Monday, January 31, 2011

My Take -> Super Bowl

Greetings, G-Force

The significance of the #12.

The Packers have 12 World Championships.

Super Bowl XLV will mark the 12th time in which either the Packers or the Stealers have competed in a Super Bowl.

A quick look at past Super Bowl QB winners shows the #12 in abundance. Off the top of my head I can think of Joe Namath, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese, Ken Stabler, Terry Bradshaw, and Tom Brady.

The #12. Aaron Rodgers. The future MVP of Super Bowl XLV.

It's the Green Bay Packers & the Pittsburgh Stealers to determine the World Champion for the 2010 NFL Season. The Packers with 12 World Championships. The Stealers with 6 Super Bowls. Green Bay, the Original Titletown. Pittsburgh, the city that has tried to steal the nickname. Hence, I'll refer to them as the Ste"a"lers. History wants this contest. The Packers bring a 5 game win streak. Winning 5 MUST WIN games, I'd argue that if we win a 6th game, it'll go down as the greatest 6-game stretch of my life. Beating the #1, #2, and #3 NFC teams on the road as a #6 seed, the Packers are prime for this battle. Experts suggest that experience will play a factor in this contest. Well, as a #6 seed in 2005, the Stealers lacked experience & they left victorious. Plus, haven't the Packers gained experience over the last 5 games? I feel so.

In reality, by most, these are probably the two most respected organizations in the league. Jerry Jones, not included. Jerry Jones spent $1.2 billion on JerryWorld. He built it with the vision of watching the Cowboys play in the Super Bowl inside his stadium. Instead, it'll be the two teams outside of the NFC East that he dislikes the most. Thanks for the red carpet, Jerry!

I'll be heading down to the Big "D" along with my Dad, my Mom, & my Brother, Chad. We're bringing the G-Force. We're expecting victory.

I like the way the Packers match-up with the Stealers, especially with the injury to Pouncey. This game will be won at the line of scrimmage. I foresee the Packers utilizing a lot of 2 down lineman. BJ Raji & Cullen Jenkins holding the point of attack. CM3 bringing pressure. Walden shadowing Roethlisberger. Most would argue that the most crucial component to stopping the Stealers attack would be to slow down Mendenhall. I'd argue that it's containing Big Ben. When you make contact with Roethlisberger, you have to bring him to the ground. As I've reviewed this epic playoff run, I've become convinced that Erik Walden is as vicious of a tackler as we have on the field. I'm confident he can bring Roethlesberger to the turf. Walden hasn't missed tackles. He's punished offensive players. Walden's mobility is vital to the success of the Packers defense regardless of whether "Z" can play. Roethlisberger is deceptively athletic. If the Claymaker can get pressure on Big Ben & force him to his left, it'll also limit Roethlisberger's effectiveness. And when this happens, Roethlisberger is prone to making mistakes. If you pressure Big Ben, it's when he's at his weakest. He's best at making things happen on broken plays. So we must keep him in the pocket - much like we did to Michael Vick for most of the game. And when you get to Big Ben, you can't bite on his ball fakes. Run right through him! Don't fall for the pump fake. Go at his torso. Not at his legs. He's too strong & he'll fight thru those tackles.

On 1st down, I'd like to see some of the Big Beefy defensive front with Howard Green, BJ Raji, & Ryan Pickett matched up against the banged up, vulnerable Pittsburgh OL. Not only will this limit Mendenhall's rushing lanes, but it'll also allow Clay to play the pass. Clay will expect pass. He'll come on the speed rush. I'm confident that Clay will be able to beat the aging Flozell Adams to the corner. He'll wreak havoc to the Stealers game plan. Then, on 2nd & 3rd downs, I'd like to see the 2 down lineman with the Packers rotating Cullen Jenkins with CJ Wilson.

BJ Raji must dominate the interior of the Pittsburgh OL. He will. Jazz Hands! G6! The Freezer! Getting busy!

I like the way the Packers match-up with the Stealers on the perimeter. Blessed with an abundance of speed, the Stealers have Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders & Antonio Brown. Further, they have possession receivers with Hines Ward, Heath Miller, and Matt Spaeth. Roethlisberger likes Spaeth inside the red zone & on play-action passes. While Spaeth only had 1 TD & 9 catches this year, he's an option that we must be aware of. Big Ben also loves Heath Miller on third down on curls in which Miller boxes out a defender & uses his big body to create space.

The Stealers might try to go to 4-WR's to try & get J-Bush on the field. They torched him last year. Don't be surprised if we see Pittsburgh in some formations with Wallace, Sanders, Brown & Ward on the field. They'll try to outrun us on a deep route. Roethlisberger loves to take chances. He'll take at least 3 shots deep down the field. Normally, he throws a decent deep ball. We must be prepared with Nintendo Nick playing over the top. Hopefully, Nintendo Nick plays the ball better than he did against the Bears on the Earl Bennett TD. My guess is that he will.

