Now, lets see how I did prognosticating the game:
The Packers never trailed during the game. If they would have lost, it would most likely have been on the last play of the game and it would have been by one point.
- The Packers have not trailed by more than 7 points in any game this entire season, including the Playoffs.
- The Packers lost their six games by a total of 20 points, not losing a single game by more than 4.
- Of those six losses, most came down to the final play.
- The Packers played one of the toughest schedules this year of any team in the NFL.
This paid its dividends in what seemed like a game that was being played at the Steelers home field.
- The Packers went ON THE ROAD and beat the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd seeded teams in the NFC playoffs to advance to the Super Bowl.
Well, I was definitely off here. The Steelers didn't bite on play action, but then again the Packers never tried to run the ball to set it up. Starks showed some promise with a couple good runs. Would like to have seen him with the ball near the goal line.
- The Steelers probably didn't anticipate the Packers having a running game. The Steelers are most certainly sleeping on James Starks. And while James Starks is not the next Barry Sanders, he has shown a spark that no other Packer running back has this year. He could single handedly break this game wide open running the ball well which will lead to Aaron Rodgers picking apart the Steelers defense with the play action.
Wow, what a prognostication this turned out to be. When Sam Shields was out of the game due to injury late in the first half, along with Charles Woodson and Nick Collins being out at the same time, the Steelers attacked that side of the ball. When Shields was back in the game the impact was immediate and outside of a couple plays the Steelers respected Shields cover ability.
- Unlike last years match up with the Steelers, the Packers have Sam Shields this year, easily one of the top cover corners in the league. Big Ben will find it very difficult to throw against this years Packers because Sam Shields talent allows the Packers to blitz freely or drop extra men into coverage elsewhere.
Big Ben is known for shrugging off would be tacklers and creating big plays outside the pocket. And the same thing was said about Michael Vick this year. The Packers played him and beat Vick twice this year, forcing him into being mainly a pocket passer and wrapping up their tackles on him every time. I anticipate the same thing when the Packers get to Big Ben.
Big Ben was forced to stay in the pocket for a lot of the game. He broke containment a couple of times, but once the Packers put Clay Matthews on spy-mode Big Ben was stuck throwing it in normal rhythm. This may sound like a bad thing, but this actually prevented Big Ben from opening up huge plays long after the normal rhythm of a play had ended. Basically, the Packers contained Big Ben, hit him a few times, and wrapped him up when they did get their hands on him. The didn't "shut him down", but they didn't need to. Big Ben is average when he can't extend plays.
- Oh and the Packers are missing 14 starter-caliber players to injuries and yet proved they had and still have amazing depth at every position other than running back (which may be changing, see my Starks comments above). Imagine this team next year.
Another beauty of a prognostication considering the Packers lost three starters during the course of the game (and had more starters sit out several plays). IMAGINE THIS TEAM NEXT YEAR!
OK, the Packers didn't quite make it to a double digit win, but they did lead by 18 at one point. Also, they lead by 11+ point sat half time of every postseason game this year. The Packers may not have had a perfect game, but the first quarter couldn't have gone any better.
- My actual prediction? The Packers win by double digits.
See ya'll next year when the Packers attempt to repeat.