Anyone who has a STRONG feeling about who's going to win this game is lying to you. In fact the next guy who is 100% confident about who will be crowned champion has 0 knowledge but there's a 100% chance the dude is a massive blow hard. Well thankfully here at InGamer we don't have to guess the final score. Instead I'll do my best to forecast position by position guys you should take, players you should avoid and of course a couple hidden sleepers.
Quarterbacks: All right this one is easy. Take both of them! Ben Roethlisberger burned the Packers for a Sega Genesis like 503 yards and three touchdowns the last time these teams met in 2009. Yes he had a lousy statistical game against the Jets, I just don't seeing him having two bad games in a row. As for Aaron Rodgers, well there is very little for me to add here. Like a dry autumn day in North Tonawanda, the guy is on fire! There are two things I can guarantee. There will be more C- jokes like that in this article and Rodgers will get you at least 250 yards and two touchdowns. Ignore the two interceptions against the Bears, the team is back playing in a Dome, expect the numbers he put up against the Falcons.
Running Backs: Maybe the biggest surprise of the Conference Championships was how well Rashard Mendenhall played against the Jets. Early in the game Pittsburgh's O-Line was ripping apart massive holes for Mendenhall, who exploited his good fortune to the tune of 95 yards in the first half alone. Now some people may be scared of about his second half drop off in production, just remember the Steelers dialled back their offence, played it fairly vanilla and the Jets stacked the line. I know the loss of Maurkice Pouncey is a big one, but you need to have Mendenhall in your line-up, especially in the first half. If the game swings to the Packers drop him to start the 4th quarter, but he is a guy you want after you've lost $100 bucks betting on Heads. Speaking of flipping a coin (That's what we like to call in the business a 'seagway'!) that's what you should do when it comes to James Starks. Pro: Consistency. In the Packers three playoff games he's got 23, 25 and 22 carries respectively. Con: The Steelers D. You just don't want to mess with them. Personally I wait on Starks. I see the first quarter being pass heavy for the Packers offence.
Wide Receivers: With some many to choose from let's break this down by handy bite size categories,
Two guys that I love: (i) Greg Jennings: Captain Obvious strikes again! You want to make an argument against him? I'd love to see it. (ii) None: Of course Mike Wallace is going to get a lot of consideration, and he should, dude averaged 21 yards a catch in the regular season. But I have a couple problems with Steelers wide outs in this game. The strength of the Packers is their secondary. They can throw a lot of talented DB's all over the field. Second the Steelers passing game is erratic, you just don't know who is going to be "the guy". This is not a slight against Roethlisberger, this is all about pass protection. When your line is doing it's job your offence can work in rhythm. That means the QB goes through his proper progressions which usually translates into a high number of targets for your best WR. Now with the Steelers just count how many times Roethlisberger makes something happen on a busted play after his offensive line has left him for dead. Their is no better quarterback on the move on 3rd and long than Big Ben. So when he's out there scrambling for his life, the offense is no longer about flow and timing but rather it's about who's going to get open, who will break off their pattern and help out. From that perspective I can't really claim any Steeler WR as a no doubt about it #1 target.
Two guys to avoid: (i) Hines Ward: I promise to keep this quick. Love the guy, will argue vehemently he belongs in the Hall of Fame but the man has past his prime. Against "good teams" he disappears. If you don't believe just go look up his game log. Yes he has scored this post season but Ward has totalled just five receptions for 39 yards. I think the cast from 'Precious' could put up better numbers than Hines Ward. By the way for the sake of being Politically Correct please feel free to insert any Kevin James film in place of 'Precious'. By the way, will Vince Vaughn ever be skinny again? Go watch 'Swingers' you'll think they were different actors. (ii) Jordy Nelson: I get it. Its fun to have to have the novelty white guy at WR to root for. It's the same as rooting for the short guy in a dunk competition. But I'd avoid Nelson like Vaughn ignores the treadmill or low starch foods. Don't get sucked in by his solid day against the tough Bears (4-67 yards, 5 targets) their is so much value on defense, don't waste it here.
Two sleepers to consider: (i) Donald Driver: For two reasons. I'm tired of waiting for James Jones to "break out" and I got Driver killing the Steelers with slants all day. (ii) Antonio Brown: Made the key catch against the Raven and this dude is so sleeper if you go to his player profile page on espn.com you'll notice they don't even have a picture of him! Now that ladies and gentleman is a sleeper. By the way, no picture, really? Worldwide Leader in Sports my ass!
Tight Ends: I'm going to keep this one real simple, you take Heath Miller, and that's it. I don't want you even wasting a moment considering any of the losers the Pack trot out. We don't give points for chip blocking James Harrison. Miller got over a 100 yards in the 2009 shoot-out and the Packers have been vulnerable to the tight end. He may be a nice last pick for you.