Saturday, February 04, 2006

Super Bowl XL thoughts

There is no small amount of trepidation I have in reiterating my pick that the Steelers will be the Super Bowl champs. First, the Steelers are a bit too much of a vogue pick considering they're the 11-5 sixth-seed from the AFC going against the 13-3 #1 seed out of the NFC and are actually favored. In any similar situation, this would be a 7+ point spread with the more winning team favored, so that indicates that the Seahawks may be underrated or the Steelers overrated.

Second, Peter King likes the Steelers to win. He's usually about as on-target with his Super Bowl picks as Chris Berman, who notably picked the Bills four times in a row from 1991-94.

Third, Seattle's offense is underrated -- they're big, strong, have a fortress of an offensive line protecting Hasselbeck, have a healthy Shaun Alexander, and the QB is coming off his best year. This could be a Mark Rypien effect for Hasselbeck -- average to decent QB (and he's better than that) having top-notch year and guiding team to a title. And his sister-in-law is good karma (and really fine).

Fourth, the "small" Seattle defense seemed adequate to beat the Redskins, Cowboys and Giants -- three power-running teams.

Yes, I'm sticking with the Steelers. I think their balance on offense (Bettis/Parker, Ward/Randle-El/Miller) and swift defense will give the Seahawks trouble. I think the three beatings of higher-seeded teams on the road without the running game on full power says alot about the mental poverty of the strategy of "make Roethlisberger win it." I think bonking the three best teams from the better conference on the road is more impressive than whacking the #6 and #5 teams from the lesser conference at home en route to the Super Bowl. And I think a two-week layoff for the Steelers, who lost 5 games this season in no small part due to Roethlisberger's mid-season injury and questions at RB early on, will make them as sharp as folks expected when they were a favorite preseason pick to wind up in the Super Bowl.

Here's hoping it's a good game . . .

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