Packers XLV

Witness Rodgers' Rise: Pack Will Bring Home the Lombardi

Posted February 4th, 2011 @ 04:02pm

OK, here we go. The wait has been interminable. But we're getting closer. Time to break it down and try to predict how it's all going to go down. Hoping the snow is done falling in Dallas and my flight leaves, as scheduled, on Saturday. I'm heading to the airport right after my radio show.

By now, you've considered all the matchups. You've heard all of the talking heads weigh in. Most predict a close, high scoring game. Here's how I see it:

When the Packers have the ball: Go back to Super Bowl XLVIII. Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and company couldn't move the ball for most of the first half. Then they tried something different: they put four receivers on the field and forced the Steelers into nickel and dime packages. It worked like a charm and the Cardinals raced up and down the field.

Not every team has the tools to do this, but the Packers do. I wouldn't be surprised if they went to it on their second play from scrimmage and if they get a first down on their first series they might even go in to no-huddle mode to cause some confusion and maybe put some quick points on the board.

The Packers have four top flight receivers and at least one of them will have a favorable matchup every time. What this also does is make Dick LeBeau decide if he wants to go to his dime package, something he doesn't like to do. It puts corner Anthony Madison on the field, replacing linebacker Lawrence Timmons. I like that trade-off; you can bet Mike McCarthy does too. It also forces Troy Polamalu into coverage, and out of pass rush mode. That's preferable, too. Rodgers will be dealing with keeping away from linebackers James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley. That's enough to deal with.

I expect Rodgers to do what he does on fast, indoor tracks. Move the ball efficiently and effectively--hitting eight or nine different receivers throughout the game. It feels like a big night for James Jones: after a big night in Atlanta, he was quiet against the Bears. I get the feeling he will post the best numbers among the receivers. Don't be surprised if you see the Pack use the screen game, too. Jackson and/or Starks will hit on a couple big plays here, to counter the over-pursuit of the Steelers' pass rush.

As for the running game, I don't expect much here. The formula in the first three playoff games was a balanced attack, with enough attempts to keep the defense guessing. I'm not sure that's a necessity in the Super Bowl. The Steelers allowed just three yards per carry this season and they've been even better in the playoffs. They'll use the run occasionally--I expect Starks to get 10-15 carries, but they will spend most of the game in three-four even five receiver sets (provided Driver's quad permits), spread out that LeBeau defense and pick them apart.

When the Steelers have the ball: The Packers have been much tougher to run against since Howard Green entered the picture, allowing Cullen Jenkins to come in on passing downs. The 1,000 pounds that Green, Raji and Pickett bring to the buffet table have been nearly impassible for the Giants, Bears, Eagles and Falcons to run against. I expect the Steelers to rely on the arm of Big Ben and his ability to extend plays. While future Hall of Famer Hines Ward is being de-emphasized in the offense (except in the red zone), the Steelers have a nice group of receivers in Wallace, Sanders, Brown and the veteran Randle-El. They never stop working to get open because Roethlisberger loves to hang on to the ball, extend plays and find someone to get open.

The Pack will have to keep an eye on tight end Heath Miller, who had a monster game in the '09 meeting and has been huge in these playoffs. I think Woodson will pay some attention to him. He's a big target and steps up in big moments.

The Packers' biggest edge here is the makeshift offensive line that the Steelers offer. Without rookie Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, they lose the leader of the line. Doug Legursky should be reliable, but doesn't have the athleticism of Pouncey and Raji should be able to expose him. At right tackle, Flozell Adams was cut by the Cowboys and now finds himself in the Super Bowl. He gets the task of keeping Clay Matthews away from Big Ben. I like #52 in this matchup.

Special Teams/Coaching: I don't see any huge advantage on special teams. Antonio Brown has had a couple key returns, but the Packers have faced better returners in each playoff round and for the most part, have handled them well. The Packers' return game has pretty much been a disaster. I don't think we'll have a Desmond Howard moment in this game. I also don't see a big edge with kickers. The Steelers replaced veteran Jeff Reed with Suisham earlier this year and he's been pretty solid. Mason Crosby may be counted on to win this thing. I think I speak for everyone when I say, I hope he doesn't have to.

I see this game coming down to Aaron Rodger and I think he's ready for this moment. His passer rating in domes is 111 and his most recent Dome effort was perfection. Yes, this is a tougher defense, but with two weeks to prepare and facing a mediocre secondary, I expect a 300 yard passing day and a couple of big plays with his feet.

For some reason, I have a feeling this one might go to overtime--that might be too much to take, especially if you consider the Pack's recent record in overtime games. But ultimately it feels like it's the Packers' time. They've got more momentum and they're battle-tested.

The Pack brings home the Lombardi and wins its 4th Super Bowl title and 13th NFL title. In come-from-behind fashion, a late touchdown wins it: Packers 27  Steelers 21

I'll post one final pre-game blog, from Dallas on Sunday morning. GO PACK!

