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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers
Why the Steelers will win: The Steelers have some past experience in Super Bowls and that could prove very helpful when playing on the biggest stage of the game. It will probably help get rid of the pregame jitters a little, and they could come out of the gates roaring.
In the last 5 weeks of the season, the Steelers didn’t rush Mendenhall for more than 20 times in a game. Then you can add in the bye week they earned, and Mendenhall was all rested up for the playoff push. He had 2 TDs against Baltimore and ran for 121 yards against the stout Jets defense. I think it worked. He is the X-Factor in the game.
Why the Packers will win: They have so much star power. Rodgers, Matthews, Jennings, Woodson. That’s a pretty good set of players right there, but will it be enough to propel them to victory? The Packers passing attack has been unstoppable as of late, and I see no reason that it is going to change on Sunday.
The Packer’s defense is also gelling. They have 6 interceptions, most in the postseason, and 10 sacks, also the most. The Steelers have only been playing one good half per game, if they can neutralize the good half with their solid defense, the Steelers could be close to shut out.
Why the Steelers will lose: The Steelers passing defense has given up only 155 passing yards per game in the two games they’ve played this postseason. However, they have struggled against the top QBs this year.
Another major concern is their lack to play a full game so far this postseason. They played a great 2nd half against the Ravens but couldn’t do anything in the 1st. They played a great 1st half and dominated the Jets, but almost blew the game in the end. The Packers will make them pay if they decide to play just one half.
Why the Packers will lose: They played against an inexperienced Falcons offense, mediocre Bears offense and the sliding Eagles. They haven’t played an offense quite like the Steelers in the playoffs yet this year. The defense has been performing well in the postseason, as well as the regular season, but is weak against the run, playing right into the Steeler’s hand.
They also need to get Brandon Jackson or some sort of run game going. The Steelers have the ability to stop the run without stacking the box, which will allow them to focus on stopping the pass. If the Pack can’t get a run game going, the Steelers could handle Rodgers.
Prediction: The Steelers lead through this one to get it by a couple, 31-27.