The Steelers and the Packers are two of the most storied franchises in NFL history. Both teams are looking to add another Lombardi Trophy to their trophy case. The teams match up well against each other but only one can win the game.
Defensively, both teams are about equal. Both were top five, in the regular season, in points allowed and total yards allowed. The Steelers had the best run defense in the league while the Packers had the 5th ranked pass defense.
During the playoffs, both teams have been very strong against the run. Both have looked good against the pass as well. The Steelers have given up only 155 passing yards per game in the postseason, but quarterbacks have a 64.0 QB rating against the Packers.
I think the Packers have the slight edge defensively because they have played very well against the pass all season and have started playing well against the run in the playoffs. They did a good job stopping two good rushing teams in the Falcons and Eagles.
On offense, the Packers have the edge. The Steelers have a slight edge at QB because of Ben Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl experience. The Steelers were the better rushing team in the regular season but have averaged only 3.2 yards per carry in the playoffs.
The Packers are a much better passing team than Steelers. Aaron Rodgers has thrown six touchdowns in the postseason and only two interceptions. The Packers are averaging 30 points per game in the playoffs while the Steelers average 27.5.
Packers running back James Starks probably won’t be able to match up with the Steelers rush defense. Aaron Rodgers will have to continue to score points with his arm.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall for the Steelers has to drastically improve his play against a Packers defense that has been playing well. Roethlisberger will have play mistake-free football against a Packers defense that has forced eight turnovers in the playoffs.
The Steelers have the advantage on special teams. The Packers have averaged only 13.5 yards on kickoff returns and 5.2 yards on punt returns in the postseason.
The Steelers aren’t great at returns either. They have averaged 19 yards on kickoff returns and 6.4 yards on punt returns in the playoffs.
Opponents have averaged 23.3 yards per kick return against the Packers in the playoffs. The Steelers have only given up 15.3 yards per return this postseason. The Steelers have a net punting average of 35 yards compared to the Packers’ 33 yards.
The Packers have been playing very well for several weeks. They slowed down Michael Vick and the Eagles, crushed the Falcons and beat the Bears, their biggest rival. All of these games were on the road.
The Steelers are very capable of winning this game. They have experienced playmakers like Troy Polamalu and James Harrison on defense. Pittsburgh is lead by an experienced QB in Roethlisberger.
However, this game will go to the Packers. Their momentum will carry them to a Super Bowl victory.
The speculation will end on Sunday. Enjoy this game, football fans. This might be the last Super Bowl we see for a while.