Friday, February 4, 2011

Bahtendah Wisdom - Super Bowl XLV Prediction

Packers Vs. Steelers
I'm just beginning to get used to the fact that the Patriots won't be playing in this year's Super Bowl so now that means we have to turn our attention to the teams that will actually be on the field Sunday at the JonesDome.  It looks to me to be a match of two fairly even teams.  Both have outstanding coaches, defenses and dynamic quarterbacks that are capable of single-handedly winning games.

So who has the edge?  I'll give the coaching edge to Tomlin.  He's been there before and he's won before.  Plus, McCarthy has had some serious clock management issues in the past so there's no telling what the pressure of the biggest game of the year might do to him.  Edge:  Steelers.

I also think the Steelers have a slight advantage in the running game.   James Starks has really stepped it up in recent weeks and John Kuhn is just a football player.  But I like the tandem of Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman just a little bit more (and don't forget about Mewelde Moore).  Mendenhall will have the bulk of the carries and he brings a special combination of speed and power to the position.  Edge:  Steelers.

The tight end position is a no-brainer.  Heath Miller is better than anyone Green Bay can throw out there.  Edge:  Steelers.

In terms of receivers, Green Bay has a slightly better assemblage than Pittsburgh.  Hines Ward is getting older and Mike Wallace is a one-trick pony.  Antwaan Randle El hasn't been much of a factor lately.  The Packers' grouping of Jennings, Nelson, Driver and Jones is a little more formidable.  It says here that Greg Jennings might be the most underrated receiver in the league.  Great athlete, great hands.  Edge:  Packers.

Everyone is jumping on the Aaron Rodgers bandwagon lately and he's done a great job carrying his team on the road to get to this point.  But his last game against the Bears wasn't that great and this is his first Big Dance.  Rothlisberger already has two rings, but he's nowhere near the pure passer Rodgers is.  They're two completely different quarterbacking styles.  Rodgers extends plays by getting out of the pocket and while Big Ben can run a little, he mostly extends plays with his size and strength within the pocket.  Edge:  Even.

As for the defenses, both teams are skilled and physical from front to back with plenty of playmakers.  It's a pick 'em between the two D-lines.  I like the Packers' linebackers but I'd give the the edge in the defensive backfield to the Steelers.  Edge:  Even.

In the kicking game, Mason Crosby is a proven vet while Shaun Suisham wasn't even on the Steelers roster to begin the year.  The punters are pretty much a push.  Edge:  Packers.

What does it all mean?  I think we'll see a tough, physical game primarily dominated by defenses that are loaded with playmakers.  In the end, although I'll hate to see "Rapelisberger" standing on the podium with a third trophy, I'm picking the Steelers, 24 - 17.  Bang.  Pay attention!