With just two weeks to go in the regular season, the Green Bay Packers were on the outside looking in at the Giants for one of the two wild card spots in this year’s playoffs. Now they are playing for the 45th Super Bowl.
And being in playoff mode for five weeks now puts them at a huge advantage heading into their match-up with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Anytime you put a team’s backs against the wall, you see its true determination. Not only have the Packers become just the second six-seed to win a conference championship, but the only other team to do it was the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they won Super Bowl XL.
Green Bay also has team history on its side. The last time the Packers won a Super Bowl was in 1996, when Brett Favre made his first trip to the biggest game in sports. It’s now Aaron Rodgers’ first crack at the title, and with a win, he will forever and completely be shed of any questions about whether he fills Favre’s shoes.
The match-ups within the game also bode well for Green Bay. First off, they are playing in a dome, and the last two times this offense has played in an indoors playoff game, the results have been impressive to say the least. In both games, the Pack hung at least 45 points. Rodgers threw for 423 against Arizona last season and 366 against the No. 1 seeded Falcons this season.
We also have to consider the strengths of the Green Bay offense versus the Pittsburgh defense. If the Steelers’ defense has struggled with one thing this season, it’s the passing game. In losses to both the Saints and Patriots, the Steelers gave up more than 300 yards of passing to Brees and Brady. The Packers, on the other hand, earned the fifth highest passing total in the regular season with just the 16th highest attempts.
With the emergence of James Starks and the Packers running game, it gives the team a heightened advantage against a Pittsburg defense that now must worry more about the run than they did a few weeks ago.
Green Bay has a lot going for it in this game, but maybe nothing as important as fan support. For some reason, the Packers have emerged as the media darling in this year’s Super Bowl. According to an ESPN Sports Nation poll, nearly 58 percent of voters think Green Bay will win the Super Bowl. That, coupled with the fact that the Steelers just seem to be one of those teams a lot of people love to hate, the Pack have many backing it for the simple reason that they don’t want the Steelers to win.
Come Sunday night, the turf at Cowboy Stadium should be wonderfully decorated with green and yellow confetti, and Aaron Rodgers will be headed to Disney World.