PFT’s Super Bowl picks

Rosenthal has clinched the full season and postseason picks crown.

Or at least he thinks he has.

The official PFT Picks rules committee (i.e., me) has determined that, since the Super Bowl is bigger than like 10 games, it’ll be worth 10 games in the official standings.  Thus, since we’ve picked different teams in Super Bowl XLV, I’ve still got a chance.

Like Vince Lombardi in Super Bowl I, Rosenthal already has said that he’s playing this one under protest.

He can take it up with the PFT Picks rules committee.

Florio’s take:  The Packers have the better team.  The Steelers have the better organization.

Sometimes, it’s that simple.  Talent has carried the Packers far, even though at almost too many times this year the talent hasn’t been able to deliver.

The Steelers have an uncanny appreciation and understanding of what it takes to win on the biggest stage in sports, with six wins in seven Super Bowls.  In their only loss, 15 years ago against the Cowboys, the Steelers came close to overcoming the fact that Dallas had the clearly superior team.

This time around, the gap between the Packers and the Steelers isn’t as great.  Though the absence of rookie center Maurkice Pouncey will hurt, the identical nature of the two defenses will make it easier for Doug Legursky to do his job.  (For a thorough and insightful discussion of what that job fully entails, be sure to check out our PFT Live interview with John Madden on Friday.)

Since losing the 2004 AFC title to the Pats, the Steelers have won nine of 10 postseason games.  Despite the fact that the Packers prefer playing indoors on FieldTurf, the Steelers will show up and find a way to get the most out of their ability in any setting, and on any surface.  With three Super Bowl appearances in six seasons, the Steelers will embrace the magnitude of the game without being intimidated by it.

The Packers could be on the cusp of a dynasty.  The Steelers, however, are smack dab in the middle of their second one.  It’s hard to imagine them being denied what would be — what I think will be — their seventh Super Bowl title.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 27, Packers 24.

Rosenthal’s take: Mike McCarthy said the Packers are no one’s underdogs, and he’s right. It’s completely insane they haven’t trailed by more than seven points all year, and they’ve essentially won five straight playoff games.

This matchup is as even as possible, but I’m rolling with the Packers because they have the right attack to beat Pittsburgh. Facing Dom Capers’ defense in practice every day is terrific preparation for Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s offensive line. More importantly, the Steelers are weakest when you spread them out and throw like crazy; the Saints and Patriots beat them with 43-plus pass attempts each this year. The Packers have the play-caller and personnel to pull off a pass-wacky approach.

Ben Roethlisberger is such a unique talent. No other quarterback could survive behind this Steelers offensive line, and he’ll be able to score points on Sunday. Still, I can’t get past the Doug Legursky effect at center. Roethlisberger doesn’t set protections, so Legursky will have to. That’s a tall task against a Dom Capers defense that is younger than Pittsburgh’s D and could fly around on turf.

This won’t be a defensive game, but the Packers defense should make enough plays in the fourth quarter to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.

Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 35, Steelers 27.

76 responses to “PFT’s Super Bowl picks

  1. I predict a lot of Steelers fans agreeing with Mike and a lot of Packers fans agreeing with Gregg. Que sera sera.

  2. 35 points is a lot. Even the Pats’ offense only got 32(their 7 other points came on a pick-6). Not to mention the Steelers’ defense has not given up more than 17 offensive points since that NE game.

  3. I will be shocked if the Steelers don’t win it in the last minute of the game. Somebody on Green Bay’s young side will make a major blunder due to nerves.

  4. The two defenses are, basically, a wash. Both are great, though both have slight – albeit different – weaknesses. That is, the Steelers against the pass, and the Packers against the run.

    So, it seems to come down to the differences between the offenses, and which can better exploit the other defense’s weakness.

    Thus, can Aaron Rodgers play better than Rashard Mendenhall? No Brainer! Packers! 31-17.

  5. They both seem like reasonable picks. This really is an awfully even matchup, and while I’m a diehard Packers fan, I’m not blind to it.

    I think the game will be decided more by the Packers than the Steelers. If the Packers don’t get frazzled, don’t commit turnovers or let the Steelers jump to an early lead because they’re blinded by the intensity of it all, I think they’ll win. They’re simply a better team when things are clicking, end of story.

    But the Steelers are going to come out and play like the Steelers. And if the Pack can’t show up and take care of business, or if they are jittery throughout the encounter, I don’t for a moment doubt that the Steelers will take home our trophy (see what I did there?).

    So we’re in that odd situation where the teams are very close, where the more talented team is also the less consistent and less experienced team. And to be honest, it’s nigh impossible to prognosticate what combination of talent, experience, etc will show up on Sunday, no matter what people say.

