Yesterday I made a case for why the Green Bay Packers should win this year's Super Bowl. Now it is time to look at things from Pittsburgh's perspective and make a case for why they should win the game. Before the game tomorrow, my thoughts from both posts will clash in a position-by-position breakdown in terms of advantages, including who I believe will win the game. For now, let's highlight Pittsburgh after the jump.
This is the type of post where I think a lot of Browns fans would see only the top portion of the post on the front page, and then say, "I'm not reading a fluff piece on the Steelers." Nonetheless, here goes my attempt at not trying to be biased toward the team in yellow and black:
First off, many of the Steelers' players have been to multiple Super Bowls already, including two-time champion Ben Roethlisberger. A lot of teams seem to start off a little nervous or shaky in the first quarter of a Super Bowl. Pittsburgh should not be as nervous because so many of their veterans have been in that position before.
Roethlisberger is a tough quarterback for any defense to bring down. If you commit an extra guy to him, he'll evade both defenders and still find the open man for a completion. If you don't account for Roethlisberger's ability to scramble, he'll take off for a back-breaking first down. Like it or not, the guy always finds a way to get the job done. He didn't have a great game against the Jets two weeks ago, but when Pittsburgh needed a first down to clinch a victory, he calmly rolled out and found Antonio Brown for a first down. The Steelers' defense is good enough to give Roethlisberger enough opportunities to eventually make some key plays in the game.
Speaking of Brown, that is another thing that is so dangerous about Pittsburgh -- as soon as a player becomes a member of that team, whether they are a second- or third-stringer, they are given an opportunity to play and typically end up seizing the opportunity. The past two weeks, Brown has basically made game-sealing/game-winning catches after being a non-factor most of the season. Center Doug Legursky stepped in two weeks ago and had two fumbled snaps, but he still did well when it came to blocking. In fact, the "make-shift" offensive line of the Steelers held its own for one of Pittsburgh's best blocking game of the season.
I think it is more difficult for most teams to run the ball in the postseason. After a good regular season by Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers remained committed to the run in the postseason, particular against the Jets when Mendenhall had 27 carries for 121 yards.
Yesterday, I made a point that the Steelers' defense would be at a disadvantage for not having faced a high-scoring offense the past two-three months or so. The counter to that is this -- why is that the fault of the Steelers at all? The fact is, when they faced all of those "low-scoring" teams, they did their job and shut them down for the most part. Most importantly, Troy Polamalu, the Defensive Player of the Year, is healthy and good-to-go. Pittsburgh's defense was critical in their last Super Bowl too -- just when the Arizona Cardinals looked to be in the game, James Harrison intercepted the pass at the goal line and miraculously returned the ball 100 yards for a touchdown before halftime.
For as good as the Packers are offensively, the Bears' defense pretty much held him in check two weeks ago after the first quarter, with players in the front seven making plays on the football and frustrating Green Bay's usually explosive offense. Will Pittsburgh's swagger carry them to their third Super Bowl win in recent years?
A poll will be up a little later asking for your official predictions on the game.