The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, in points allowed this season. So why do I feel that Super Bowl XLV will be a shootout?
The biggest reason I’m leaning toward a total score that easily surpasses the current over/under of 45.5 is the quarterbacks. Both have something to prove. Ben Roethlisberger is already known as a big-time quarterback, but wants to reestablish himself after rape accusations tarnished his reputation. Aaron Rodgers took the next step up the quarterback ladder this postseason, but wants to get all the way to the top. The only way to do that is win a Super Bowl.
The speedy Packers receivers thrive indoors (besides the Lions game) and create matchup problems for any defense, even a defense as stout as the Steelers. The Packers receivers are overshadowing a talented Pittsburgh group, led by the scary-good Mike Wallace.
Both defenses showed cracks in their conference title games, especially in the secondary. The Packers left a few receivers open downfield in the first half, but were bailed out by Jay Cutler’s inaccuracy. Then the Bears third-string quarterback led a second-half rally by connecting on long passes to Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett. Mark Sanchez finished with a QB rating of 102.2 and threw for about 175 yards in the second half against the Steelers.
I just get the feeling that once both of these offenses ditch the run and start spreading the field (probably sometime early in the second quarter), we’re going to be in for an aerial show. Of course, there are several reasons why I am probably wrong:
- Both team’s pass rushes can force any passing game off track. The Steelers will be especially vulnerable with four of their five opening day lineman injured.
- Mike Wallace is “scary-good?” Huh? He had one catch for six yards against the Jets.
- The Packers receivers thrive indoors? What? They couldn’t even reach the end zone against the Lions.
- Neither team scored an offensive touchdown in the second half of their respective title games. Both quarterbacks didn’t even pass for 100 yards in the second half.
Did I just talk myself out of my shootout prediction…nah. These quarterbacks are too good and their receivers are too talented to be held under 20 points.