February 6, 2011 3 Comments
No team has ever won seven Super Bowls! No team has ever won the Super Bowl as a six seed! Never has a Super Bowl been played in Dallas, Texas! You see what I’m getting at here?
It’s a Super Bowl of firsts. Welcome to the first annual Stick’s Pick Super Bowl Preview. First of all, I’d like to note that I am 7-3 on picks heading into Super Bowl 45 (soon-to-be 8-3). If you have been following my picks throughout the playoffs, this should come as no surprise to you. As predicted from the start (link), the Green Bay Packers are back in the Super Bowl taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers who are going for their record seventh Super Bowl title.
Take all the major sporting events and combine those into one three-hour game. What do you have? The Super Bowl! No other game draws half the hype or intrigue as the Super Bowl. Consistently drawing 100+ million viewers a year, there is no bigger stage. Just ask the folks on Madison Avenue (side note: this is one of the few times a year I actually take the time to watch all the commercials. Praise DVR!)
First things first, why does the NFL keep saying the Super Bowl is being held in North Texas. Is the city of Dallas trademarked? Or did Jerry Jones specifically say not to mention Dallas to remind the public of the Cowboys woes this season? And the SNOW? Having attended the NBA All Star game last February in Dallas, I can say that somehow the sports and weather Gods have topped themselves once again. NEVER, and I mean NEVER have I witnessed this much snow in the great state of Texas (This isn’t the usual black ice snow either, I’m talking the powder!)
As I was saying, the Super Bowl is MUCH more than the game itself. It might be the extra week of hype that propels it to immortal levels but this game keeps getting bigger and bigger. (On another side note: There is absolutely NO WAY the NFL has a lockout come next season. Football is the biggest it’s been during my lifetime, and you don’t have to be a mathematician to realize they could be leaving BILLIONS of dollars on the table.)
Arguably the three most storied NFL franchises are involved in this year’s Super Bowl: The Green Bay Packers (a team whose stadium holds more seats than the city’s population) vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers (Six-time Super Bowl Champion and a national symbol of the American working class). What an excellent matchup! Did I mention it is being held in the largest, most ridiculously grandiose stadium in the country? Jerry World (home to America’s team Dallas Cowboys) is also on display in what it is prime to be an epic weekend.
I’m not going to sit here and analyze statistics, because let’s face it. When it comes to the Super Bowl, all bets are out the window (literally). Desperately seeking a pattern in past Super Bowl champions, I’ve concluded that numbers can’t predict the Super Bowl. As the NFL’s two best sack and scoring defenses go head to head, we are in store for another classic.
Why Pittsburgh will win: Lets see, the Steelers will win their 7th Super Bowl title by simply playing Steelers football. If you happened to catch any Pittsburgh’s games during the playoffs, you may have noticed their physical mentality. Run the ball, Play defense, and don’t turn the ball over… simple formula.
The Steelers’ current offensive line woes have been hyped more than the game itself. Let me put this in perspective: Pittsburgh has so many injured lineman that in some spots, they are on their third or fourth-string starter. To make matters worse, their rookie Pro Bowl center (Maurkice Pouncey) is unavailable for this game. However, something tells me Pittsburgh may manage to avoid this glaring weakness and scrap together a patchwork offensive line. It’s going to be a challenge as they go up against a defense that has racked up 47 sacks (2nd in the NFL- trailing only behind Pittsburgh’s 48 sacks).
I’ll say this for certain, if Pittsburgh becomes a one-dimensional offense (passing offense most likely), then they have NO chance in this game. This isn’t your typical NFL defense. In fact, both Pittsburgh and Green Bay rank one and two in the NFL in defensive points allowed. If you take this game strictly by the books, then neither of these teams SHOULD score more than 20 points. If Pittsburgh is going to win, they need to hope for a low scoring defensive battle (Because if the Packers manage more than 20+ points, mark my words Green Bay will win.) Which brings me to:
Why Green Bay will win: I’ll be honest, ever since the Cowboys choked away another season, Green Bay has been my dark horse to make it to the Super Bowl. If you’ve read my previous playoff articles then you know I’ve been on the Packers bandwagon. ALL ABOARD!
As mentioned, the more points scored in this game, the better the Packer’s chances. Much has been made about the Packers six-seed, and their ability to win all their playoff games on the road. But let’s be honest, if it weren’t for the array of Green Bay injuries, this team had the talent to rack up 13 or 14 wins. Star running back out for the season (Ryan Grant), star tight end out for the season (Jamichael Finley), and Aaron Rodgers multiple concussions just to name a few.
Green Bay will win the Super Bowl if Aaron Rodgers and their offense play well. It’s that simple. You put up points against the “Steel Curtain”, and then you may have a chance. And don’t get me started on the Packers offense indoors. In three games this season, Rodgers best-overall games have come indoors (notching a 115 QB rating, 650 pass yards, 5 TDs with just one interception). Did you happen to watch the Falcons-Packers game at the Georgia Dome a few weeks back? 48 points later… the Packers strike again. Once again, if it comes down to each team’s offense, its going to be tough to match up with the green and yellow.
Stick’s Pick: After hitting 70% of my picks thus far, it all comes down to this. It truly doesn’t matter if you don’t pick the correct Super Bowl winner. With all this in mind, my gut feeling tells me this will be a shootout. Throw out the numbers, it is almost a proven fact that when the two best defenses square off, points are scored. So without further adeiu, I’m riding the Packers bandwagon one more week:
Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 27.
This is the first Super Bowl since 2000 to have a spread of three points or less. So get ready for Super Bowl 45… it’s going to be one for the ages. What do you think? Give me your comments and let me hear from you.