Pick the Pack
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It's a good thing the BCS doesn't run the NFL or else we'd be getting ready for Patriots-Falcons right now instead of Packers-Steelers. No offense to New England or Atlanta (both teams had excellent seasons), but teams that lose at home following a bye week don't deserve to play in the Super Bowl.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more even matchup than Green Bay and Pittsburgh. Both teams can score. Both teams do the little things right, like not turning the ball over. Both teams have defenses that can be absolutely dominant at times. Both teams have quarterbacks that rank in the upper-echelon of the NFL.
What more do you want?
Oh right, a prediction. I've agonized over this decision for a week and a half now. Graphs, pie charts and Magic 8-Balls litter the floor in my office. I can't keep food down. I can't sleep. I certainly can't concentrate or focus. I'm a mess. Steelers over Packers. No, Packers over Steelers. No, a tie. No...
Actually, this prediction is quite simple when you get down to it. You either back the Steelers because they're the underdogs or you back the Packers because they're destined to win. Stat heads will pour over the numbers looking to see who has the edge but in reality, neither team has a huge advantage. That's how even a matchup this is.
I would love to back the Steelers because they're the underdogs. When are the Steelers ever the dogs? When do they ever get to play the overrated and overused disrespect card? How could you not take Pittsburgh when its given a rare opportunity to "show the world" what its made of?
But enough with the foreplay: I'm actually taking the Packers. It's their year. I've never seen a team so decimated by injuries barely make the playoffs only to steamroll its competition like Green Bay did in the postseason.
The Eagles made things interesting in the fourth quarter of the Wild Card round, but that was only because Mike McCarthy's mistress is conservatism. He didn't play things conservative against the Falcons though, did he? He knew that Atlanta defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was giving out free passes to the end zone thanks to his horrendous game plan, so McCarthy took advantage of it. And when things got a little hairy in the fourth quarter against Chicago in the NFC title game, McCarthy stayed aggressive then, too. (Granted, it didn't lead to offensive points but he wasn't trying to run the clock out in the third quarter like he sometimes does when he has a lead.)
Assuming McCarthy doesn't play not to lose, I think the Packers will emerge victorious. And if you're looking for an actual edge, try B.J. Raji vs. Doug Legursky. I know Legursky played well in Maurkice Pouncey's place in the AFC title game, but losing their top-notch rookie center will hurt Pittsburgh on Sunday. In fact, I think Green Bay wins in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
The Steelers have more experience and they have to love how Aaron Rodgers has received most of the attention so far. But something tells me Green Bay caps off its amazing year by hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday. Call it destiny, call it fate, or just call it a great team receiving its due: the Packers will win Super Bowl XLV.
Packers 24, Steelers 20