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2011 Super Bowl Predictions: Packers Vs. Steelers

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Super Bowl XLV is finally upon us and, as always, the staff at SB Nation Dallas-Fort Worth predicts the game.

The 2010 NFL season was, in a word, bizarre. 

Inexplicable upsets were littered throughout the season. The Browns took the Patriots to the woodshed. The Cowboys lost to the Redskins in Week 1 on Sunday Night Football. The Colts were battling for a playoff spot up until Week 17. The Chargers missed the playoffs and the Kansas City Chiefs made it. Michael Vick turned into an MVP candidate and an incredible pocket passer. The Giants lost to the Eagles on a walk-off punt return by DeSean Jackson, completing one of the biggest choke jobs, well, ever, and costing Big Blue a spot in the playoffs. Brett Favre finally missed a game - and retired. 

All these things actually happened, and there's no good reason as to why they did. The only reason is that it was NFL 2010. Even as the calendar turned to 2011, the fact that it was still the 2010 season screwed things up - and the Patriots lost to the Jets. Seriously. That actually happened? 

Regardless, we've arrived at Super Bowl XLV - in snowy Dallas. The weather in Texas right now really sums up the season better than I ever could. 

The Packers, a six-seed, are looking for their first Super Bowl win since Super Bowl XXXI, when they defeated Bill Parcells' Patriots by a 35-21 margin. Pittsburgh, the AFC's second seed, is looking for yet another Super Bowl title. The Steelers last won Super Bowl XLIII when they defeated Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23. 

A win for Aaron Rodgers would cement his status as an elite NFL quarterback and the best quarterback among the new wave of young, NFL stars. Rodgers wouldn't be on par with Peyton Manning or Tom Brady - but who is, really? It'd be a little extra sweet for Rodgers, too, after all the beatings he took from his own fanbase when the Packers chose him over Brett Favre, essentially helping guide Favre to retirement and then trading him to the Jets after he ended his retirement. 

A win for Ben Roethlisberger? That'd be a win for criminals and thugs. It'd also be Roethlisberger's third Super Bowl win, giving him as many as Brady. I sincerely hope nobody would mention Roethlisberger's name when discussing peers to Brady presently and historically, but a third ring would have some delusional Steelers fans and Patriots haters beating that drum. 

Here's how the staff at SB Nation Dallas Fort-Worth sees the game playing out:

  • Charley Code: Packers - The Packers and FIGJAM win "the big game" against the steelers. I root against rape. Happy Snow Day, America.
  • Christopher Fittz: Packers - After this excruciating season has finally come to an end, it makes sense that these are the two teams left standing for the final game. Finally, something about the 2010 NFL season makes sense. I've thought all season that the AFC was remarkably better than the NFC, but this is finally that elusively "best team in the NFC" in the Green Bay Packers that we were waiting for all season, so I'm hoping for a good game. I suspect deep down that the Steelers will win, but I just cannot bring myself to pick them. Not that it's easy to pick the Packers what with the Ice Bowland how happy it's going to make Michael Silver. I'm just going to pretend that I'm watching to root for Packers safety Atari Bigby tofinally get that ring.
  • Robbie Griffin: Packers - Every round of this post season, I have felt the Packers are the better team. I've struggled about who to pick each game because they've always been on the road. This round -- unless the Steelers get some official help as they arguably have gained in past Super Bowls -- they don't have to worry about that. It's strange to think the best team in the NFC in 2011 may have been a six seed, but I think it's true, if not the best in the NFL.
  • Maurice London: Steelers - Rodgers will finally have a bad game at the worst possible time. Troy Polamalu wins the Super Bowl MVP.
  • Liam Ponting: Steelers - Whoever wins, the rest of America loses. The Steelers will manage to pressure Rodgers into mistakes in a low scoring affair. Big Ben wins the MVP to the disgust of the rest of humanity.
  • Brett Perryman: Packers - I'm more confident that Green Bay is the better team than I am that they will win, but I have to pick my one remaining preseason SB pick. As Jimmy Johnson pointed out, Aaron Rodgers' play dipped noticeably in the NFC Championship game after the Bears started hitting him, and it's difficult to keep the Steelers off of your QB. On the other hand, the Packers should be better equipped than just about anyone to beat a defense like Pittsburgh's.
  • JP Starkey: Packers - I can't pick the Steelers. I just can't. Do I think the Steelers can win? Of course. Anybody can win the Super Bowl once you get there. The Patriots upset the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. The Giants...something happened in a game a few years ago that I've forgotten, but sources tell me the Giants pulled off a huge upset, unconfirmed, though. Regardless, I just don't want Pittsburgh to win and I think the Steelers are vulnerable. Their offensive line against the likes of B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews could prove to be the difference, here. I don't really like the Packers, either, but, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Go Pack Go. 

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.