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Topic: Super Bowl 45 Prediction
 Russ Bliss_108
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Post Date: 01/28/11 14:22
I can't believe I blew it on my pick last week of the Chicago Bears going to the Super Bowl. I actually was feeling pretty good about my original pre-playoffs prediction of a Bears/Steelers meeting in the Super Bowl going into last week, and while it didn't work out, I can be happy in knowing it came very close. Jay Cutler's knee injury, the shoestring tackle by Aaron Rodgers on what would have been an interception return for a TD by Brian Urlacher, that final interception by Caleb Hanie on what would have tied the game with precious little time left in the 4th quarter all took their toll on my prediction.
 
 
At least I can take solace in knowing that I was right about Pittsburgh being the AFC representative. I can also take solace in knowing I said in my original playoffs article I thought the Packers were the best 6th seed I've seen in the playoffs and that they could go all the way.
 
 
But that's old news, and now the game is set. And that means a new round of predictions. So here we go.
 
 
Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers
 
 
When Pittsburgh has the ball: expect them to run Rashard Mendenhall early to see if he can get good yardage against a Packers run defense that while has been playing better in the playoffs still allowed Matt Forte to average over 4 yards per carry in the NFC Championship game. I think they'll try to get the Packers out of their nickel package first and then try to hit a big strike to Mike Wallace. Look for Hines Ward and Heath Miller to run a lot of underneath routes. The biggest concern I have is the Steelers offensive line being able to handle the Packers pass rush. The loss of Maurkice Pouncey is huge, and I really question Flozell Adams being able to handle when Clay Matthews comes on the blitz. I won't be surprised if the Packers use both Matthews and Charles Woodson on that side in blitz packages to really provide disruption on the right side of the Steelers offensive line. Few Quarterbacks are as strong and elusive as Roethlisberger and he is hard to bring down. But if the Packers get consistent pressure on him when he drops back, it could frustrate him or cause a turnover.
 
 
When Green Bay has the ball: I'd be very surprised if the Packers tried to establish a running game early. The Steelers were the top run defense in the league in 2010 and they clamped down on the Jets in the AFC Championship game. Instead, I look for the Packers to throw the ball a lot, especially on quick strikes early to keep the Steelers from playing up close to the line. Once they've gotten the Steelers playing back, that's when they'll pick their spots rushing the ball and when the Steelers come in close again, I think Rodgers will try to burn them on a couple of deep passes. I expect an efficient, but not special game from James Starks and for the Packers to score, it will have to be thru the air, or on a Rodgers scramble (a dangerous thing for a QB to do against Pittsburgh as they are fast and will hit him hard if the opportunity presents itself). The real problem for the Packers will be handling the different blitz looks the Steelers give and Rodgers will need to be his game to get rid of the ball quickly. If Rodgers is on, that could provide a couple of big plays on quick short passes to Jordy Nelson or Greg Jennings on inside slants.
 
 
Summary
 
 
Both teams come into this game with powerful offenses and defenses. It really can go either way. Our Lineup Analyzer has predicted a Steelers win 20-17. Our forums moderators Super Bowl predictions were split. The one prevailing thought is that it will be a close game and I'm no different in that. Either team can win it, but when push comes to shove, I'm going to say that the Packers defense will make a big play and that Aaron Rodgers gets his first Super Bowl ring.
 
