Sunday, February 6, 2011
Super Bowl - Go Pack Go!
The Packers defense, ranked second in the league behind Pittsburgh's in points allowed, has been stingy all year. The Packers were first in the league with 24 interceptions, first in sacks with 47, second in passes defensed with 110, and eighth with 15 forced fumbles. Coaches Dom Capers (defensive coordinator), Kevin Greene (outside linebackers coach), and Joe Whitt Jr. (cornerbacks coach), have all been instrumental in the development of the younger players. Along with the big names of Charles Woodson, Raji, and Matthews, rookie Sam Shields, Desmond Bishop, and Peprah have also made big plays all season.
Green Bay's special teams has been more reliable of late than the Steelers' special teams. Tim Masthay has been crucial to the playoff success for the Packers thus far; punting it not only for distance, but to keep the ball away from returners Jackson and Devin Hester was instrumental in both games. Jeremy Kapinos is Masthay's counterpart, and some fans may remember Kapinos as the Packers punter from the end of 2008 through 2009. Kapinos has been decent as an emergency replacement for Dan Sepulveda. Crosby has been suspect all season, but he has been better than Shaun Suisham, especially if you take kickoffs into consideration.
To be completely honest, this game could go either way. Green Bay has the better team, but Pittsburgh has better coaching. The one major factor that not many people are talking about is that though Pittsburgh has experienced less major injuries, the majority of their injuries have occurred recently. That makes a big difference because the players who had to fill in for Green Bay have already had close to a full season of experience under their belt, while Pittsburgh's players have had a short amount of time to learn the style of the NFL.
The previous time these two teams met was last season, and Pittsburgh won in a shootout after a last second long touchdown pass. Though Green Bay outplayed Pittsburgh that day, the Steelers still won thanks to their superior coaching. That game will look nothing like this upcoming one, though, since both teams have changed dramatically since that meeting. Green Bay's defense got carved up at the end of that season because while they were good statistically, they had many holes since the team was still learning Dom Capers' defensive scheme.
Green Bay has the better team at this time. If Pittsburgh's team was fully healthy then perhaps things would be different, but they aren't. Dom Capers' scheme will take advantage of the inexperienced linemen, and green and gold confetti will be streaming onto the field in celebration of the most decorated franchise in the NFL hanging another championship banner. Green Bay is going to win the Super Bowl, with Pittsburgh a mere bump at the end of a long, arduous road. It excites me to think that a whole new generation of Packer fans will be watching their team vie for the title of “best in the NFL.” Either way, this season was a huge success for the Packers, and we should all be grateful that such an exciting, loveable team was in our state, and we could call them our own.