The waiting is almost over and the Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4) and the Green Bay Packers (13-6) are set to meet in Dallas, TX at 6:30 pm ET on Super Bowl Sunday in the 45th edition of the big game at Jerry Jones’ palace, Cowboys Stadium. The Steelers will be going for their seventh Lombardi trophy led by Head Coach Mike Tomlin, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a defense that ranks first in the league in points allowed with 4.5 per game and second in yards per game allowed with 276.8.The Steelers feature a power running game with Rashard Mendenhall (3.9 YPC 13 TDs rushing) that ranked 11th in the league with 120.2 YPG. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, the godfather of the zone blitz will no doubt be looking for ways to put pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and slow down the Packers fleet of receivers.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown for 790 yards with 6 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions in the Pack’s three-game playoff run this year. The Green Bay offense ranked fifth in the NFL with 257.8 YPG through the air, although the Pack struggled on the ground most of the year, James Starks broke out in the playoffs averaging 87 YPG in the 3 games. The Packer defense ranks second in the NFL with 15 points per allowed and fifth in total yards with 309.1 per game. Rodgers top targets are Greg Jennings with an average of 16.6 yards per reception and 12 touchdowns, and veteran Donald Driver with 11.1 yards per catch and 4 touchdowns. Pass-rushing specialist Clay Matthews, who notched 13.5 sacks on the season, and ball-hawking cornerback Tramon Williams with 6 interceptions, lead an attacking 3-4 defense under coordinator Dom Capers that is very similar schematically to that of the Steelers. Capers was once the Steelers defensive coordinator, and cut his teeth under LeBeau in the 1990’s so both offenses will be quite familiar with the defenses they will be facing in this game.
The last meeting between the two teams was last season at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field when Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a last-second win with a touchdown pass to speedster Mike Wallace as time expired to pull the game out 37-36. Green Bay ironically enough was also favored by 2.5 points in that game, the Packers obviously did not cover. The Steelers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall including the playoffs, and 34-16-1 in their last 51 games as an underdog. The Steelers are 9-1 in their last 10 playoff games ATS. The Packers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 playoff games as a favorite and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers Super Bowl 45 Point Spread:
Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 (+105) @ 5Dimes.com
vs. Green Bay Packers -2.5 (-115) @ 5Dimes.com
Pittsburgh Steelers +3 (-125) @ Bodog.com
vs. Green Bay Packers -3 (+105) @ Bodog.com
Super Bowl XLV Prediction for Point Spread:
Point Spread Prediction – The Packers are red-hot on offense and Rodgers has been playing superbly in the post season and loves to play in the controlled climate indoors, but the Steelers have a wealth of post-season and Super Bowl experience that will serve them well in this game. Roethlisberger is 10-2 in his playoff career, and is very difficult to bring down for a defense, even one with Clay Matthews bringing the pressure. The balanced Pittsburgh offense and Big Ben’s ability to extend plays and over the chains will keep Rodgers and the Packer offense off the field and keep the Steelers in the game all day long. The experience of the players and coaching staff in a game of this magnitude cannot be underestimated, and in a very even matchup of teams with stingy defenses and top-flight quarterbacks that will be enough to tilt the scales in favor of the Steelers.
PREDICTION – Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 (5Dimes)