Friday, January 21, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Pick - Because Aaron Rodgers' beard is cooler than Ben Roethlisberger's haircut

Season Record Against the Spread:

NFL Championship Game Results: 4-0
NFL Results Season to Date: 141-110-13

College Football Season Results: 50-44-6

Mark My Words NFL Championship Game Results: 4-0
Mark My Words Results Season to Date: 39-46-3


Green Bay -3 over Pittsburgh/Under 46 - We couldn't have a better match-up than Green Bay and Pittsburgh in what should be the highest rated Super Bowl in television history. I see this game as a defensive struggle between two teams that are mirror images of one another.

There are so many questions to debate before we choose the winner of Super Bowl XLV. Will Aaron Rodgers and his facial hair (I'm not hating - Giselle dated Rodgers and made him grow that goatee long before she ever made Tom Brady get his Justin Bieber haircut) overcome the curse of Brett Favre and strap on the Championship Belt?

Aaron Rodgers straps on Championship Belts like Ben Roethlisberger straps on condoms...wait, bad example.

Or will Ben Roethlisberger rally Terrible Towel Nation and use his manly haircut and boyish good looks to once again put a ring around that finger in the dirty bathroom that is better known as Dallas, Texas?

Let's breakdown these two teams and find out how they compare:

Passing Game - Aaron Rodgers gives Green Bay an advantage in the air, although I'm a little bit concerned with his turnovers of late. Green Bay's receivers definitely match-up against the Steelers secondary better than Hines Ward and Mike Wallace do against Charles Woodson and Tremond Williams, especially when James Jones and Jordy Nelson work against Pittsbugh's nickle and dime packages. If Pittsburgh has any advantage through the air, it is with Heath Miller at the tight end position against back-up OLB Erik Walden.  

Advantage - Green Bay.

Running Game - While James Starks has rejuvenated Green Bay's running game by adding an inside presence, Rashard Mendenhall has been effective fighting for extra yards even when the Steeler line has failed to open holes for him in the playoffs. Pittsburgh's backfield is also more versatile with Mewelde Moore catching passes and Isaac Redman coming in as a power back.

Advantage - Pittsburgh.

Offensive Lines - I expect both lines to struggle picking up the other teams' blitz. Green Bay's offensive line is their biggest weakness, and Pittsburgh's line is even worse. If starting center Maurkice Pouncey is unable to play due to a high ankle sprain the Steelers will be down to their back-ups at center and both tackle positions, which should have blitz happy Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers smelling blood.

Advantage - Green Bay, by default.

Pass Rush - Both teams rely heavily on the blitz to set up the rest of their 3-4 defense. Pittsburgh will utilize their famous zone-blitz, while Green Bay will rely on Clay Mathews coming off the edge and try to catch Pittsburgh off guard with cornerback Charles Woodson blitzing from the slot when the Steelers go to 3 wide receiver sets.

Advantage - Pittsburgh. Nobody blitzes better than the Steelers, and they simply have more horses to throw at the Packers with Lamarr Woodley, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu.

Run Defense - Cullen Jenkins and B.J. Raji have been absolute beasts for Green Bay, while NT Casey Hampton makes it nearly impossible for opponents to run up the middle against the Steelers. I think both teams are going to have trouble running the ball, which is going to make both teams one dimensional and play right into the hands of defensive coordinators Dick LeBeau (Pittsburgh) and Dom Capers (Green Bay).

Advantage - Even.

Cullen Jenkins flexes some serious muscle at DE for the Green Bay Packers

Pass Defense - Green Bay has more talent across the board in the secondary with Charles Woodson, Tremond Williams and Sam Shields as their corners. Still, the Packers have to tackle better than they did against Chicago in the NFC Championship game. Troy Polamalu is a game changer even though he hasn't quite been the same since he returned from an injury to his Achilles tendon late in the season, although the two weeks rest heading into the Super Bowl will give him some extra time to recover. Nonetheless, I like Green Bay's top four receivers when it comes to their match-ups against Pittsburgh's top four corners (Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden, William Gay and Anthony Madison).

Advantage - Green Bay.

Special Teams - Green Bay's kickoff and punt returners could be a liability. Tremond Williams not only lacks the burst that elite return men have, but I don't trust him when it comes to fielding the ball cleanly on punts. I have a feeling that someone like rookie Antonio Brown could come up with a big kickoff return for the Steelers. Packers punter Tim Masthay deserved to make the Pro Bowl, and was once again fantastic pinning Chicago and elite return man Devin Hester deep in their own territory in the NFC Championship game.

Advantage - Pittsburgh.

Key Players - Packers OLB Clay Mathews, Packers DE Cullen Jenkins, Packers, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay WR James Jones, Green Bay WR Jordy Nelson, Pittsburgh WR/KR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller, Pittsburgh LB Lamarr Woodley, Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger.

MVP Predictions - Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers; Pittsburgh - Lamarr Woodley.

Final Prediction - Green Bay - 21, Pittsburgh - 17

When all is said and done, the cheese should stand alone and Packer fans will be singing at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, WI after Super Bowl XLV

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