The Packers are in the Super Bowl! You know I'm feeling the HYYYYYPPPPPEEE!!!!!
So I've heard, Seabiscuit.
No, it's not South St. Paul High School. It's the Green Bay Packers. Cue the John Facenda! Old dude, I wasn't even around during the Lombardi era, but you can feel it when you walk into Lambeau. And now that I've had my taste, I want more. Oh my, yes. I want more.
Well, as it turns out, they are going to play the game in Jerry Jones's Xanadu:
In Arlington did Jerry Jones
A stately pleasure dome decree
Where Wade, the clueless coach had ran
His fortunes to the garbage can
Unto a team crappy
What brought that on? Now you're stealing from Coleridge? This isn't Poetry Night, Decrepit! I didn't even bring my bongo drums! You were one of those beatnik dudes, weren't you? Enough of the finger snapping and the berets. We got a game to pick, Geritol Fan! Watch me work!
Pittsburgh Stillers (+2 1/2) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers, in Super Bowl XLV. First things first -- we need to give a shout-out to our pal Brad Carlson, who has already made his pick, which you can find here. As shameless Vikings rubes go, Brad is all right with us, but don't tell anyone we said that. If you remember back to 2003, it looked like the Packers were in trouble and then they got on a roll. That team ultimately fell short, but they remind me a lot of what we've seen this year. The Packers have seemed to be dead on at least 2 or 3 occasions earlier in the season, especially after they lost a terrible game to Detroit at Ford Field and Aaron Rodgers suffered a second concussion. The following week, Matt Flynn almost became a folk hero in Green Bay by giving the Patriots a real scare in their own house. And since then, with Rodgers back at the helm, the Packers have been laying waste to the rest of the league. The old dude and I saw it start that day in Lambeau, when the Packers crushed the New York Giants 45-17. It was such a bad scene that the Giants ended up stuck for an additional night in the Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton because of the first of what, 36? Yeah, I think it's 36 blizzards to hit the East Coast this winter. I bet Tom Coughlin really enjoyed another night in Appleton after getting that beatdown.
But the storm that was really raging came out of Lambeau, baby! Down went the Bears. Down went the Eagles. Down went the Falcons. Down went the Bears again! Oh, and by the way, Bears fans, those 2010 NFC North Division Champion t-shirts you enjoyed so much make excellent fabric for a crying towel! Yeah, I said it. Deal with it. Anyway, back to my brilliant analysis.
For the second time this year, the Packers are facing a quarterback with great talent and criminal tendencies. We all know Roethlisberger rhymes with offender and he's not likely to be the next contestant on The Bachelor, either. Can I get an amen on that, ladies? But the guy can play quarterback and tackling him is like trying to tackle a Pepsi vending machine. Not that I've tried that personally, but that's what I hear. Anyway, he's a tough customer and he's been here before. That means the Packers defense will need to be pretty tough this time around. If B. J. Raji or the Claymaker can get to Big Ben, they need to knock him down. Who knows, we might even get to see Dennis Dixon, who once almost won the Heisman Trophy and helped to hold the Steelers together while Roethlisberger was busy being suspended for his improper dating techniques. Kids, don't try that at home.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers has been kicking butt and taking names. The last time the Packers played on a fast track surface, they scored 48 points and could have ran it up even more. The Steelers are better than the Falcons, but they can't really cover all the Packer receivers at the same time. The Steelers also can't back off the run entirely, since James Starks has been pretty good in the postseason. It's really a tough thing to defend the boys in Green and Gold right now, which is great for us Packer fans.
So what's going to happen? It's entirely possible that we may see the new overtime rules in effect for this game. The Packers have always been within 7 points of their opponents this season, even when trailing, so if they go to the lead early it's going to be a problem for the Steelers. Packers 34, Steelers 27.
What, the Packers aren't going to win by 70? You're disappointing your fans, grasshopper!
Look, you fugitive from the AARP, I have to call it the way I see it. Don't make me come over there and deal with you again.
Well, all righty then. Guess I'd better get back to the game. Actually, Benster's analysis is pretty spot-on in this one. I suspect that the Steelers are going to miss Maurkice Pouncey rather a lot and that Raji will have a big game, but I assume the Steelers had a contingency plan available all along. Roethlisberger is really good at extending plays, so it's important that the Packer pass rush get home early. Clay Matthews will be heard from in this game.
I wouldn't discount the Steelers trying to run the ball, though. Rashard Mendenhall is a good running back, probably the best one the Packers have seen since they dispensed with the Vikings in November. I would expect the Steelers to try to use him pretty extensively, at least early on. That means that the big beef up front for Green Bay needs to be tough.
On offense, the Packers must get the ball out quickly. I think the Steelers can be had, but they need to account for Troy Polamalu and the two pass rushing linebackers, James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley. Chad Clifton is getting to the end of the string and he needs to play one of the best games of his life. By the way, I expect Polamalu to blitz, potentially a lot.
Here's my hunch -- on offense, one of two guys needs to make a play for the Packers early. If either James Jones or Jordy Nelson gets on the scoreboard in the first half, the Packers win comfortably. If not, game on. But in the end, I am confident that the Packers are the better team. Green Bay 37, Steelers 28.
Well, after Sunday it won't be long before pitchers and catchers report. But right now, I'm ready for some football! We're going to watch the game at my grandparent's house this year, so if you hear some really loud yelling in Arden Hills, that's us. And you'll hear us. I can promise you that. Until next season, Ben out!