Point/Counterpoint: Which team will win the Super Bowl?

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 04, 2011 7:10 AM

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Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl XLV is a match-up of two of the most successful teams in NFL History.

Both teams have star quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. Rodgers is looking for his first Super Bowl ring, while Roethlisberger has established himself with two Super Bowl titles.

But the Packers will come out on top.

They have been injury-riddled this season and have lost multiple players because of it, but the Packers have overcome everything thrown at them because of Rodgers and a dominant defense.

The quarterback has established himself in the same breath as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and he works with the league’s best receiving corps of Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones.

During the playoffs, Rodgers has shredded defenses while passing for 790 yards and six touchdowns in wins at Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago.

Running back fill-in James Starks has proved to be an adequate replacement for the injured Ryan Grant.

Another key part of Green Bay’s success this post-season has been a strong defense.

Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense has proven to continually keep the Pack in games as players like B.J. Raji and Cullen Jenkins put pressure on quarterbacks from the defensive line.

Linebacker Clay Matthews has established himself as one of, if not the best outside linebacker in the NFL, and finished the year runner-up in Defensive Player of the Year voting. He recorded 60 tackles, 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.

If Roethlisberger even has time to throw the ball when not being harassed by the Thor look-a-like Matthews, he will throw into a secondary that has locked down receivers this postseason and features Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Nick Collins and Atari Bigby.

It will be a hard fought game, but in the end, even if it pains me to say it as a Vikings fan, I believe Green Bay will emerge as Super Bowl Champions for the first time since 1997.

— by Ben Wolfson

Pittsburgh Steelers

Honestly, if the Packers were playing any other team in this year’s Super Bowl, it’d be easy to pencil them in for the win. But the history, coaching, and pure talent of the Steelers are just better in every way. Not exceedingly better — but still better.

Obviously, history doesn’t factor into a present day game, except that most of the Steelers’ main players have already played in and won a Super Bowl, meaning nerves won’t be a factor whatsoever for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger or safety Troy Polamalu. Also remember the running back for the Pack getting the memorable carries in these playoffs has been rookie James Starks.

I repeat, rookie.

As for coaching, Mike McCarthy is a good coach… some weeks. Packers fans — and trust me I know plenty of the insufferable bunch, although they’re not nearly as bad as Bears fans — lamented for much of the season about the team’s preparation and inconsistency. People now forget they barely slipped into the playoffs. And a lot of that inconsistency starts from the top.

Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin — possibly Omar Epps’ alter-ego — has rarely had his leadership questioned by one of the largest fanbases in the nation.

But really, the Super Bowl will come down to talent. Quick, name the Packers’ biggest two names. You probably said quarterback Aaron Rodgers and outside linebacker/will destroyer Clay Matthews.

Well, Matthews just lost the defense player of the year vote, albeit by two votes, to Polamalu. By the way, the third place player was a Steeler as well. That would be the NFL’s biggest donor this season, James Harrison.

As for Rodgers, the man is a stud. There’s no two ways about it. But is there anyone better in big games than Big Ben? He’s got two Super Bowls, and he’s about to add a third at age 28.

It will be a close game, and it could swing in the Pack’s favor with a lucky play or two, but as you can see, it seems like the Steelers are just going to end up being better, even if it is by a small margin.

— by Ian Martin

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