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Comments (18):

JT do you think that pittsburg is geittn old and it is a matter of time before the bengals if they keep drafting well we could be the next team to control this division the ravens defence still very good is aging also. it seems domanating teams of the past are showing their age and eventually will have to rebuild. New England, Indy, pittsburg, ravens at times look old they are still good but cracks seem to be showing up. replacing quarterbacks especially the ones on these teams except flaco which i do not think he is anything more than a good quarterback will be hard to replace. the wind today will have a weird spin on todays game. which i think will favor the bengals.

on August 1st, 2012 at 01:26am

Hey John,What are your thoughts on Geathers? He is getintg paid big time money and I am not seeing the sack numbers go up. Isn't it time for Dunlap to start? When he is in the game I find myself focusing in on him. He is a game changer and exciting to watch.

on August 3rd, 2012 at 01:50am

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on December 17th, 2011 at 03:33am

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on February 27th, 2012 at 01:04pm

WOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I'll be watchin form Munich, Germany!! Kickoff scheduled for 130AM. Super Bowl MONDAY!! This day belongs to the cheese, no dropped touchdowns from jones, no driver fumbles, no return touchdowns against Bush, chuck wood gets a pick 6, jennings runs past troy polamalu so fast his hair catches on fire, Starks is fined for running through harrison to hard, A-rodg ignores a call from brent after taking homw the MVP!! PACK WIN 31-10

on February 4th, 2011 at 01:18pm

I am not sure how to feel. It's been a strange 2 weeks since the Bears game. During that week, I was nervous, eating up every bit of information I could, lamenting the thought of losing to the Bears with a trip to the SB at stake. It was un-thinkable. -- Fast forward 2 weeks and I am just not as concerned for some reason. I know I should be worried about a very good Steelers team, and I am, but for some reason, I think the Packers are going to overcome it all and emerge victorious. I feel like I did before the Falcons game, where the pundits were calling for close game and I picked Packers by 14. I don't think this game will be like that but I do think the Packers win by 10. I'll say 27-17. -- I think that Cullen Jenkins is again going to have a mismatch on his side. He is big enough to bring down Big Ben by himself. With Raji pushing the middle, I think Jenkins will be in the right spot at the right time more than once. I also feel our back end will play so much better than in the 2009 game. Potential picks will be thrown and I think our secondary is in sync. -- On offense, I think that Davey is correct, get ready for a good dose of screens and dump-offs. Short routes in 3 and 4 wide receiver sets will negate the speed of their LB's. A few of those will get broken into long gains. (The Patriots have burned the Steelers lately with those types of gameplans). Starks and Jackson will run well enough on draws to keep the D honest. -- I think our secondary is the great equalizer for us. We will be able to make more big plays downfield than they will be able to. 27-17 Packers! Go Pack!

on February 4th, 2011 at 02:53pm

I've already been grocery shopping, and I have 6 dozen eggs ready to be fried Super Bowl Sunday. Our defense is going to play a lot of Capers 4-3 technique, and be able to cover the tight ends that Pittsburger brings out. 41-0 Packers win in Cadillac fashion.

on February 4th, 2011 at 04:40pm

It wouldn't be a 2011 SchenySchen Packer prediction without somehow saying that Andrew Quarless is going to make some big plays.... so here goes," at some point in the game, Quarless is going to be called upon to make a routine catch that will lead to a big first down for the Packers. This time, unlike the Bears game, he will make the big catch to help seal a victory". If he doesn't make the catch this time, cut him and draft Lance Kendricks in the 3rd round. Go Pack!

on February 4th, 2011 at 05:07pm

Dave, who is this Dennis? is that p.a? 41-0, sounds like viking memories to me the wrong way for the queens. Use the 4-3 defense? I don't get it. p.a will take the packers. i just e mailed him, he will take them so he wins either way, if they lose he's happy, if they win he made the right prediction he can brag about on his show. I just think we are 10 points better then pitt. we will be up early by 2 scores and then MM will mix more screens and run the ball more to keep clock running. I told u all to enjoy this no matter what, well hell we might as well win the damm thing now! If we stop them from running like Dave said there done. they will score a late touchdown to make it closer then the game will be, but final 31-27 packers, let's get the party ready in GREEN BAY BOYS, GO PACK

on February 4th, 2011 at 10:36pm

It's almost time.....the climb has been outstanding.....5 must wins in a row to get here. With all the hype this is the game that makes legacy's....both individual and team. For myself....I have been having smack email back and forth with PA all week. It is time for the Pack to enter the Legacy. Lets start with what we have to do on defense. I believe the key is to take away the Steeler running game...Rashard Mendenhal is key to stopping like we did with Turner for Atlanta. The Steelers believe we are suspect on our run defense and will start out testing us. Mel. Moore was also play a role.....and look out for Randle-EL on some end arounds. In the passing game we do have problems with tight ends so Heath Miller will test us. On offense I would like to see us spread the field with 4-5 wide outs. I do not expect Starks or Jackson to get 10-12 carries....Rodgers will be our leading rusher on scrambles. Quick slants over the middle will be big giving our big play guys running opportunities. In conclusion....Everyone is saying the Pack has the momentum....but remember Pitt has won 7 of 8. ...and Big Ben has 2 rings. It will not be easy. ESPN's top 7 talking heads..Gruden, Ditka, Dilfer, Young, K Johnson, et al were 6 for 7 picking the Pack. That is scarry. Lets win the third downs and turnover ratio. Everyone is overlooking Donald Driver....I think he will step up. But in the end in a QB league... This is Rodgers chance for legacy and he will come thru. As an aside I was happy to see Ed Huckalee( the guy who likes to show off his biceps) as the referee in the AFC championship be thankful we will not have him in the Super Bowl as our record is horrible when he refs. The Lombardi Trophy.....GO PACK GO !!

on February 5th, 2011 at 09:18am

I hope you are right and they do spread it out and only try to run it 10-15 times. If they do, I think they win by 10 and the Packer dynasty to come conversation can begin. I don't worry about big Ben beating us. The Pack has made every qb they've faced in the last 2 months look average to bad - Brady, Manning, Cutler twice, Vick and Matty Ice at home. The only person on their offense that worries me is Mendenhall. This team is ready and will not be denied. Too much talk about experience for the Steelers. Rodgers has poise and ice in his veins that will be the difference. Pack 27 - Steelers 16. Go Pack!

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