 
Green Bay 24, Pittsburgh 21
 
 
Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers
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On any given Sunday any fantasy team can beat another, only to still lose Monday night.
 Throwball Heroes_118522
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Post Date: 01/29/11 08:29
Good article, Russ. Thanks for the info!
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Stephen
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 Niner Flower Power_6
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Post Date: 01/29/11 09:21
I just think the Steelers have "been there done that" and will edge the Packers. Last year the way the Packers lost I knew it would motivate them to get to the dance this year. I think they will loose a close one and come back with all their roster next year and take it all. There is no one in the NFC that is built as well (i.e. mix of rookies and vet's).
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 glen_127691
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Post Date: 02/01/11 08:31
Still, Russ, relatively impressive predictions considering everyone was picking the Pats at the start, and considering that the Bears were seriously off the radar screen for most people, yet they had real opportunities to win by pulling off those intangibly unpredictable plays (as you predicted).
I didn't see a recap from you on the conference championship games, so please excuse me if I missed it. I'd be interested in your take on two topics:
1) The Tomlinson obsession: After the first week of the playoffs you mentioned that the Jets went out of their way to get LT the touchdowns. In watching the loss to the Steelers, it was again very striking that they continued to focus on LT in critical situations. It could have cost them the game. LT had 16 yards on 9 carries. Greene had 52 yards on 9 carries. Yet again, it was LT who got the call on the failed 4th and 1 goal attempt after Greene was so effective on that 8 minute Jets drive. What's with the LT obsession, or do they not have confidence in Greene? Will this continue next year?
Jay Cutler: A lot has been written on Cutler (esp Rick Reilly's ESPN article) and his attitude. The most striking to me (in Reilly's article) is his reported, alarming lack of interest in learning from other QBs like Elway. We all know the criticality of learning from others. What's your take on Cutler's prospects for becoming an elite QB?
Glen
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 Russ Bliss_108
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Post Date: 02/01/11 13:57
Glen, I think the Jets really force-fed LT and that was a detriment to them. Wanting to get a great veteran the ball is a noble idea, but he isn't the RB he was 3-4 years ago any more and I think if they could do it over again, they'd definitely get more carries to Greene. I give them credit for trying to make sure LT got a chance to prove critics like me wrong, but he didn't. And he wasn't going to. I'll always have great respect for what Tomlinson accomplished in his career, but this was a bad strategic move by the Jets to force him the ball. I doubt it continues next year as I think the Jets have to realize he is only a complimentary player at this point in his career and while his salary for 2011 isn't outrageous, they may consider releasing him.
 
As for Cutler, I don't know enough about him to say he is unwilling to learn from other QB's, but it's not like he has any QB's to really learn from. The only quality veteran QB he's had to learn anything from was when he was a rookie and Jake Plummer was the Broncos starter the first 11 games that season. And trust me, Plummer was never the mentoring type. I don't recall John Elway ever reaching out to try teaching Cutler anything as John had his own interests going at that time. And really, who did Aaron Rodgers have? It's well known that Brett Favre wasn't the mentoring type either but Rodgers has flourished.
 
What stands out about Cutler is his demeanor. He doesn't come across as a passionate, likeable guy. He may not appear to be much of a leader either, but Brian Urlacher had his back immediately after the NFC Championship game and that speaks for itself in terms of what the other leaders on the team think about him.
 
Cutler may never become an elite NFL QB, but it's too early to know. I want to see what a second season with Mike Martz, and an improved offensive line in 2011 does for him before I form a firm opinion.
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 Throwball Heroes_118522
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Post Date: 02/03/11 18:10
Uh oh. I might have to cut loose from the Jay Cutler Support Group.

As for LT, Ryan said publicly during the season they were "resting" LT for their playoff run. Thus Greene was getting the carries, still not doing much in terms of fantasy numbers. Unfortunately for the Jets and LT owners, he didn't amount to much after the Jets bye week (Wk 7). Not sure Rex could justify "resting" him for the remaining 10 weeks of the season. I guess the Bolts did know what they were doing to some degree, but they should have got rid of him after the 2007 season and kept Turner..
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Stephen
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"ISIYBITSI" -Russ Bliss
 Ram Mas_5910
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Post Date: 02/05/11 22:12
Packers 24, Steelers 13. (and way under 45 1/2 pts).
 
1. The Steelers lost their only game played under a roof by 10. The Packers won all their three indoor games by an average score of 32-14.
2. The Packers went 7-3 vs. teams with a winning record, outscoring them by an average of 24-16. Pittsburgh went 5-4, winning by an average of 21-19.
3. In their six games vs. Common Opponents, the Steelers went 4-2 and were actually outscored by a small margin, 124-127. While the Packers only went 3-3, the average score in those 6 games was GB 26-17.
I think Jordy Nelson will score the first TD for the Packers, but the "smart" money (if you were to make a prop bet on the game's first TD) would be on Mendenhall.
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 Ram Mas_5910
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Post Date: 02/05/11 22:13
And by the way, Jesus has been fired as my fantasy General Manager.
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Bleeding Blue and Gold Since 1975
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Post Date: 02/06/11 10:06
If Green Bay is to win they will have to protect Rogers, one good hit and Rogers could be sitting on the bench wondering where he is at.
The Steelers D will be head hunting for sure in this game, don't be surprised to see a couple of late hits on Rogers early in the game, Steelers will trade those hits for the fifteen yards.
The key is for the game is protecting Rogers.
 
 DaBearsNic_98681
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Post Date: 02/06/11 12:33
I'll take the Packers 27-17.  But I don't like it.  I don't want either team to win.
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