The Pittsburgh Steelers will hold a two-win advantage over the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys with seven Super Bowl victories after this Sunday, and here’s why:
Am I terrified of going against Aaron Rodgers in this spot? Absolutely. The general rule is to never go against the hottest quarterback in the league, especially when the other signal-caller is without his starting center and has Flozell Adams protecting him.
But Roethlisberger makes plays when necessary, and his third Super Bowl victory would continue to move him up the all-time quarterback ranks. While he didn’t put up impressive numbers stat wise in the AFC Championship Game (10-19, 133 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs), Roethlisberger’s ability to keep plays alive, avoid sacks and scramble for key first downs was huge in the 24-19 victory over the New York Jets.
Roethlisberger will need to do this to be successful against the aggressive Green Bay pass rush.
This Super Bowl is a classic matchup between Packers’ offensive guru Mike McCarthy and Steelers’ defensive mastermind Dick LeBeau. LeBeau leads a defensive unit that ranked No. 1 against the run, No. 12 against the pass and No. 2 in total defense in the regular season.
The fact that there’s two weeks to get ready for this game helps LeBeau prepare a Pittsburgh secondary that will face one of its biggest challenges of the season. While the Steelers stout run defense should have no trouble, remember that Tom Brady torched Pittsburgh through the air in Week 10. LeBeau will develop a plan that puts pressure on Rodgers and gets him out of his comfort zone, which will go a long way towards helping the Steelers win.
The Running Game
The ability of Rashard Mendenhall to continue to move the chains and keep the Packers’ high-powered offense off the field this Sunday will be vital. Mendenhall rushed for 95 of his 121 yards in the first half of the Jets win, and his ability to break off long runs gives Pittsburgh a crucial edge in the ground game.
Green Bay is down to its 14th-string running back, and the Packers lack of a running game will allow LeBeau to key on Rodgers. And if James Starks outperforms Mendenhall in the biggest game of the year, I’ll have felt like my whole life has been a lie.
Been There, Done That
Pittsburgh is preparing to play its third Super Bowl in the past six years, and second in the Mike Tomlin era. In situations like these, I tend to take the team that is accustomed to Super Bowl week and not the team arguing about who will be in the team picture.
So there’s why the Steelers will win Super Bowl XLV, in 500 words or less. Remember, all bets are off if Shaun Suisham is lining up for a game-winning 45-yard field goal.