The Chiefs choked. The Saints were once again the Aint’s. And the New York Jets had a foot in the door but couldn’t get a leg up on the competition.
In the end, just two teams will have a chance at glory Feb. 6, and only one will walk away as champion. This year’s Super Bowl, a classic matchup between two historically dominant teams, may set up to be one for the ages.
For Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it is a chance to finally step out of the shadow cast by legend Brett Favre. For Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it is a chance for redemption after multiple sexual assault allegations.
The game features two top-end defenses, which include an array of talented linebackers such as A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews for the Packers and James Harrison and James Farrior for the Steelers. Matthews had the fourth most sacks in the NFL during the regular season with 13.5, and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was tied for second in the league with seven interceptions. However, the Steelers will have a much easier time running on the Packers than passing, and the Packers will have a much easier time passing the ball against the Steelers than running.
Pittsburgh was the second best defense in terms of yards per game, while Green Bay was the fourth best. The Steelers only allowed 62.8 rushing yards per game during the regular season, and have allowed even less in the playoffs at 52.5 yards per game. Pittsburgh was ranked No. 12 against the pass. The Packers, on the other hand, were the fifth best defense against the pass, but were ranked No. 18 against the rush. However, in the playoffs, the Packers have only allowed 69.7 yards per game rushing.
Both teams also lost key players at the beginning of the season, with Roethlisberger benched six games for misconduct and Packers running back Ryan Grant injured for the entire season in Week 1. The Packers got off to a 3-3 start in the first six games, while the Steelers started off much better with a 4-1 record and a bye week sans Roethlisberger.
Now these two football giants are set to take center stage in the biggest sporting event in the United States. All bets are off, but my money is on Pittsburgh to pull of its third Super Bowl victory in six years. Final score: 31-28.