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Super Bowl Predictions: The Case For The Pittsburgh Steelers

Making Super Bowl predictions is an exercise in futility. The best we can do is think about each team and their relative advantages and weak points, and go from there. Today we'll make the case for the Pittsburgh Steelers; tomorrow we'll take a look at the Green Bay Packers. Here, then, are three reasons the Steelers can plausibly claim an advantage in this Super Bowl stalemate:

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They've got a more effective running game, so if you're an offensive-balance guy Rashard Mendenhall, who picked up 1273 yards on 324 carries looks like a better pick than Brandon Jackson and the Packers' cast of thousands. The most dynamic runner on the field during the Super Bowl might actually be whichever quarterback has the ball—Ben Roethlisberger rushed 33 times for 176 yards, a 5.3 yard per carry average, while Aaron Rodgers rushed 65 times for 356. 

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Their defense might have what it takes to confound Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers, who's proven himself one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL—and one of the most accurate—is the most important player for either team to stop. The Steelers' pass defense allowed just 5.3 net yards per pass attempt, the second-lowest total in football, and intercepted opponent quarterbacks 21 times to boot. With their number-one ranked run defense giving the unbalanced Packers even less of an outlet than usual, Rodgers will be relied upon heavily. 

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They've "been there before", although I've long thought that the idea of having been there before is strikingly overrated by the media at large. As Behind the Steel Curtain notes, the Super Bowl doesn't sneak up on anybody—everybody in the NFL knows what it takes to win a football game. But if you want to offer the Steelers some tiebreaker for experience I guess I can't stop you. That's what Super Bowl predictions come down to, finally—what do you value, and how much do you value it?

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