Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Voice of the Fans, Super Bowl Preview Part I

Many people save the best for last but I may have done the exact opposite with my Super Bowl preview. Everyone knows that the fans are the true voice of the team. They don’t have to respect their opponent and they aren’t pressured to be politically correct. The fan states exactly what is on his mind with no remorse. That is what makes this part of the preview so good.

Steeler Fanatic and The 12th Man both took the time to answer a series of questions about their teams, opposing teams and the big game. Here it is!

1. What are you initial thoughts on your teams opponent?

12th Man - They're a great football team, and they're on fire. Big Ben is proving he's one of the best big-game QB's in the NFL, and that defense swarms like crazy.

Steeler Fanatic - I approach every game thinking about our opponents strengths and weaknesses. Seattle is one of those teams that has plenty of strength and little weakness. They do depend on Shaun Alexander to carry the load but, they have proven that Hasselbeck can lead the team when needed. Unfortunately, that is a weakness. I have watched several Seahawk games and at first, I thought they were benefiting from a weak schedule. After seeing them play the last few weeks, I realize that they deserve to be in the Super Bowl.

Hasselbeck will need to bring his A game against the Steelers picking up blitzes and reacting with a quick release. He's not going to be able to rely on Alexander and the running game, making him a liability. Seattle is well coached, they have the league MVP at running back and their Defense is very tough. Much like the Denver game, mistakes will be the key to this game. Can Hasselbeck play 60 minutes of mistake free football? Can the Seattle Defense stop Roethlisberger the hottest QB in the game? Can the offensive line stop the explosive pass rush? If the answer to those questions is yes, they have a shot.

2. What is the best match-up advantage for your team in this game?

12th Man - Matt Hasselbeck and our recieving corps against Pittsburgh's secondary. Polamalu isn't a cover safety, and Pittsburgh's corners are average at best. If Matt has time to throw, he is capable of picking their secondary apart. The Hawks receivers have a pronounced size advantage, and Jackson and Engram should be close to 100%.

Steeler Fanatic - The best matchup by far is the 3-4 defense against Seattle's offense, with the explosive pass rush, the run defense and many blitz packages, Hasselbeck won't know what hit him.

3. What is the worst match-up advantage for your team in this game?

12th Man - Ben Roethlisberger against our secondary. Big Ben has been awesome during the playoffs and the Steelers have been using the pass to set up the run. Seattle's secondary makes plays but often plays too soft at the line of scrimmage and the Steelers should be able to exploit that.

Steeler Fanatic - The worst matchup would have to be the Seattle Wide Receivers against our Secondary on blitz packages. If they end up with a linebacker covering them across the middle or on the "hot route" it could be a long day for the Steelers.

4. Which coach do you want on your sideline, yours or your opponents? Why?

12th Man - Ours. It's simple, really - just count the rings. Holmgren knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl and he's solved every tough defense he's played against this January.

Steeler Fanatic - Hands down, Bill Cowher. His personality matches this Steeler team to a T and it shows. He's taken a running team and introduced a red hot passing game that has prevailed in the Playoffs. His style of coaching coupled with the best assistants in the league makes for a Super Bowl winning staff.

5. Give your prediction of the outcome of the game.

12th Man - It's early, but I'm thinking 31-16 Seattle. Hawks score a late touchdown to put the game on ice. Seattle will have more success on defense on third down and that will hinder Pittsburgh's offense. On the other side of the ball, Seattle's O-line will hanlde Pittsburgh's blitzes and give Hasselbeck just enough time to make something happen in the passing game.

Steeler Fanatic - This should be a close game in the first half, but Seattle won't be able to handle the Defense in the second half. Big Ben will have a career game and people will remember this team for years to come. The "Road Warriors" will be a household name and Super Bowl XL will finally rid the Steelers of the One for the Thumb Curse that's plagued us since 1980. Final Score Prediction: Steelers 28 - Seahawks 17