Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Prediction

After two weeks of waiting, the day has finally come. Super Bowl Sunday. Unlike the last two years I'm actually doing something for the Super Bowl this year so before I head off to the paradise that is Slidell, Louisiana, here's my prediction for today's game:

I've got to be honest, I had a tough time picking a winner here. Both teams have great quarterbacks, great defenses, playmakers on offense, good coaches... Pittsburgh has a bit of an edge in that they have been there before, but I don't know how much of a difference that will ultimately make. The emergence of James Starks in the running game makes the Packers' offense multi-dimensional, but I don't know that it matters who your running back is when you're playing Pittsburgh because their defense is so stingy. For me there are two things that I think will swing this game. First, the injury to rookie Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey's been ruled out of this game and that means Doug Legursky will be the starting center for the Steelers. Legursky and Roethlisberger combined for two botched snaps in the AFC Championship game against the Jets, one of which led to a safety. The last thing a team needs at this time of year is questions on the offensive line, so I see this playing a role. The second thing is the kicking game. The Packers have Mason Crosby, the Steelers have Shaun Suisham. Crosby hit 22 of 28 field goals during the regular season with a long of 56 yards and is 2 for 3 in the postseason with his only miss being a 50 yarder that hit the upright. Suisham was a midseason replacement for Jeff Reed and closed out the regular season hitting 14 of 15, but none longer than 48. Suisham is 2 for 3 in the playoffs as well, but his postseason long is 35 yards. Neither one has been called upon this year to hit a game winner in the postseason. I give the edge to Crosby here, but only because he has the greater range. So basically what you have here are two evenly matched teams, both playing great football, both with storied pasts, and what looks to be yet another exciting Super Bowl. I give the edge to Green Bay, but only by the narrowest of margins.

Prediction: Green Bay 27, Pittsburgh 23
MVP: Aaron Rodgers

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