Roethlisberger does not play favorites, so we must honor all of his weapons. We must be cognitive of all of his options & stay focused on our man. Especially if Big Ben gets loose out of the pocket. Don't watch the QB! Watch the receiver!!!! Watch the guy you are guarding. Especially Wallace who will run deep on broken plays. And if you blink, Wallace's speed will get him behind you. If we stay disciplined, I feel that Sammy Swagga & T-Mon are a perfect cover for Wallace, Brown, & Sanders. Hines Ward no longer scares me, even though he's still targeted on 3rd down.

It should be noted that neither Nintendo Nick nor Sir Charles has forced a turnover in the playoffs. Based on the laws of probability alone, I'd expect one of them to be holding the ball in the air at some point on Super Sunday. I envision Sir Charles coming on the blitz out of the slot. Often, he has the tendency to bite on the fake. This week, feeling Super, Sir Charles plays with a vengeance and flies thru Big Ben - ignoring Roethlisberger's actions. Sir Charles gets home on a sack!

Offensively, if I were Mike McCarthy, my strategy would be similar to the approach we took against Atlanta. Let the pass set up the run. I'd study three games in particular. All games in which Troy Polamalu played. I'd look at the 4th Quarter of the Stealers v Cardinals Super Bowl. I'd watch the 1st half of the Patriots v Stealers game from this year. I'd watch the 2nd half of the Jets v Stealers game in the AFC Championship. In each occasion, the Stealers knew the opposition was going to pass. In each occasion, every one in the stadium knew the Stealers opposition was going to pass. And in each occasion, the Stealers opposition had great success. The Stealers can't cover us on the outside. They can't compete with us on the perimeter. If we go 4-wide, you're taking a LB off the field. Clearly, the LB's are the strength of the Pittsburgh defense. We have to trust our OL. And if we get beat on the OL, Rodgers is capable of escaping. Ike Taylor is solid, but he can be beat. Bryant McFadden couldn't play with the Packers WR's last year. William Gay can't stick with Jordy Nelson nor James Jones. We'll be fighting for extra yards. And getting them.

Greg Jennings says that he & Aaron Rodgers are bread & butter. Hit Jennings on the slant & let's watch a #85 run thru the middle of the field like we did Max McGee in Super Bowl I.

Further, if you believe in historical #'s & their recurrence, I encourage you to look for #44 & #86. #44 Donny Anderson was a rookie in 1966. On just 7 carries, he had more yards than any KC Chief in Super Bowl I. In Super Bowl II, Anderson was a stud. I'm not saying, but I'm just saying. Look for James Starks to have an admirable game. Fighting for 70 hard yards. Pushing the Pittsburgh defense. And, almost oddly, I'm predicting a Donald Lee TD. See, the #86 has played a huge role in all 4 Super Bowls that the Packers have played in. In Super Bowl I, it was Dowler's injury that paved the way for Max McGee to have a big game. In Super Bowl II, Dowler was found getting loose in the Oakland secondary. In Super Bowl XXXI, Antonio Freeman caught - what was at the time - the longest TD in the history of the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXII, had the Packers won, I had heard speculation that Antonio Freeman was going to be the Super Bowl MVP. Therefore, I'm predicting a short TD pass to Donald Lee in Super Bowl XLV.

I envision a big day for Aaron Rodgers. On a controlled surface. Rodgers finds his rhythm early. He stays possessed throughout. The Stealers come on a variety of blitzes. Cerebral in nature, Rodgers recognizes the blitz. Goes to work. Hits Double-D over the middle on 3rd down. He hits Jennings on a slant. Nelson on a quick hitter. Jones on a comeback. The Packers grab an early lead.

While Tim Masthay has been a true godsend, I still lack confidence in the Packers special teams units. With that, the Stealers also have poor special teams units. Though Antonio Brown can get loose returning kicks, he's also one who will liable to put the ball on the ground. A special teams turnover would be sweet!

The Packers control the line of scrimmage. Frustrating Roethlisberger the defense gets off the field.

On 3rd & long, I like the Stealers defense, but I love our QB! The Packers grab a 2-score lead as Crosby nails a FG.

Back & forth the game goes. The Packers survive the Stealers push. Matching the mighty Pittsburgh defense blow for blow, The Packers come away as the more physical team. It wouldn't surprise me if the Packers win by 2 scores. But, the game is late. The Packers leading by 4. While the defense have been our savior all year when the offense has failed to pick up a 1st down late to run out the clock - this time - Rodgers connects with QUICKIE on a crossing route. Driver raises the ball in the air, flashes his impeccable smile and points 1st down. The Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl Champions! Let me write that again. The Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl Champions!

Green Bay 27. Pittsburgh 23.

There's no exceptions for 2nd best. Sir Charles finishes off his mantle. Erik Walden is remembered as the defensive version of Bruce Wilkerson. The Lombardi Trophy is coming home! As my brother Chad says, we'll be talking #4 & it won't be about Brett Favre rather it will be about our 4 Super Bowl trophies. Soon, on your next visit to Green Bay, you'll be driving down McCarthy Lane. And, it'll feel Super!

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

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