  6. Neither of these teams knows how to give up, and their coaches rock. That’s what it’s going to come down to. I’d love to see Papa John deliver those 312 million pizzas. None to me, though. I’m in Hanoi. Just my luck.

  7. Whats the over / under on forced hair comments about Polumanu and Mathews?

    Really, its gettin rather silly.

  8. Oh god Mike, you’ve totally screwed any chance the Steelers had by picking them…there’s a reason Baby Gregg is so far ahead.

  9. I think the Packers will win, mostly because of being able to spread it out and throw, but I also think the secondary will have chances to make plays if GB can get up ten or so in the 2nd half.

  10. Packers will be the ones taking Roethlisberger to the restroom this time, and walk away with the win.

  11. You really think the steelers will give up 35 points. Maybe in a regular season game. The Superbowl? get real.
    Steelers 23, Packers 17. Steelers score a Def TD.
    both teams suck

  12. It’s really hard to take these picks seriously when you both pick different teams. Whether it actually is or not, it makes it feel fake. I’m not faulting you guys for it. I understand why you would do that, I’m just saying I’m not going to call either of you a genius if your prediction is correct.

  13. Both analyses are good. Should be a great game, featuring two very good teams that have overcome their own types of adversity. As a Packers fan I respect the opposition, and am very glad we are playing a class organization rather than the Jets.

  14. On one side I can see the Steelers winning by 4 at the most. On the other hand I can see the packers win by 21 at most.
    Splitting the Dif: packers 38, Steelers 21

  15. I am not a fan of either team but I think they both got it right…Mike has the score and Greg has the team..Packers 27 Steelers 24

  16. Thanks for reminding me of something I’d forgotten. Fifteen years ago, against the Cowboys, the fix was in. So if I forget that one happened, and oh I would love to, Pittsburgh is undefeated in Super Bowls.

  17. I predict a lot of Steelers fans agreeing with Mike and a lot of Packers fans agreeing with Gregg. Que sera sera.
    Count me in with Gregg then.

    Packers will win…period.

  18. I think Packers will win if both these teams play their best, as in no lopsided turnovers and penalties. They’ve been in playoff mode since week 16, and have won every must-win game up to this point. But the Steelers do have a very scary defense and a QB who have won it 2 times before. Really can’t wait to watch this Superbowl!

  19. @Deb – …and a lot of Ravens fans agree with Greg also…and wonder why our coaching staff remains too pig headed to develop a winning game plan against the Black & Yellow! Enjoy what should be a great game!!!

  20. It is that Packer defense which will keep Roethlisberger bottled up. Ben will not be able to escape the pocket; Aaron Rodgers will have more maneuverability, and that will be the difference in the game. Packers win a close, close game. Bet the tease: Steelers +9.5 and Over 37.5.

  21. It’s snowing in Arlington, TX…where’s the daily morning cry-fest about the weather in Texas and the lack of any local beaches with scantily-clad women??? Not that it matters, since Mikey looks like the result of ET and Snooki procreating…not a hit with the ladies!

  22. The official PFT Picks rules committee (i.e., me) has determined that, since the Super Bowl is bigger than like 10 games, it’ll be worth 10 games in the official standings

    I like the way you do math Mike.
    Do you do tax returns by chance?

  23. The Pack does not have the better team. I’d take their CBs on defense, and that’s about it. On offense, Jennings is a stud and I’d take Clifton because he sucks less than Scott.

    I’m not saying it’s a landslide – Matthews is a stud, but Harrison is better. Rodgers is a stud, but I’d take Ben. Maybe I’d take Raji over Hampton, maybe not.

    For all of this talk about the Pack’s offense, they scored 13 more points than the Steelers this year against a weaker conference. This isn’t the 2007 Patriots, folks.

  24. I just can’t get past the way Green Bay destroyed Atlanta indoors on the rug. It will be close but I have to go with the Packers.

    Having said that Rodgers is one close shave from another concussion which would change the water on the beans.

  25. I predict a smattering of ‘questionable call’ posts sprinkled on top of ‘Steelers cheat again’ quotes.

  26. I doubt the score gets as high as either predicted. We’re talking about the number 1 and 2 scoring defenses.

  27. This game is going to freaking rock! I cannot wait for this thing to start out.

    As much as I want my Packers to win… no one is talking about our special teams. Not our kickers, our kick off squad. That could be the edge the Steelers need.

