packers during the game on December 20, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Get
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Why it could be great: Two of the NFL’s five best defenses, that’s why. Green Bay allowed only 309 yards per game in the regular season, but Pittsburgh, led by 73-year-old defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, was better. The Steelers, ranked second in total defense, surrendered an average of 276 yards. Points would be at a premium, but who cares when both defenses are laying the wood on every series?

    Why it could be awful: For the very reason I just mentioned. At what point during a 6-3 Super Bowl do the commercials become more enthralling and amusing than the actual game?

    Odds of it happening: Significantly lower than the aforementioned Green Bay-New York matchup. Though it’s away from home, I consider Green Bay’s task to be less arduous than that of Pittsburgh, who tripped out of the gates at home this weekend and now must deal with perhaps the hottest among the four remaining playoff teams.

    Outcome: Pittsburgh, 17-14

Chicago vs. New York

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 26: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears looks for a receiver as David Harris #52 of the New York Jets rushes at Soldier Field on December 26, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jets 38-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Get
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Why it could be great: There could be an interesting ebb and flow to this game, not unlike the Bears' 38-34 win over New York in Week 16.

    Both offenses have shown big-play ability in the playoffs, but neither defense is interested in giving up much. Perhaps more than any other potential Super Bowl pairing, this one could lull you to sleep, but often games that are played between the 20s and riddled with field position battles are decided by that one unexpected play that makes all the boredom worthwhile.

    Why it could be awful: In terms of pregame trash talk, the war of words between Rex Ryan and the mild-mannered Lovie Smith would be a one-sided affair worthy of a 10 on the suck-o-meter. As for the game, the outcome could be determined by Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler and which decides to throw into quadruple coverage the least often.

    Odds of it happening: In my mind, the least likely of the four potential Super Bowl matchups. Let’s go with 15-1.

    Outcome: New York, 28-14

Chicago vs. Pittsburgh

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 20: Lance Briggs #55 of the Chicago Bears stares at Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers before the start of play on September 20, 2009 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Steelers 17-14. (Photo by
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Why it could be great: Two of professional football’s most storied franchises—Chicago has the most all-time wins; Pittsburgh, the most Super Bowl victories—meet in the title game for the first time. Enough said.

    Why it could be awful: Neither offensive line can block air, so it would not be out of the realm of possibility that each defense could rack up six or more sacks. If it were to happen, that’s when you would see Lovie Smith and Mike Tomlin break out their familiar deer-in-headlights look.

    Odds of it happening: OK but by no means great. Maybe 5-1. Both teams face tremendously confident opponents next weekend, but the home field advantage will even things out, you would think.

    Outcome: Chicago, 20-17

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