Went 6-4 in the Playoffs, although I didn't document my picks, but Ahron can vouch for me. Hats off to both teams for getting here, especially the Packers, who have had to beat the: Giants, Bears x 2, Falcons, and Eagles just to get here. This run has been amazing sparked by a defense that is unrelenting at putting pressure on the QB and forcing mistakes.
When Green Bay has the Ball:
- James Starks has given the Packers running game a revitalization that had been missing all season since the injury to Ryan Grant. That being said, nobody runs the ball on the Pittsburgh Steelers, so this game will have to be won through the air.
- The Patriots and Saints have shown that the way to beat this defense is to spread them out and rely on quick timing routes, sustaining long drives, as the presence of Troy Polamalu and their overall strategy is designed to take away the big play.
- Behind Aaron Rodgers and a dynamic receiving corp, the Packers have the ingredients to sustain a few long drives, although Rodgers has to be more precise than he was against the Bears.
When Pittsburgh has the Ball:
- The Packers are the ideal fantasy defense, they will give up some plays, but they are very very aggressive and rely on negative plays (sacks and turnovers) not only to stop the opposing offense, but to change the game in their team's favor. The pick 6 before halftime against the Falcons is a perfect example of this.
- Pittsburgh throws a balanced attack at you with grind it out back Rashard Mendenhall and two big weapons in Hines Ward and Mike Wallace who is one of the fastest players in the NFL. However, this is a terrible matchup for this offense, especially if Center Maurkice Pouncey is out. Packers NT BJ Raji has had a monster past couple of months, Clay Matthews is one of the biggest defensive playmakers in the NFL, and the Packers secondary anchored by Charles Woodson has the speed, discipline, and skill to shut down Wallace and Ward.
- The Steelers' O-Line has been one of the worst units in the league all year, and if Pouncey is out, expect Big Ben to get harrassed all day long, and the Packers defense to force a couple big turnovers.
The Pick: I think both defenses will control this game. Pittsburgh's defense under Dick LeBeau is always going to be one of the best in the game, and Green Bay's defense is a nightmare matchup for Big Ben and Co. I like the Packers to have a few sustained drives, and a couple big plays on defense pulling it out and returning Lombardi's trophy back to Title Town.
Packers 17 Steelers 14