Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay to pack more punch
Historically the Super Bowl has always been played in warm-weather climates with Miami, New Orleans and Los Angeles hosting the Super Bowl 26 times between them.
So with the Super Bowl being held in Dallas you wouldn’t really expect below-freezing temperatures and a foot of snow on the ground, but that’s the situation the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in.
The good news for both sides is that Green Bay and Pittsburgh aren’t exactly warm places to live, preparing in the cold won’t be a problem for either side. The other good news is they’ll be playing under a roof. That will be of more benefit to the Packers who tend to play like a dome team and a team who will prefer the faster conditions.
Not so much the Steelers who have one of the slowest offensive lines in the league. Against a team like the Packers in a dome that will be a tough proposition, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might want to start padding up now.
If Roethlisberger can release the ball quickly and accurately the Steelers will be right there, however, that’s easier said than done especially against one of the better defensive teams in the NFL. The Packers may be the first-ever sixth seed from the NFC to reach a Super Bowl but having won three road games in the play-offs so far they bring far more momentum to the fore.
Don’t forget Green Bay's defense finished second in the league in points and fifth in yards allowed.
Despite having lost running back Ryan Grant for the season back in week one and Jermichael Finley for the season early on in October the Packers still made the play-offs with a 10-6 record. And for the NFC Championship game they had 14 players listed on injury reserve – they haven’t made it here the easy way.
One thing the Steelers will bring to Cowboys Stadium the Packers can’t is experience. Roethlisberger already has two Super Bowl rings to his name – he is the youngest quarterback to win a ring - whilst Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay’s QB – only just won his first play-off game this year.
The Super Bowl is unlike any other domestic sporting event, more reminiscent of a Hollywood movie than a game of football the spectacle can overawe some players, for Roethlisberger it should be a case of ‘ I’ve been there before, I’ll do it again.’
Should Rodgers handle the pressure and prove he belongs in the NFL’s elite quarterback ranks the Packers should have enough to beat Pittsburgh. Good production from rookie running back James Starks will be help open up the field for Rodgers, and if that happens wide receiver Greg Jennings is going to be a hard man to stop, even with defensive player of the year Troy Polamalu in the backfield.
If the Steelers were hoping to use Polamalu as some sort of secret weapon against Jennings, the Packers, too, have a top quality defensive player of their own in Clay Mathews. It’s certainly going to be a tight tactical affair.
But if both teams play at their best it will be the Packers coming out on top on Sunday night and it might not be as close as one would think. Saying that, however, rarely do teams play at their best in the Super Bowl so we expect the Packers to win by four points.
Philip Wicinski - follow me on twitter
John Harbaugh will make it a family affair at the Super Bowl, after the coach saw his Baltimore Ravens engineer victory over the New England Patriots 28-13 on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.
The NFL Championship games have been decided after a weekend of exhilarating action.
It’s another top quality weekend in the NFL play-offs with last week’s bye teams getting their first taste of post-season football.