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Sports Report 360 Presents: Superbowl XLV Report
Sunday February 6th, Pittsburgh Steelers (2) vs. Green Bay Packers (6) at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, 6:30 pm ET
The wait is finally over and the world will be watching one of the great sporting events of the year. A trip to Jerry’s World in Arlington, Texas where the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers. The Steelers are trying to win their third Superbowl in six seasons, while the Packers come into the game as the hotter team. The Steelers have been comfortable throughout the playoffs winning two home games at Heinz Field against the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets. However, the Packers come into this game fresh off of the momentum of winning three road games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears. The Superbowl marks the first road game of the playoffs for the Pittsburgh Steelers, while this is the first home game of the playoffs for the Green Bay Packers since the game is in Cowboys Stadium. Owner Jerry Jones wishes the Cowboys were playing in the game, but he will be pullling for the NFC team, the Green Bay Packers. Plenty of terrible towels will be in the air for the Steelers, but the Cheeseheads will bring even stronger support to Cowboys Stadium for the Packers. The game will be electric.
Offense: While the Steelers have a strong rushing attack and Big Ben Roethlishberger is capable of keeping plays alive in the passing game, the Packers have an advantage over the Steelers on offense. Aaron Rodgers loves playing indoors and would love to build on his 31-36, 366 yards, 3 touchdown performance against the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional playoff game. Aaron Rodgers will spread the Steelers’ defense out by distributing the ball around the field to his various playmakers Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Jordy Nelson. The Steelers can prepare to stop the run, but the Packers will have the Steelers’ linebackers and secondary chasing receivers all around the field.
Defense: The Packers have performed well throughout the season most notably Clay Matthews, BJ Raji, Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson; however, the Steelers have the advantage over the Packers on defense. Dom Capers is good, but Dick LeBeau is the best defense coordinator in the NFL and the Steelers were ranked number one in the NFL on defense for a reason. James Harrison is going to help the Steelers shut down the running game of the Packers. Troy Polamalu will be flying around the football field making tackles all over the field. The Steelers will be very aggressive looking to cause turnovers and make the Packers’ receivers pay for running their linebackers and secondary all around the field.
Special Teams: The game will feature many scoring opportunities. Both teams have excellent kickers. Mason Crosby leads the Packers successfully making 22 of 28 field goals and 46/46 pats on the season. Shaun Suisham leads the Steelers successfully making 14 of 15 field goals and 19/19 pats for Pittsburgh Steelers. With two weeks to prepare and the world watching, both teams may implement different wrinkles on punt and kick return situations. Look out for Antonio Brown who has made critical plays throughout the playoffs and gives the Steelers an advantage on kick and punt return.
Coaching: Coach Tomlin comes into Superbowl with a little chip on his shoulder seeking to prove his critics wrong who questioned his ability to lead the Steelers. Many critics have called Tomlin’s win in Superbowl XLIII a fluke and give most of the credit for the win to Dick LeBeau and Ben Roethlisberger, instead of Tomlin. A win here gives Coach Tomlin clear validation as one of the best coaches in the NFL. Coach Tomlin will stick to the traditional Steelers’ football gameplan, which involves controlling the ball through the running game, relying heavily on the defense to get stops and solid special teams play. Coach Tomlin wants this win bad. Around the NFL, there was a perception that the AFC was superior to the NFC because of the success of the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers over the last ten seasons. However, things may be quickly changing in the NFL. The Saints beat the Colts last year in Superbowl XLIV convincingly 31-17. The NFC is looking to start a streak of Superbowl wins. Coach McCarthy could win Superbowl XLV, which would give the NFC two Superbowl wins in a row over the AFC . That would be big. Coach McCarthy will be using Superbowl XLV as his platform to prove that he and Ted Thompson made the right decision three years ago to let Brett Favre go. Three years is a long time to wait for redemption and Coach McCarthy is going to have the Packers ready to go. Since, Bret Bielema and the Wisconsin Badgers let down the state of Wisconsin by losing the Rose Bowl to TCU, Coach McCarthy will be the king of Wisconsin for the rest of 2011 with a win here. Coach McCarthy’s gameplan will be to turn this game into a track meet, where the Packers pass frequently early in the game hoping to build a lead in order to set up running game late in the game. The Packers want to make the Steelers play from behind.
Who Wins: While the Steelers should feel more comfortable than the Packers since they have the team with more playoff and Superbowl experience, the Packers come into the game as the hottest team in the NFL. Momentum is very important. The Steelers will be nasty and ready to play, but this is the year of the beer and cheese state. The Packers will win Superbowl XLV by a touchdown and the NFC will win its second consecutive Superbowl in a row.