As we all know the Packers will play the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday. I’ve decided to compare Green Bay and Pittsburgh through a number of statistics. I will then state who is better and has the advantage in that specific stat. Here we go.
The Packers and Steelers were similar statistically in this category during the regular season. Both Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger ranked in the top ten in passing yardage per game in the regular season. The two quarterback were almost identical in that stat, Rodgers averaged 248.6 yards per game and Roethlisberger averaged 248.3 yards per game. Rodgers had a 101.2 QB Rating while Roethlisberger’s rating was 97. Green Bay threw the ball more in the regular season and as a result had 9 more passing touchdowns.
Greg Jennings was Green Bay’s leading receiver in the regular season. Jennings caught 76 passes for 1265 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. Jennings was targeted 125 times during the regular season, that is 38 more times than James Jones who is Green Bay’s second leading receiver. For Pittsburgh, it is more spread out. Mike Wallace caught 60 passes and Hines Ward caught 59. A stat that sticks out to me is that Wallace has caught 26 20+ yard passes. Green Bay’s Jennings has brought in 16 more passes but only has 21 20+ catches.
In the playoffs, the Packers dominate the Steelers in the passing game. Aaron Rodgers averages 251 yards per game through the air, that is 95 more yards per game than Roethlisberger. Aaron’s completion percentage is 71 compared to Big Ben’s 56.9. Green Bay’s passing offense in the playoffs has been superb compared to the Steelers and gives the advantage to the Packers.
Advantage: Green Bay
The Steelers have had success throughout the whole year running the football. Rashard Mendenhall, third year pro from Illinois, has carried the ball the majority of the time for Pittsburgh. In the regular season, Mendenhall had 1273 yards on 324 attempts. He also averaged 3.9 yards an attempt and averaged 80 yards per game. He scored 13 times and only fumbled the ball twice in the regular season. For Green Bay, they didn’t have the same success as the Steelers did throughout the regular season. Ryan Grant was lost for the whole season in Week 1. Green Bay used Brandon Jackson for a large part of the year but he only averaged 44 yards per game. Then in Week 13 the Packers found an answer. James Starks, a 6th round pick in the 2010 draft, rushed for 71 yards against the 49ers. Also, both quarterbacks aren’t scared to run the ball as they both are great runners for a quarterback.
It’s been pretty even in the playoffs. Mendenhall has averaged 83.5 yards per game and Starks has averaged 87.7 per game. They both have a run over 20 yards. The difference is that Mendenhall has scored 3 touchdowns compared to only 1 from Starks and Mendenhall had a first round bye too. I think it is going to be a pretty even match-up in the Super Bowl since Pittsburgh’s starting center is unlikely to play. However, Pittsburgh is more known for their running game and I still would take Medenhall over Starks so I’ll give the advantage to the Steelers.
Mason Crosby handles the place kicking duties for the Packers. Crosby was 22 for 28 on field goals in the regular season. He was 8 for 10 from 40-49 yards and 2 for 4 from beyond 50 yards, his long this season is 56 yards. He was perfect on his PATs in the regular season too. Shaun Suisham has been the PK for the Steelers since Jeff Reed joined the 49ers. Suisham was 14 for 15 in the regular season and also perfect on his PATs. His long on the season is 48 yards. Jeremy Kapinos has been the punter in the later half of the season for the Steelers. He has a NET average of 32.3 has had 5 punts inside the 20. On the Green Bay side, Tim Masthay does the punting. His NET average is 37.6 and pinned his opponents inside the 20 yard line 25 times. Tim has a long of 62 yards on the season. I looked at the returners for both the Steelers and the Packers and they are almost the same. The same is true for the amount of yardage the two teams give up to their opponents on special teams. This is a pretty close category but others are giving the edge to the Packers and so will I.
Advantage: Green Bay
Green Bay’s secondary is lead by veteran Charles Woodson. Woodson won the Heisman at Michigan and was last year’s Defensive MVP. Him and the rest of the secondary held the opponent to 194.2 yards per game passing in the regular season which ranked 5th. The quarterbacks who faced the Packers in the regular season only averaged a 67.2 rating. Tramon Williams lead the team with 6 interceptions this year and the rest of the Packers had 18. Clay Matthews is one of the league’s best pass rushers and it shows with his 13.5 sacks this year.
The Steelers allowed an average of 214.1 yards passing per game throughout the regular season, that ranked 12th in the league. The Steelers picked the ball off 21 times, Troy Polamalu had 7 of those. Polamalu is considered one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He racked up 63 total tackles this year. The Steelers held the opposing QB to a rating of 73.1. James Harrison and LeMarr Woodley together have 20.5 sacks for the Steeler defense. Even though Troy Polamalu may be one of the best in the league, Pittburgh’s pass defense as a whole is not as good as Green Bay’s.
Advantage: Green Bay
The Steelers have one of the best defenses against the running attack in the league. They hold their opponent to a dismal 62.8 yards on the ground per game. The longest run the Steelers gave up in the regular season was only 24 yards and that was the only run above 20 yards for the whole regular season. That is ridiculous.
The Packers aren’t a top team when it comes to the rushing defense. They struggle and allowed close to 115 yards per game, not good. Their opponents had 10 20+ yard runs. A positive is that the Pack did cause 6 fumbles in the season. But they will need to improve because allowing 4.7 yards per run won’t help them beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a clear advantage in this category.
Passing Offense: Packers
Rushing Offense: Steelers
Special Teams: Packers
Passing Defense: Packers
Rushing Defense: Steelers
It is a pretty even match-up when you look at the stats. The Packers won 3 categories and the Steelers won 2 but the Special Teams was almost a toss up. It looks like it is going to be a great game this Sunday!