Despite the records of the Packers’ and Steelers’ defenses and how spectacularly stingy they’ve been in giving up points (Pittsburgh was best in the NFL, allowing just 14.5 PPG; Green Bay trailed them by half a point), this could be closer to a shootout than everyone is predicting.
The Packers have been the best team in the playoffs at just 17 points/game, while Pittsburgh allows 21.5, but these two defenses are built in the same mold. Pittsburgh has better safeties and a better ROLB, Green Bay has better corners and ILBs, but both these teams are built in the Pittsburgh style.
When Dom Capers was remaking the defense in summer 2009, the popular term for his efforts was that the Pack became Pittsburgh West. Capers served as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator in 1992-1994, when Dick LeBeau was first coming up with his fire-zone blitzes.
The bottom line is that, for all of Capers’ creative blitzing and zone drops, the odds are that Ben Roethlisberger has seen most of the material. There aren’t many secrets here. Expect Big Ben and Rodgers to have an easier time with the defenses then they had last week.
The performance of Rashard Mendenhall against the heralded Jets defense last week-27 carries, 121 yards and a TD-would seem to be worrisome against the Packers’ middling ground game.
However, the Packers’ run defense has actually improved in the playoffs, holding LeSean McCoy (Eagles), Michael Turner (Falcons) and Matt Forte (Bears) to a combined 155 yards on 39 carries, or 3.97 YPC. This represents a vast improvement over their per-carry average of 4.5 in the regular season. Read more... (870 words + 5 images, estimated 3:29 mins reading time)
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Super Bowl XLV: Packers vs. Steelers – Getting Defensive
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