Steelers hold cards to Super Bowl victory

Saturday, February 5, 2011 Posted by the sportsloop team
Super Bowl XLV brings together two very evenly matched teams. The men from Green Bay and the steel men of Pittsburgh have had workmen-like seasons. Neither team has looked the pick of the bunch from their respective conferences, but nevertheless experienced heads and post season grit has prevailed and they now find themselves on the precipice of an unlikely championship. The Packers are currently 2.5 point favourites for the title—but this result is far from certain.

While Aaron Rodgers and the Packers rely heavily on a passing game that can rack up points quickly, the Steelers’ late season success has been built on their powerful defensive unit and the rushing of Rashard Mendenhall.

Mendenhall has been a shining light for Pittsburgh and the go to man for Ben Roethlisberger this season, rushing for 1273 yards including that memorable AFC championship performance against the New Yorks Jets. And it is his running game the Steelers will need if they’re to outscore a Green Bay side that knows its way to the endzone.

Mendenhall’s 121 yards against the Jets solid rush defence capped a ground breaking season for the third year running back out of Illinois but it now means he’ll have to deal with the added pressure of being heavily targeted in the biggest game of the year.

For the Packers the challenge will be not to over commit to a rush defence ranked 18th in the league. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers needs to install some confidence and consistency in his big men. While Ben Roethlisberger is still more than capable of making big plays this is the Packers' opportunity to expose an under-stength Pittsburgh offensive line and add to the big quarterback’s eight postseason sacks.

The Packers indecision and unorthodox defence was evident last week although this time to BJ “the Freezer” Raji’s benefit as he played in retreat, rolling off his oponent and intecepting a pass from Bears third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie, returning it 18 yards to the end zone.

On the other hand Packers fans wouldn’t have taken much comfort watching the young quarterback marching the Bears 60 yards in four plays and 59 seconds for a touchdown—and they won’t be facing inexperience this weekend.

The key for the Packers lies in their attack. Rodgers has been the dominant quarterback of the post season averaging over 260 yards per game. If the battering ram defence of Pittsburgh proves impotent on the day it could be a long afternoon for Steelers fans. The roof at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington will be closed which also favours Rodgers and his recievers who have a good record under the dome, out of the wind, and in passive conditions.  

While the Steelers look the more solid side with a reliable if not boring attack and formidible defensive line, they’ll need both to be at their best if they are to win their third Super Bowl in five years this Sunday.


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