Packers XLV

Momentum Vs. Experience & 5 Other Key Matchups

Posted February 1st, 2011 @ 03:02pm

The main storyline heading into Sunday's game is the Steelers' experience vs. the young, charging 6th seed that rolled through three road games to get here. It means a lot that this is Pittsburgh's third visit to the biggest game on the planet in the past six years, while only two Packers have ever played on this stage.

It means a lot between now and  kickoff. Once the game begins, it's a game. A big game, yes, but experience goes out the window when you start hitting people. Everyone was ready to crown the unbeaten Patriots a few years ago, until young Eli Manning and an "inexperienced" Giants team shocked Belichick, Brady and the world. Give me momentum every time and the Packers have it.

What will really matter are the results of five key matchups. Whichever team wins the majority of these duels will be world champs:

1. Chad Clifton vs. James Harrison Clifton has faced elite pas rushers throughout the playoff and has more than held his own against the likes of Trent Cole, John Abraham and Julius Peppers (except for whiffing that one time on Peppers, allowing the helmet to helmet hit that dazed and bloodied Rodgers). He'd better be ready for Harrison, who finished third in the defensive player of the year derby, but had the credentials to win it. He makes his biggest plays in the biggest games and he'll come at you every play. If the Packers try to spread out and go four and five wide, it will give Harrison an easier path to Rodgers. Clifton has to win this matchup, or else Rodgers will be running for his life all night.

2. Bryan Bulaga vs. Lamarr Woodley While we're at it, things are just as intriguing on the right side, where the Packer rookie has grown by leaps and bounds but at 21, needs to harness all of his excitement and nervousness and keep the veteran Woodley away from Rodgers. If the Packers are stacking the WRs, Bulaga won't have a lot of help and needs to contain the Steelers' "other" pass rushing linebacker.

3. B.J. Raji vs. Doug Legursky This one is tilted the Packers' way. Though rookie Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey has not been officially ruled out as I write this, all reports point to the former undrafted lineman out of Marshall replacing him. Yes, I know, he's a capable guy. He's started a bit at guard and filled in capably in the AFC Title game. But now he has to handle an emerging star in Raji who is big enough to eat up the space of two and agile enough to get to Roethlisberger. The Steelers will no doubt give Legursky help in this matchup, which could pave the way for a guy like Cullen Jenkins to make plays.

4. Clay Matthews III vs. Flozell Adams Sorry, Steelers fans, this is not 2001. This is not the Cowboys version of Flozell Adams. He's filled in adequately on the right side, but Matthews has way too much speed and intensity for Adams to handle. The question will be whether Matthews can wrap up and bring down Big Ben, because he will get to him.

5. Jones & Nelson vs. Gay & Madison If Rodgers has time on Sunday, the passing game should feast on this secondary. Greg Jennings should have his way with Bryant McFadden. But I get the feeling either James Jones or Jordy Nelson is going to make a name for himself Sunday. In William Gay and Anthony Madison, a couple of short-ish corners, the Steelers find themselves vulnerable. We know it will be a fast track; Rodgers gets to wear his comfy leather shoes and he'll come out slinging it. As Kurt Warner learned too late in Super Bowl XLIII, by putting a bunch of WRs on the field, the Steelers are forced to change the way they line-up and there will be mismatches. Nelson has been great, particularly on third downs in the playoffs and Jones is due for one of his good games in his roller coaster season. The plays will be there for both of them.

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on February 18th, 2012 at 01:18am

Great blog Siny, I like how you broke it down. I said it week 3 that Andrew Quarless would lead the team in receiving yards in the super bowl, and I stand by my prediction. Here's two of my key matchups: Mike MC vs. Dick-the-stick (DC): This game will be won within the headsets. Whoever calls the most trick plays will win. Jarret Bush vs. Return game: The Packers have been terrible towel lately when it comes to containing dangerous returners. I expect the Steelers to have Troy Polomalu back there on punts and kicks, so Jarret better be ready to tackle him at his knees.

on February 1st, 2011 at 10:51am

Davy....Great individual takes...I will emphasize what I have all year: (1) Win third downs on offense and defense.....this is what wins and builds individual and team legacy's. (2) Win the turnover ratio by making big plays... (3) Keep MM agressive in his play calling and clock not sit on leads...(4) Solid special teams play....(5) despite his game against the Bears they will pick on Sam Shields..he will need safety help....(6)...contain and gang tackle Big Ben..he is not Cutler or Ryan he can buy a lot of time to find receivers. Just a hunch....if we win Kuhn will be the MVP !! GO PACK GO !!!

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on February 28th, 2012 at 02:21pm

Dear PA: Please stop selling out. Funny how last year and even parts of this season you said on air that you didn't despise the Packers because you hadn't grown up here. Now you suddenly "despise" our squad. Those of us that have listened to PA and Dubay (now the 9-noon show) know how you have spoken in the past. We understand that as the Vox for the Viqueens, you have to adjust your public stance. We know the local purple crowds have been down on your lack of vitriol for the Green and Gold and so now you feel obliged to state"on air" how much you can't stand us. --Those of us in the know don't buy it. Its ok to like the Packers. Don't sell out to your boss or the rubes that call in. They won't stop listening, just because you don't hate the Packers. Be a man and take off that skirt. Be yourself. That's what makes your show good.----------ps. Kevin Gorg needs to stick to hockey...this morning he said that he was worried that Wallace and Hines Ward were going to test the Packers deep. Someone needs to tell KG that Hines Ward is 58 years old and hasn't run a route longer than 12 yards in 5 seasons...........stick to hockey rube. Go Pack!

