Friday, February 4, 2011


      Green Bay

Two of the most storied franchises in NFL history meet in the house that Jerry Jones built in hopes it would be his team celebrating a Super Bowl win here in his house, but it won’t be.  It will either be Super Bowl win # 7 for the Steelers or #4 for the Green Bay Packers.  Anyone who has read any of my previous articles all season long knows that I am a faithful cheesehead till the day I die.  There is no changing that.  However, I believe I generally keep those feelings out of my articles and predictions.  This article is the toughest yet to write because of that fact however.  These two teams matchup extremely well against each other.  You have the top two scoring defenses in the NFL meeting on its biggest and grandest stage.  You have two young QBs making a name for themselves in two of the best NFL cities in the country.  Ok, now it’s time for my keys to victory for both teams.

First – Keys to victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

#1 – The Defensive Player of the Year needs to play like he has in the playoffs, not the regular season.  He is one heck of an explosive playmaker in the secondary, but his regular season performance was average at best.  But you look at 3rd down and he practically disappears (10 tackles/assists, 1 INT and 3 PD all season).  If the Packers try to establish any kind of running game, whether they have success or not, it will leave them in some 3rd down situations, and Troy is going to need to step up his game.  His best statistical performances came against average or below average QBs (Buffalo, Cincinnati, Oakland, and Miami).  Against Brees and Brady, in 2 total games he had only 6 tackles and 0 other stats (sacks, INT or passes defensed). 

#2 – The defense as a whole needs to find a way to control a high powered offense.  So far this season, they played 3 high powered offenses and beat only 1 (ATL in week 1 before they really got their offense rolling and Matt Ryan still threw for 250+ yards).  In their losses to New Orleans and New England, Brady and Brees threw for a combined 650+ passing yards with 5 TDs and 1 Int.  With the Super Bowl being played indoors, these are the conditions the Packers LOVE with their high powered offense.  The Steelers have to find a way to cover 3 and sometime 4 WRs that all have good speed and even better hands. 

#3 – Run the ball and control the clock.  Do not get into a shoot out with the Packers.  That would spell instant death to your title dreams.  Everyone in the country knows Green Bay isn’t going to have a dominant running game Sunday, but they will probably still try to establish something.  The Steelers offensive line needs to eat their Wheaties and man up, because there are 3 HUGE men lining up across from them on Sunday.  B.J. Raji is a mammoth of a man lining up at NT for the Pack.  If Pouncey can suit up and play, he needs to be 100% or the Steelers better give him help (which will cause other issues that will be discussed later).  The need to establish that they own the line of scrimmage from the start and really take it over. 

#4 – Don’t give free chances.  That means no turnovers and limit the penalties.  The Steelers committed 100 penalties this season for over 900 yards.  The Packers on the other hand had the 3rd fewest penalty yards (617) in the entire league and 4th lowest in penalties committed (78) (and those stats include the horrid 1st meeting against the Bears where they were penalized 18 times for 152 yards).  You can’t give an offense like Green Bay’s a short field or extra downs. 

Key’s to victory for the Green Bay Packers.

#1 -  The Quarterback must go down and he must go down hard and often.  Dom Capers said it best of his defenses performance against Big Ben in 2009 when he said we had 5 sacks which is a good game, but we had a chance at 5 more which would have made it a great game.  Big Ben is a strong, slightly mobile quarterback.  You are not going to arm tackle this guy, you have to put a body on him and make sure you secure his right arm quickly so he can’t throw the ball away.  The Packers D under Dom Capers leadership has been able to get pressure on QBs in a multitude of ways and that needs to continue this weekend.

#2 – Keep the game at their pace.  The Packers offense is a rhythm offense.  They really on getting some rhythm into their passing game and that makes their receivers especially dangerous, especially on the short slant patterns.  My feeling is the Steelers want to run the ball and thus the clock and try to win the time of possession battle and thus make the game at their pace.  The Packers need to keep their offense flowing and get Rodgers into a rhythm.

#3 – Protect Rodgers.  Attention Packers offensive linemen.  Aaron Rodgers is your only hope for a Super Bowl title.  Keep him upright.  That means picking up Woodley and Harrison while also picking up the blitzing corner or Polamalu.  They have to limit the hits Rodgers takes Sunday.  Also, when the Steelers blitz, they have to create the lanes they did similar to how they did against ATL and CHI to allow Rodgers room to scurry for 8-15 yards.  They need that kind of production and protection this weekend.

#4 – Don’t give up on James Starks, Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn.  Every person in America knows the Packers don’t have a consistent running game, but that doesn’t mean they should give up and forget about it.  The play action passing game is vital to their deep crossing patterns and go patterns down the sidelines.  Starks, Jackson and Kuhn will probably have close to 22 combined carries and even if they only average 3.5 yards a carry, that is probably enough of a running impact  to keep the Pittsburgh defense honest and not be able to all out blitz constantly.  Jackson and Starks have shown they can bust one up the middle for 15-30 yards at any time.  One or two of those runs will open up additional passing lanes and get the linebackers on their heels.

No matter how this game goes down, I can’t imagine it not being a game for the ages.  The atmosphere is going to be absolutely electric both inside and outside the stadium.  I find it crazy that the NFL agreed to include the fans watching the make shift jumbotron outside the stadium into the actual attendance figures but that’s what happens when Jerry Jones is involved.  I am looking forward to a hard fought game that will probably be close going into the fourth quarter until one team pulls away.

The team hoisting the Lombardi Trophy will be…….

Green Bay Packers – 31
Pittsburgh Steelers – 23

Written by Ryan P aka Fuzzy

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