Keys to winning Super Bowl XLV in Dallas

Let’s breakdown three keys to winning Super Bowl XLV for both the Packers and the Steelers. X’s and O’s, schemes, along with my prediction of who will we holding up the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night in Dallas.

Green Bay

Aaron RodgersICONRodgers will have opportunities to test the Steelers' coverage schemes.

1. Attack the Steelers’ coverage schemes: One thing we often overlook when we talk about pressure defenses are the coverage aspects we will see in certain passing situations. Versus Dick LeBeau’s unit, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense can expect to see the Steelers play some 2-Man (2 deep safeties with underneath man coverage). How do you beat it? Work the middle of the field—just as Green Bay did at Pittsburgh in the 2009 season. Get your playmakers (Jennings, Nelson) aligned as the No.3 receiver and split the deep half safeties with inside vertical route schemes. I would play 2-Man if I was coaching vs. Green Bay, but it does have holes that can be exploited. Make the throw when you have the opportunity vs. Pittsburgh.

Click here to see the chalkboard and video breakdown of Rodgers to Jennings vs. the Steelers’ 2-Man coverage last season.

2. Keep Roethlisberger in the pocket: Easy to say (and something we will hear often leading up to kickoff), but if you allow the Steelers’ QB to escape pressure the stress then falls on the secondary. Pittsburgh’s receivers will convert routes vertically up the field, break back to the football and find ways to work away from defenders in open space. All of this happens because there isn’t a quarterback in football that can extend the play like we see from Roethlisberger. The Packers have to rush with contain principles and force the Steelers’ QB to step up into pressure. He is at his best when the play breaks down. A tough QB to game plan for.

3. Move Woodson: I spent some time this week writing about Pittsburgh strong safety Troy Polamalu and how he is used creatively from both a pre-snap alignment and in the multiple looks from that defensive unit. . And we can apply that same discussion to Woodson. The ability for Dom Capers to use him in coverage outside of the numbers, over the slot and as a “rover” in the box (along with his edge pressure) will be a key for the Green Bay defense. Put him a position to be disruptive, take away offensive play makers (think Hines Ward in the slot and bunch formations) and give him some freedom within the scheme of the defense.


1. Manage the Packers’ empty looks: Green Bay will spread the field on offense in their empty sets (no backs) out of multiple personnel groupings that gives Rodgers a five WR look. The Packers will do this to counter pressure from the Steelers’ defense and use quick, combination route schemes that provide the QB with high percentage throws. From an X’s and O’s standpoint, how does Pittsburgh respond? In most situations throughout my career, we would check out of pressure when the offense aligned in empty. Something to keep an eye on, because this could provide Rodgers with an opportunity to work the middle of the field. Pittsburgh has to game plan and adjust to the Packers’ spread look.

Rashard Mendenhall MattBowen41

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