An Obligatory Super Bowl XLV Pick

As promised last week, here is my prediction for the Super Bowl. Rather than pretend to know what I’m talking about as far as things like blitz pickups, eight-man fronts, snap counts, and pass protection go—I do some of that on the weekly radio show—here is a simple prediction based mostly on what I’ve seen from the two teams and also what my gut feeling is:

Packers 27, Steelers 21

This might be the first time in a while where I have basically zero confidence in a Super Bowl pick. I really don’t see much of a talent differential in these two teams. I think the Packers might be slightly better based on what I’ve watched in the playoffs, but then again you can’t underestimate the fact that the Steelers have been here twice before within the last six years while the Packers are new to the party.

So I’m going with the eye test a bit for this pick. This is probably poor reasoning because it isn’t necessarily the Steelers’ style to obliterate teams. They win ugly, but more often than not they win. The Packers have been playing nearly perfect football since Week 16 of the regular season and while they haven’t blown every team out since then, I never really felt they were ever seriously challenged in any of the last five games. Throw in the fact that Vegas likes them—a little bit anyway (2.5-point favorites in most books)—and that’s good enough for me.

I usually have actual football reasons for picking Super Bowl winners. I felt pretty confident in picking the Saints last year. Even though they were underdogs I actually thought they were a superior team to the Colts. It’s much too close to call this time around. I have a sneaking feeling that something out of the ordinary will decide this game; maybe a blocked punt, a safety, a bad call and the coach is out of challenges.

After all the analysis before last year’s Super Bowl, the two biggest plays were an onside kick following halftime and a rare Peyton Manning interception that turned into a touchdown. No one could have predicted those events, and in a game that on paper appears to be an even match, it might take something just as strange to decide this Super Bowl.

And though I have no particular reason to be confident in my pick, I was 53-36-1 in picks against the spread that we did on the show this season (including playoffs). Entertainment purposes only of course.

As much as I’d like to be right, I’m just hoping this game is as good as advertised. The Super Bowl has been on a pretty good run in the last decade, and this one may need to tide us over for two years if there is no 2011 season.

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