Super Bowl XLV Prediction and Projections From WhatIfSports.com image

The SB in Big D: Super Bowl XLV Prediction

The Steelers win by the slimmest of margins

By Joel Beall - Whatifsports.com
Jan. 24th, 2011

Using Whatifsports.com's award-winning NFL simulation engine, we simulated Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers 2,501 times. The simulation engine generated each team's chances of winning, average score and average team and player stats.

If injuries, depth chart changes and/or suspensions occur over the next two weeks, we will re-simulate Super Bowl XLV 2,501 more times to account for these roster adjustments.

You have the ability to simulate Super Bowl XLV as many times as you want for FREE! Just click on Simulate Super Bowl XLV links located throughout this article.

Super Bowl XLV - 2,501 Simulations
MatchupWin%Avg ScoreWIS Interactive
Pittsburgh Steelers52.521Average Game Stats
Green Bay Packers47.520Simulate Super Bowl XLV

Note: The point spread is currently Green Bay (-2.5). If the point spread changes over the next two weeks, we'll post updated Winning Percentages ATS here.

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=d2e14a05-bd9d-4d25-ae1a-aee9b81fc166" target="_new" title="">WhatIfSports: Super Bowl Prediction</a>

One team began the season with three starting quarterbacks in its first five games. The other had one of the worst rushing attacks in the league until a sixth-round rookie came to the rescue. These are not characteristics that usually correlate into holding the Lombardi Trophy at season's end.

Yet upon further examination, one would be hard-pressed to find more suitable Super Bowl candidates than the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. The two organizations are models of excellence for NFL teams, be it in the performance on the field, the proceedings in the front office, to the relationships cultivated between team and fan base. Appropriately, the similarities between the two franchises are borderline absurd as the teams are mirror images in every essence.

Defense. Both respective defenses held adversaries to conference-lows on the scoreboard, as Pittsburgh conceded just 14.5 points while Green Bay was just as frugal with a 15 points-per-game figure. Dick LeBeau's unit did their best Steel Curtain impersonation, stifling opposing rushing games to the tune of 62.8 yards a game. (To further shed light on that dominating figure, the second best run-stoppers in the NFL, the Chicago Bears, allowed 90.1 yards on the ground per game.) The Packers, while giving up slightly more rushing yards (114.9 per contest) were just as stout against the run, surrendering a meager six rushing touchdowns on the year. This supremacy carried over into the secondary as well, with Green Bay holding signal callers to an NFL best 67.2 QB rating. Second on that list? You guessed it: the Steelers, as Troy Polamalu and company posted a similarly impressive mark of 73.1.

QBs - Playoff Records
Player W-L
Joe Montana 16-7
Ben Roethlisberger 10-2
Aaron Rodgers 3-1
Simulate Super Bowl XLV

Quarterback. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are widely considered the NFL's elite when it comes to the QB position. But regarding the younger crop of arms in the league, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers are second to none. Whereas the aforementioned trio of Brady, Manning and Brees would be considered more traditional pocket-passers, Roethlisberger and Rodgers rely on their mobility to make and extend plays. (Of course, this dependency on backfield dancing also derives from a lack of protection from their offensive lines.) Both are extremely protective of the ball despite airing it out on a frequent basis, as Rodgers led the NFC with a 101.2 QB rating while Roethlisberger finished third in the AFC with a number of 97.0. The two also own some of the stronger cannons in the league, highlighted by 10 passes for Rodgers of 40 yards or longer and eight for Big Ben.

Super Bowl X-Factors
Player Last 3 Games
Packers -
James Starks
70 att. / 263 rush yds / TD
Steelers -
Antonio Brown
8 recs. / 141 yds
Simulate Super Bowl XLV

Adversity. Green Bay was stricken with the injury bug in 2010. Fifteen players were sent to the IR (most notably stars RB Ryan Grant, TE Jermichael Finley and LB Nick Barnet) and Rodgers dealt with concussion-like symptoms on multiple occasions. The Pack also had to overcome the emotional toll of countless close losses. Green Bay was defeated six times on the season, all by margins of four points or less. On the other end of the spectrum, Pittsburgh had to deal with another sort of adversity. Mike Tomlin and the Steeler organization had to overlook the assimilation of a social pariah back into the starting lineup of a 3-1 football team. This transition could have been a catastrophe, not only in regards to the on-the-field performance of the team, but a public relations nightmare as well. However, not only did Roethlisberger regain the trust of his teammates, he has won back the affinity of the city. As he heads to his third Super Bowl in six years, Roethlisberger is well on his way on the road to redemption in Steeler Nation.

Aaron Rodgers

Fan base. Without question, the Steelers and Packers have the most vocal, loyal, and ardent supporters in the NFL. Both cities pride themselves on possessing a blue-collar work ethic mixed with Midwestern humility. Steeler proceedings captivate and own Pittsburgh, while Green Bay, well, literally owns the Packers. And, of course, both display unique symbols at games with the Terrible Towel and Cheesehead.

History. The Steelers will be making their eighth appearance in the Super Bowl, Green Bay their fifth. Names like Lombardi, Noll, Starr, Bradshaw, Hornung, Harris, Nitschke, Lambert, White, and Greene are synonymous with NFL lore. Even the logos themselves seem to signal to a simpler time. Yeah, I'd say these franchises possess some historical significance.

So who wins Super Bowl XLV? According to the WhatIfSports NFL simulation engine, which correctly predicted this matchup, the Pittsburgh Steelers come out ahead 52.5 percent of the time by an average score of 21-20.

The Packers have had an amazing run as the NFCís sixth seed. But it appears Tomlinís squad will be bringing home a seventh ring to the Steel City.

Super Bowl XLV - 2,501 Simulations
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Pittsburgh Steelers52.521Average Game Stats
Green Bay Packers47.520Simulate Super Bowl XLV

Interested in seeing how we think each player will do or whether the team can cover the spread? View the aggregate boxscore.


Joel Beall is a Content Writer for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

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