Let's take a look at the Steelers and Packers and see who wins this throwback Super Bowl.
Take a look at this stat: Rashard Mendenhall ran for 95 yards in the first half against the Jets: The Steelers scored 24 points. The 2nd half, the Jets held him to 26 yards. The Steelers didn't score anything.
Most of the headlines will be about Big Ben and his right arm and his scrambling ability. And sure, those are important, but a big important hunk of what the Steelers need to do is up to Rashard Mendenhall. Especially with the Packers awesome (and number 1 rated) passing defense making it hard for Big Ben to find anybody. On defense, the Packers have 2 advantages. One is the aforementioned pass defense, which is turnover-happy. The other is the awful, sack-producing Steelers offensive line, made all the more awful with the loss of center Maurkice Pouncey. If the Steelers can force the Packers' secondary to cheat up a little by running consistently the run, then it will make things easier for Ben to matriculate the ball up the field. If B.J. Raji, Cullen Jenkins and crew can force the Steelers to be one dimensional, it will lead to turnovers and 3-and-outs.
The Steelers run defense on the other hand, is no slouch. The number one rated rush defense, the Steelers will definitely turn the Packers into a one-man, one-dimensional offense—namely Aaron Rodgers. Luckily, they have a of of experience at this. Despite having the 24th rated rushing offense, the Packers have the 5th rated passing offense, resulting in just under 360 yards a game. The Packers were 3rd in the league averaging 7.1 NY per passing attempt and 6th overall in yards per attempt. And in the playoffs, the Packers actually ran the ball better, having discovered James Starks in the postseason and averaging a respectable 118 ypg.
These teams match better than almost any other combination in the league. Both are dominant run stoppers with an excellent 3-4 corp. Both have sack-master rush linebackers. Both have young quarterbacks with howitzer arms. The are the 1st and 2nd ranked defenses in the league. They rank 3rd and 6th in turnovers, including 2nd and 5th in interceptions. They are, in short, a perfect Super Bowl matchup.
Statistically speaking, it boils down to the Steelers 11th-ranked run game. If it keeps the packers honest, the Steelers will move the ball and score the points they need. If not, the Packers have the advantage. The call?
Enjoy the game. And the hair.