— Rosenthal has clinched the full season and postseason picks crown.
Or at least he thinks he has.
The official PFT Picks rules committee (i.e., me) has determined that, since the Super Bowl is bigger than like 10 games, it’ll be worth 10 games in the official standings. Thus, since we’ve picked different teams in Super Bowl XLV, I’ve still got a chance.
Like Vince Lombardi in Super Bowl I, Rosenthal already has said that he’s playing this one under protest.
He can take it up with the PFT Picks rules committee.
Florio’s take: The Packers have the better team. The Steelers have the better organization.
Sometimes, it’s that simple. Talent has carried the Packers far, even though at almost too many times this year the talent hasn’t been able to deliver.
The Steelers have an uncanny appreciation and understanding of what it takes to win on the biggest stage in sports, with six wins in seven Super Bowls. In their only loss, 15 years ago against the Cowboys, the Steelers came close to overcoming the fact that Dallas had the clearly superior team.
This time around, the gap between the Packers and the Steelers isn’t as great. Though the absence of rookie center Maurkice Pouncey will hurt, the identical nature of the two defenses will make it easier for Doug Legursky to do his job. (For a thorough and insightful discussion of what that job fully entails, be sure to check out our PFT Live interview with John Madden on Friday.)
Since losing the 2004 AFC title to the Pats, the Steelers have won nine of 10 postseason games. Despite the fact that the Packers prefer playing indoors on FieldTurf, the Steelers will show up and find a way to get the most out of their ability in any setting, and on any surface. With three Super Bowl appearances in six seasons, the Steelers will embrace the magnitude of the game without being intimidated by it.
The Packers could be on the cusp of a dynasty. The Steelers, however, are smack dab in the middle of their second one. It’s hard to imagine them being denied what would be — what I think will be — their seventh Super Bowl title.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Packers 24.
Rosenthal’s take: Mike McCarthy said the Packers are no one’s underdogs, and he’s right. It’s completely insane they haven’t trailed by more than seven points all year, and they’ve essentially won five straight playoff games.
This matchup is as even as possible, but I’m rolling with the Packers because they have the right attack to beat Pittsburgh. Facing Dom Capers’ defense in practice every day is terrific preparation for Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s offensive line. More importantly, the Steelers are weakest when you spread them out and throw like crazy; the Saints and Patriots beat them with 43-plus pass attempts each this year. The Packers have the play-caller and personnel to pull off a pass-wacky approach.
Ben Roethlisberger is such a unique talent. No other quarterback could survive behind this Steelers offensive line, and he’ll be able to score points on Sunday. Still, I can’t get past the Doug Legursky effect at center. Roethlisberger doesn’t set protections, so Legursky will have to. That’s a tall task against a Dom Capers defense that is younger than Pittsburgh’s D and could fly around on turf.
This won’t be a defensive game, but the Packers defense should make enough plays in the fourth quarter to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.
Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 35, Steelers 27.