It's been a long two weeks since we've known the Packers would be facing the Steelers in todays Superbowl, but I think that I've finally made a decision about who to pick. The short of it is, I gotta go with the Steelers and big (10 or more points) for my prediction.
My reasoning, well let's start here:
QBs - Both Big Ben and Rodgers are good to great QBs. The biggest thing is Big Ben's experience in this big game. Yes, you have to win one to get experience, but I don't think that I'm worried about the normally unflappable Rodgers. I think both of these guys are going to play well but I doubt it comes down to either of them winning the game. With that said, I have to go with experience.
Defense - I like the Packers defense because they are able to bring pressure, with the blitz, and they can cover with Williams and Woodson out there. Like my coach once told me, the quarterback can't throw if he's on his back. I expect the Packers to get some pressure on Big Ben, but for some reason he doesn't make a lot of bad throws. As good as the Packers defense is, I just think the Steelers are better. That 3-4 that they run is nasty with stopping the run and although the Packers' corners are better, I like the Steelers safeties. Polamalu will be a big difference in this game.
Coaching - Mike Tomlin exudes a confidence that doesn't even border on cockiness. He's been here before with this team and knows what it takes to be successful. He directs this Steeler ship and they've won when no one thought they would (first 4 games of the year). Mike McCarthy has done a great job with getting his team prepared to make the playoffs and then go on the road and dominate the Falcons and the Bears. I have to think that he will prepare, as usual, but I think that the experience is the factor here. He's got enough guts to take some chances with the way Rodgers and his defense are playing so that may end up biting him in the butt.
Keys to Winning (Steelers) - Lots of Mendenhall on the ground to establish the running game, but to also keep Rodgers on the bench. Look for a few big plays from Wallace and Heath Miller. The defense will have to find a way to keep these explosive Packers wideouts in front of them and they have to make tackles. Any misses can easily turn into TDs.
Keys to Winning (Packers) - Find a way to run the ball. This Steelers defense is about as dominant as you can get with stopping the run, but the Packers have had success in the playoffs with the threat of the run. The offensive line will need to protect Rodgers and keep him from taking a lot of hits and sacks. The Packers defense will have to get some takeaways and make them count (turn them into TDs). The Packers are going to need another big game from their defensive line (Raji and Jenkins), especially with Legursky starting for Pouncey.
All in all, I expect this to be a good game. Two very good teams and the game will be inside so no weather issues to worry about. Again, I am picking the Steelers and we'll see what happens.
Who you got?