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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quick Hits: Final Super Bowl Thoughts and Score Prediction

Well folks, we're less than 24 hours from kick-off. Here are my final thoughts on the Super Bowl in 400 700 words or less.

On paper, I think the Packers have the edge in this game. If Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy were to thrown down their cards like a game of Pokemon, I think the Packers win.

But football, as we know, is not clean like a card game. There are too many variables.

The Steelers have a good chance to win, but it's going to require them doing two things to alter the natural arithmetic of the card game:

A Steelers victory requires two things:

1. Disrupting Aaron Rodgers


2. Protecting Ben Roethlisberger

Without the Steelers getting considerable pressure on Rodgers, he will pick them apart all day. The Steelers secondary with Troy, Ryan Clark and Ike Taylor is good. But four Ronnie Lott's couldn't stop Aaron Rodgers right now if he has time to throw. Unless the Steelers pressure Rodgers, force him into bad throws and generally make him uncomfortable, he throws for 350+ yards and the Packers score at will.

The Steelers Offensive Line is going to be the most interesting thing to watch tomorrow. With Pouncey officially out, Doug Legursky is about to become either a Super Bowl legend or a Super Bowl goat. Luckily, he's had two weeks to prepare for this game which should prevent the exchange difficulties he had in the AFC Championship game. But a 900lb. B.J. Raji staring him in the face is going to make it difficult. We all know Roethlisberger excels when forced out of the pocket, but his O-line has to give him at least enough time to escape the pocket. If Raji powers past Legursky and Matthews finds a way through the line, Ben won't have to time to do anything but fall down. The Steelers O-Line must exceed expectations and give Ben time to throw both from the pocket and on the run. If they don't do this, the Steelers offense won't be able to move the ball. Mendenhall will help take pressure of Ben, but make no mistake, Ben will have to make plays if the Steelers hope to win. And to make plays, he will need time.

Of course there are things the Packers must do to win as well. But after analyzing this game all week, I think the pressure is on the Steelers to get these two things done. Rodgers is automatic right now. And the Steelers O-line is much less a sure bet than Green Bay's. If we ran the numbers in a computer, I think Rodgers has a monster game and the Steelers O-line comes up short. Thus, it is up to the Steelers to alter the natural course.

Having said all this, I believe the Steelers can get it done. I think Harrison will come out like a man possessed. And while I don't know how it's going to happen, I think the Steelers O-Line will give Ben enough time to make the plays he needs to win.

As you know I am a sports pessimist. And while I try hard to refute the Karma argument, part of me believes it more than anything else. The way the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII was so incredible. It was so amazing. I thought as it was happening, "if you can just make this happen, I will be content for a long time." Of course, our content-ness ends as soon as we have an opportunity for more.

But I truly wonder if the football gods can genuinely give more after giving me Ben to Holmes two years ago.

Of course, there probably are no football gods. It's 22 guys on a field playing their guts out. And when push comes to shove, I think the Steelers will find a way to win. Or at least I have 16 hours to convince myself I think that.

More than anything though, enjoy the game. Here's to hoping you get to spend it with good friends and cold beverages. A special shout-out to our International readers in the UK, Canada, Ghana, Ukraine and Malaysia. We're not sure who all of you are, but we appreciate your readership and hope you're enjoying this great American holiday in corners of the globe. 

A close one throughout, but I'm with Johnny Dollar. The Steelers score in the final minute to win 31-30.

Here we go Steelers, here we go!

1 comment:

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