With the climax of the NFL season just days away, Al Dannity makes his call on the match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.
Pittsburgh must maintain balance The greatest strength of the Steelers is the lack of a glaring weakness. Defensively, Pittsburgh are as stout in stopping the run as they are at containing their opponents’ passing game. Ben Roethlisberger was forced to carry the load two years ago but the development of Rashard Mendenhall makes the Pittsburgh offense a threat both in the air and on the ground.
There are however some chinks in Pittsburgh’s armor. The most notable is at center where Maurkice Pouncey looks almost certain to be unavailable. Even if he does suit up, Pouncey won’t be at the same difference-making level he’s been so far this season. That puts extra pressure on his possible replacement, Doug Legursky, and the rest of the Pittsburgh line to maintain production.
Packers can be perfect and they will need to be Aaron Rodgers’ 31 of 36 outing against the Falcons is one of the finest individual displays by a quarterback in playoff history. Super Bowl betting fans know a repeat performance might be required on Sunday. The Green Bay quarterback has entered the conversation regarding the league’s elite signal-callers with his post-season heroics. On Sunday he must display tremendous accuracy in order to overcome a stingy Pittsburgh defense led by Troy Polamalu.
Defensively the Packers have displayed an opportunistic streak for turnovers not unlike last year’s Saints. We all now how the year ended for that team. Roethlisberger will give Green Bay opportunities to punish him but he will also prove a potent threat with the deep ball. The secondary must come up big for Green Bay if the Packers want to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
The Verdict This is one of the best matched Super Bowl pairings since Super Bowl XL as evidenced by the current debate in Bet Opinions. That game was a clunker between the Steelers and the Seahawks but this year’s edition promises much more excitement. Defensively I expect both sides to play aggressively, taking big risks in order to make something happen in the backfield. James Harrison will surely have a point to prove to Roger Goodell. On the other side B.J. Raji knows a disruptive performance from him could swing the game in Green Bay’s favor. In the end the versatility and balance of Pittsburgh has me giving them a slight edge in this game. It’s going to be close, it should be epic, but bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers to win as +2.5 underdogs with Sports Interaction.
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