  28. I agree with Deb!

    Can’t deny these are two really good and really similar teams. Could go either way. Of course, being a Steeler fan, I believe the Steelers have the overall edge in talent at key spots, and probably have the better chance to run the ball which I beleive will be a key. Nobody runs the ball that successfully against the Steelers, period, end of story. I don’t think a team can win this game without getting some kind of running game.

    It seems as if everyone is putting Rodgers in almost-Brady territory. Isn’t that a little premature?

    It at some point in the game, my feeling is that the Steelers’s two aces, Ben and Troy, will pull their typical insanely amazing plays out of their rear ends and help the Steelers to a victory.

    It’s time for some football!!

    Steelers 24
    Packers 20


  29. If this gets to be a shootout, Green Bay will win. Roethlisberger won’t be able to make enough plays. Holmes made a circus catch to win them their last Super Bowl and he isn’t there to do it this time.

    If it’s a defensive struggle it will be a coin flip to see who wins.

  30. I’m a Steelers fan and I agree with Rosenthal’s take except for the part about Rodgers practicing against the Packers defense. While they run a very similar scheme, the Packers don’t practice against a 3-4 scheme to prepare themselves to play against a 4-3 team like the Bears. Both times Rodgers faced a 3-4 he didn’t look like the second coming of Bart Starr. On the other hand, the Steelers play have played many more teams that use a 3-4 scheme and have practiced against it to prepare for teams like the Ravens. So the argument that the Packers 3-4 somehow has prepared Rodgers and the rest of the offense over the course of the season to face the Steelers 3-4 is preposterous. It will take more than a couple of weeks of practice to get Rodgers prepared to face the Steelers defense and that will be evident in the first quarter.

    That being said, the LeBeau scheme consists of a bend but don’t break philosophy, and getting chunks of yards between the 20-yard lines will be easy. Rodgers’ red zone performance will be the determining factor on Sunday.

    The Steelers will not be able to outscore the Packers. They are going to try to run the ball out of their bunch formations, thinking a 3-WR set will force a DE or LB off the field, and thus will be easier to block. While they may have some success, such a game plan will not allow them to score enough points.

    My only caveat is the possibility of Rodgers being knocked out of the game. The 4 and 5 WR formations the Packers will use may create an opportunity for Harrison or Woodley (or a host of other Steelers) to plant Aaron in the field turf. If that happens, and any one of the gazillion cameras show Rodgers googly-eyed, the Packers won’t be able to get away with hiding a 4th concussion, Schutt helmet or no Schutt helmet. If Rodgers gets whacked (and I would gladly trade giving up a TD pass for a 56/12/92 sandwich) then all bets are off — Steelers win going away.

    34-23 Packers with Rodgers taking a knee at the end; 24-17 Steelers if Rodgers is sniffing smelling salts at the end.

  31. LOL yea the Steelers might just get that last minute win like they did against the Cardinals, except maybe this time it’ll actually be a legal catch in the end zone? Amazing how the refs got that one wrong.

  32. mayisamust says: Feb 4, 2011 1:31 AM

    “So, it seems to come down to the differences between the offenses, and which can better exploit the other defense’s weakness.

    Thus, can Aaron Rodgers play better than Rashard Mendenhall? No Brainer! Packers! 31-17.”

    You’re forgetting something.
    If the Steelers can pound the rock all day, manage the clock and effectively shorten the game, well, Rodgers can’t hurt them if he’s on the bench.

    Steelers 24-13

  33. Any other team’s fans posting negative towards the Pack or the Steelers and saying they don’t deserve it can be summed up in one word:



  34. You can say what you want about this game on paper but you can’t forget about the intangibles. The bottom line is that Green Bay may have peaked in Atlanta and the first quarter against Chicago. Pittsburgh keeps getting stronger, and if they wouldn’t have tried to run out the clock in the second half, would have put up 38 against the Jets.
    This isn’t gonna be as close as people think. Pittsburgh 31-14.

  35. Packers were supposed to lose to the Falcons because Micheal Turner was going to pound the rock all day. How did that work out?
    Packers were supposed to lose to the Giants because they were going to pound the rock all day. How did that work out? Packers were supposed to lose to the Eagles because they couldnt stop Mike Vick from running. How did that work out?
    Seems like Steelers fans are pinning there hopes on winning if they can knock Rodgers out of the game. Hey if you cant beat them just injure them. Sad

  36. These posts clearly show that there are more Steeler haters than Steeler fans throughout the country. That’s ok with me. Rodgers gets two TDs, not enough to overcome the three scored by the offense, and Timmons on a fumble return.

  37. While fans can guess at the final score, most Superbowls have been decided on a few wierd plays that no one predicted.

