Super Bowl XLV Pick: Handicapping Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Total
Green Bay Packers
(13-6, 12-7 ATS)
(14-4, 12-6 ATS)
Everyone has already developed their opinion as to whether it will be the Green Bay Packers or the Pittsburgh Steelers that win the Super Bowl, but here at Bang the Book, we’re already making our Super Bowl picks on the ‘total’ as well. Check out our analysis of the 2011 Super Bowl odds in relation to the ‘total’.
In a year in which there were a ton of ‘over’ games, the Packers were one of the few teams that had a winning record for ‘under’ bettors. They went 10-6 in the regular season towards the ‘under’, and they have followed that up with two ‘unders’ and an ‘over’ in the second season. Immediately, we’re going to look and see QB Aaron Rodgers’ great numbers this year and think that this should be a shootout. Sure, he has thrown for 790 yards and accounted for eight TDs between his arm and his legs, but he also put up a complete dud against the Chicago Bears last week and proved that he is truly mortal, unlike what we were thinking in the divisional round of the postseason against the Atlanta Falcons. This is also where the big time commitment to the running game is going to have a huge factor. In spite of the fact that the Bears had the second best rush defense in the NFL this year and the best in the NFC, Green Bay still tried to run rookie RB James Starks into the ground, handing him the pigskin 22 times. If the Packers try this stunt against the Steelers, they’re going to be in sad shape, as there is no way that Pittsburgh is going to be allowing this type of production to a rookie that really has only accounted for his yards because of the quantity of his carries, not the quality of them. The Green Bay defense is forcing turnovers left and right and is completely harassing quarterbacks. This unit has already forced six turnovers, all of which have come via picks, and it has 10 sacks to boot.
Pittsburgh’s rush defense rarely allows even 100 yards on the ground in a game, and this is the unit that really is going to have to step up to the plate in order for the Steelers to win this one. We know that the black and gold have scored 55 points in their two postseason games this year, but we also know that this has really also been a product of the defense scoring and setting up points, something that we, as handicappers, cannot rely on regularly. QB Ben Roethlisberger knows that he has won some of the biggest games that the league has to offer, but he also has had some shaky moments, just as he had in the AFC Championship Game when he turned the ball over twice and was guilty of a safety in the fourth quarter. We know that RB Rashard Mendenhall is going to be run into the ground once again. He had 27 carries in the AFC Championship Game and will be asked to do similar here in the Super Bowl. Again, the defense is capable of some amazing things, and it has been that way for a number of years. If there is a unit that can pitch the first shutout in the history of the Super Bowl, this is it.
That being said, we are fairly sold that this is going to be a lower scoring game than the average Super Bowl. Asking these two offenses to combine for more than 45 points against these two defenses is going to be virtually impossible. We know that this has been the season of the high scoring games, but it will wrap up with a lower scoring slugfest.
Super Bowl Free Pick: Under 45
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