on February 2nd, 2011 at 06:19pm

SchenyS and John... I like and agree with you guys.. realize that PA is a paid schill of the Vikes. I have listened to him since he started . If you really want more national sports radio coverage from this time slot switch over to KSTP 1500 ESPN sports with Colin Covert. He is more entertaining and much more informative. The only thing PA offers is a local angle on local sports teams....but he is not at all objective....he is a younger Sid Hartman....a paid cheerleader whose bosses (the Vikes) would not want him talking positive for the Pack. It was kind of totally classless that when we beat Atlanta and Chicago he did not have the Atlanta pastor guy on and when Chicago was beat Lavelle Neal did not come on versus Davy. If we had lost you can bet those guys would have been on versus Davy to give smack. It was totally bush.....and a lot of people who listen agree with me. But....again this is not a Packer station so having Davy on is a plus that we should enjoy. GO PACK GO !!!

on February 2nd, 2011 at 06:51pm

This whole experience thing is getting a little old, and does anyone notice how much play the steelers are getting on every network? Honestly how many first time quarterbacks have won the superbowl? P.A. had Kevin Gorg on this morning and talked about how they keep their heads separate from their heart. Yet they say i have "disdain" for the green and gold and they pick the steelers. I'm just really excited to see the "9th" best QB in the league raise that Lombardi Trophy and bring it home. I'm a classically trained chef and ill be the first one to bring some crow to the Paul Allen Project monday morning.

on February 2nd, 2011 at 10:18am

It has been, is, a fun week to savor the calm before the battle. I'm not nearly as anxious this week, which is probably about the opponent. My fear earlier in the years was after Chillar went down we would not be able to cover the Tight End. So for me, that is still the key. If we can contain their TEs, we can win.

on February 2nd, 2011 at 10:44am

OSSG, I too have started listening to Colin Cowerd on 1500. He has some very entertaining opinions. It's a shame though, because I used to really enjoy PA &Dubay. PA didn't have to be such a "paid shill" as you put it because Dubay was the Minnesota rube. Now PA has to be the rube and he's just not very believable. --He loves the Packers deep down, just can't admit it on air. --- It all works for me though since we get to hear Wayne Larravie on air on Friday. Go Pack!

on February 3rd, 2011 at 06:26am

All intriguing match-ups a couple more to ponder: Hawk v. Roethlisberger - perhaps a reflection of Bruce Arians and Dom Caper, yet player experience and instinct will materialize on the field. The two Mikes: McCarthy v. Tomlin. Such a classy respectful meeting, I'm not going to cloud it with expectation. Special Teams Strong > Fans Loud! Go Pack.

on February 3rd, 2011 at 06:29pm


on February 3rd, 2012 at 03:52am

One other matchup to watch–Aaron Rodgers Vs.Troy Polamalu. Can Aaron move him with his eyes on certain passing plays and where Troy is on the field could greatly help Aaron determine what the Steelers are doing defensively. If Aaron has done his film homework, this may be the biggest element to a Packers when. It could also result in an MVP honor for #12.

on February 4th, 2011 at 07:18am

Not to get premature here, but a SuperBowl MVP award would be yet another dagger for our former friend #4, who was not the SB mvp, which went to the electric, Desmond Howard. Go Pack.

on February 4th, 2011 at 07:31am

One other thought - through this nice run of 5 playoff games, Rodgers seems to have developed a bit more Peyton Manning in his approach when he gets to the line. He does a nice job of surveying what the defense is doing prior to snapping the ball. His cadence and poise at the line could be enormous in helping to reduce the jump that Harrison and Woodley get. A variety of snap counts will help, as long as we aren't giving away 5 yards with false starts. Go Pack!

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on March 2nd, 2012 at 06:15am

JT,The amount Packers injrued and on IR exposed Mike Brown's long time excuses of bad luck and unexpected injuries. Aaron Rodgers, what more can I say about this guy's play. Even with multiples key drops, he found a way to rally his team to victory. That's what Carson failed to do his entire Bengal career and this city has always make excuses for him blaming the WRs and everybody else.As to the Steelers, I hate them but have lots of respect for them. Even with 3 turnovers, they still had a chance to make a game winning drive. However, it was time. We've seen Big Ben bring them back and winning late time and again. That's not always going to work, they have gone to that well far too many time.

on May 18th, 2012 at 05:39am

I agree. I think the biggest thing is that the Steelers overylaped their experience card. They expected the Packers to bow under the SB pressure and they did not. Granted I'm glad the Steelers did not win, but I'd get a lot more enjoyment out of seeing the Bengals do well. Unfortunately, I've lost the passion because I don't see that happening. Nothing to make me feel its coming anytime soon either. Thank you Reds for giving me a reason to believe!

on May 18th, 2012 at 07:02am

Hmmmm, I guess Hines is coming back!! Hehehe!Aye, it could have come down to the wire if it wasn't for that fblmue. I believe it was a momentum swing in favor of the Packs. Nice that the Steelers represented our division in SB. Its going to be a long break before we hear much about the Steelers for awhile. They should be proud to come out on top in the AFC. So kudoes to both Packers and Steelers for awhile until the HOF game in Canton!

on May 20th, 2012 at 07:15am

There were 2-3 critical drops by GB WR's that if had been cauhgt might have put the game away early. I think this game shows everyone that you need guys who want to play. That means your backups as well. Makes the drafting of 4th & 5th rounders and FA's that much more important.

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on May 31st, 2012 at 08:24am

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