  38. I wouldn’t go betting the bank on a Packers loss if AR gets knocked out. Let’s not forget Matt Flynn played a hell of a game and was 20 seconds and a blown play call away from beating the Pats.

    No, they didn’t win, but you can’t take away the fact that Flynn was effective and is perfectly capable of moving the ball.

  39. Just skimming through Steelers’ past seasons, it’s interesting that they only play like 1 indoor game per year. It wasn’t until last in 2005 when they play and win multiple times indoor.

  40. I don’t understand people thinking the pack have an advantage because they have been ” playing playoff football ” since week 16…. The steelers were also battling through the final weeks to secure top spot and a bye.

    Should be a great game, between 2 great d’s and fairly comparable offenses. I think the steelers experience will be a telling factor when it’s all said and done.

    Although the pack have a good offense, I don’t think they have enough to score enough points against the vaulted Steeler D.

    Steelers 23- packers 17

    Go Steelers!!!

  41. Let’s not forget that just over a year ago, the Steelers beat the Packers in a shootout. I realize they’re not the same rosters, but the main core is intact for both sides. I don’t doubt for a second that the Packers could put up 30+ on the Steelers D, and I also don’t doubt for a second that Ben would be able to keep up.

  42. cityofchampyinz says: Feb 4, 2011 9:20 AM

    I’m just amazed that MF picked the Steelers.


    I know what you mean. After all the criticism of Steelers and their organization. Maybe reverse psychology is at work here? Someone hopes the Steelers lose by making a disingenuous pick? Bad Mojo at work?

  43. Hopefully, Rogers plays the whole game, everyone picking the Packers will be shocked in defeat. Ben is NOT going to lose this game, write that down. He has way too much to prove to let a first time Super Bowl QB outshine him. And don’t underestimate the SB experience factor, it will be huge Sunday night. The Packers will be down 17 points before they know what hit them. Rogers is everyones darling right now because he had great games in these play-offs. Now it’s time to pay the piper! Steelers 27 – Packers 20


  44. Two things:

    GB is going to win. Great offense and a great defense against a great (although aging) defense and average offense that couldn’t score in the second half against the Jets. Steelers are extremely lucky to be there and will have to be extremely lucky to win again. They can do it because they are the luckiest team in the NFL.

    The other thing; I see newborn babies on the web dressed in Steeler outfits and I just think: Those poor little bastards!

  45. Chances are the Steelers are going to try to give Rogers a head shot and knock him out of the game with a concussion. That is the only way they win this game. Why do I say this? Well that’s the way the Steelers play- Dirty- Knock the QB out and you have a chance.
    Rogers also may have hurt his shoulder in their last game. His passes sucked after he took a hit to the shoulder running for that touchdown. I hope he is okay and can have the same game he had against the Atlanta Falcons.

  46. @alan3008 ….

    You guys really are a sorry fanbase. Geez. If you’re not bragging incessantly, you’re lying and whining in advance. 🙄

  47. Wow, just started reading this blog and comments and just can’t believe how many Steelers haters there are out there. Having lived in da ‘Burgh for several years I can honestly say I’ve never seen a more open, friendly, good old fashioned blue collar city, and their sports teams embody all of these great qualities which is why they are so beloved.

    As I celebrate the Steelers’ 7th Superbowl win tomorrow evening I will drink an extra glass of champagne and toast to all you haters…hope your hatred will keep you warm ’til YOUR teams get to play again!!!


  48. I really can’t call this one. Kinda rooting for the Pack, for no other reason that I can’t listen to “stairway to seven” for another year. I don’t have anything against Sixsburgh, but g*damned Stiilllers fans are so effing annoying.

  49. What you all don’t get is that unless you are from Pittsburgh, you’ll never understand. Try to understand this…..we really don’t care what you think or say about the Steelers.

    @sdw2001 ~ don’t worry about listening to “stairway to seven” for another year. After tomorrow night, the new Steelers cheer will rhyme with EIGHT.

    Steelers by 21.


  50. If this is a battle for the ugliest uniforms in the NFL, it will be close, but Steelers win!!!

    I am pulling for Green Bay because they don’t have a rapist on their team.

  51. “Still, I can’t get past the Doug Legursky effect at center.”
    This is huge, and something the Squealer fans don’t want to think about. The center may be the most important position on the O-line, and you got a guy making his first start in the most important game of the year.
    No pressure.
    LOL. Yeah, right.
    He not only has to call the protections, he has to somehow instantly recreate the synergy between himself and the QB that enables a seasoned tandem to anticipate each other’s moves, successfully snap the ball when he is under center, and also shotgun snaps.
    I think it will be a while before #7. Sorry, it won’t be black and yellow. It will be black and blue.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!