So, in honor of my pops predicting Santonio’s big Super Bowl game in 2009, I am going to make a few predictions for today’s game myself. In the picture to the right, you can see my nephew Thomas, my dad (wearing the ‘Tone jersey, of course) and my brother-in-law Chris. Thomas is now 2 1/2 years old, and he’s got a few predictions of his own.
Pittsburgh Rick caught up with little Thomas and this is what he had to say about today’s big playmakers:
Q: “Thomas, who do you think is going to make the big touchdown?”
T: “Mike Wallace makes big touchdown!”
Q: “I see. And when it comes to the ground game, do you think that the Steelers will use Rashard Mendenhall to control the pace of the game and keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands, or do you think they’ll go straight to the air like they did the last time these two teams met?”
T: “Mendenhall knock you around!”
There you have it folks. Looks like Thomas is predicting a few clock crushing drives by Mendenhall, and then a big play to Mike Wallace. After some thought, I came up with a few predictions of my own.
Last night I went to see one of the best Twin Cities mondern jazz groups at the Artists Quarter. They are called the Atlantis Quartet, and they will blow your mind. As I was sitting there zoning in on the beautiful compositions and interplay between these juggernauts of jazz, I started thinking about the Steelers and what they will have to do to win this game.
I thought about how dangerous Aaron Rodgers is at QB, and how we must keep the ball out of his hands. That means we run the ball and control the clock (like Thomas suggested), and we rush the QB with everything we’ve got and try to put a few hits on him. If we can get in A. Rodg’s head, I think our secondary will have a much easier time with such a great WR core. As we saw in the Bears game, one big hit caused Rodgers’ numbers to decline significantly, and after suffering what many believe to be at least 3 concussions this season, Rodgers if more fragile than most people are pointing out.
On the break during the show I talked to a friend and great bass player here in the Twin Cities, Matt Peterson, about the game. He is a neutral fan this weekend (I think), and I was wearing my Franco jersey at the club, which sparked a lot of this conversation in the first place. Matt asked me flat out, “so, who do you think is going to win the game?” Now, I’m usually hesitant to ever give a straight answer, so…I didn’t. I told him that I didn’t know who would win, and that Aaron Rodgers is dangerous. I gave credit to the Packers’ 5th ranked secondary, and the always everywhere Clay Matthews. Then I remembered, we’re the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I said something brilliant:
This Steelers team’s entire identity lies in that they win in the biggest situations. They come through in the clutch. When the game is on the line, its 40 yards to the endzone, there are 4 seconds left, and the Steelers need a TD, they make it happen. When they are backed up to the goal line and the opponent is in scoring position to put the game out of reach, Troy Polamalu intercepts the ball in the endzone. Polamalu intercepts Flacco and runs it back for a TD. He sack/strips Flacco. Willy Gay sacks the QB. Woodley makes a big sack. The Big Snack comes through. Ben puts a ball on the money to rookie Antonio Brown for 58 yards on a 3rd and 19, and the young man makes the biggest catch of his life. In the Super Bowl, when they need a big play, James Harrison intercepts the ball at the goal line and runs it back for a TD. Ben drives the team down the field 80 yards and throws a TD to Santonio when it is do or die.
The Steelers define clutch. They are the greatest team in football, and that is why. So, who do I think is going to win the game? How can I pick anyone else? The only thing I know about the Pittsburgh Steelers is that they win. They find a way, and the scariest thing for Packers is: They are never out of it. Never. Not until the final whistle blows. Lets just hope they prove me right.
Official PR prediction:
Troy Polamalu is well overdue for a big game. He practiced more in the last two weeks then he has since week 12. He’s healthier than he’s been, and he is playing against an inexperienced QB (though Rodgers hasn’t played like one).
I also think (and really hope) Big Ben has a big game. He’s been picked on, called out, and thrown under the bus, and he will overcome.
Its the Steelers over the Packers, 27-21