NFL Super Bowl XLV Matchups
The NFL 2010 season is down to the final game of the year; Super Bowl XLV. The Green Bay Packers end-of-the-season run through the NFC playoffs propelled this storied franchise to its fifth Super Bowl appearance, while the Pittsburgh Steelers, from the AFC, will be making an unprecedented eighth trip to the big game. This Sunday’s kickoff from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX is slated for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on the FOX Network.
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The following is a look at a couple of key facts and figures for this matchup along with the current lines as supplied by Sportsinteraction.com.
Super Bowl XLV
Sunday, February 6
6:30 PM (ET)
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (FOX-TV)
Pointspread: Packers -2 ½
Over/Under: 44 ½
This is one of the most closely matched Super Bowls in recent memory. The last time the point spread was less than three points was back in 1983 when Miami was a two-point favorite over Washington. The outright edge in any majority category is not there, but there are several subtle edges that can be found on both sides of the ball.
Green Bay comes into this game with the slight edge in the passing game behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers and an offense that averaged 258 passing yards a game in the regular season and 251 yards a game in the playoffs. Pittsburgh finished the regular season averaging 225 passing yards per game, but this fell off to an average of just 156 yards in its two playoff games.
The Steelers get the nod rushing the ball behind running back Rashard Mendenhall, as they have averaged 120 yards a game through the 18 games they played. The Packers running game came to life in the playoffs behind rookie RB James Starks; averaging 118 yards a game, but they finished the regular season ranked 24th overall with an average of just over 100 yards per game.
There is some genuine concern with Pittsburgh’s offensive line after rookie Pro Bowl center was ruled out of this game with a broken ankle, but the Steelers’ line has been banged-up for most of the season and they did a great job adjusting as they went along. That being said, you still have to give the Packers a slight edge upfront.
Both Green Bay’s and Pittsburgh’s defense comes into this game playing at a high level. The Packers ended the regular season ranked fifth overall and second in points allowed, while the Steelers finished second overall and first in points allowed. They have both been able to carry this over to the postseason with Green Bay giving up an average of 282 total yards in three games and the Steelers giving up an average of just 208 total yards in two games. The slight edge here goes to Pittsburgh for its all around play.
It goes without saying that turnovers are often the key to any big game and that could very well be the case come Sunday. The Packers finished the regular season with a +10 turnover ratio and were +3 in the playoffs. The Steelers has the second-best turnover ratio in the regular season at +17, but ended-up even in the playoffs. Slight edge here goes to Pittsburgh for its overall body of work.
The final factor in this matchup is Super Bowl experience. This topic usually brings out a heated debate among experts as to its relevance, but no one can question that the edge in this game is clearly with Pittsburgh.
Green Bay has not been to the Super Bowl since back-to-back trips in 1997-1998, while the Steelers are appearing in the third World Championship Game since 2006. Their current roster has a number of players who earned rings for their 27-23 win over Arizona in 2008 and their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is going for his third Super Ring in his seven year career.
In a game this tight the gut instinct is to take the points as this looks like a one or two-point game either way.
Despite the shutdown nature of both these defenses, do not be afraid to go with the ‘over’ as points have a way of adding up in games like this, especially in the fourth quarter.
The Pick: Pittsburgh +2 ½ and OVER
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David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.