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Month: January 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl History

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made the NFL playoffs a total of 26 times in the history of their franchise.

The Steelers have not only appeared in the playoffs a bunch of times over their history. They have also managed to advance through the playoffs many times in their history. The Steelers have managed to advance to the Super Bowl 7 times in their team’s history.

The most impressive thing about the Steelers is that they seem to win the big game every time that they advance to the Super Bowl. In their 7 Super Bowl appearances the Steelers have managed to win the Super Bowl 6 times.

Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC. Pittsburgh has won more Super Bowl titles (six), won more AFC Championship Games (eight) and played in (fifteen) and hosted more (eleven) conference championship games than any other AFC or NFC team. The Steelers won their most recent championship, Super Bowl XLIII, on February 1, 2009.

The Steelers are six-time Super Bowl champions, having won Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV, XL and XLIII. Pittsburgh has defeated Minnesota, Dallas (on two occasions), the-then Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks (thanks, Zebras) and Arizona Cardinals in their Super Bowl victories.

This team’s winning tradition should bring a lot of confidence to the field during the playoffs. This team’s roster may have more postseason success and confidence than any team other than the Patriots in the playoffs. They have won the Super Bowl twice in the last decade and their roster still has many of the same players.

The other Super Bowls that have been won by this franchise happened in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979 and 1995. The Steelers have a chance in this postseason to level things out with the Patriots as the Patriots have won the big game three times since the start of the new century.

Green Bay Packers Super Bowl History

Going back to the team’s first season in 1919, the Green Bay Packers have won 12 NFL championships (more than any other team in the NFL). Those championships include nine titles before the Super Bowl era and three Super Bowl wins.

Green Bay won the first three championships simply by finishing first in the league, in 1929, 1930 and 1931, and has won six since the NFL’s playoff system was established in 1933, but before the first Super Bowl in 1967 – in 1936, 1939, 1944, 1961, 1962, and 1965.

When Green Bay faces the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6 in Dallas, it will be the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl appearance. The Packers have won three of the four Super Bowls they’ve appeared in.

Fittingly, Green Bay won the first-ever Super Bowl when the legendary Vince Lombardi’s Packers beat Hank Stram’s Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 on Jan. 15, 1967. Interestingly, the game was played before a far-from sellout crowd, as 61,946 fans turned up at Los Angeles’ 100,000-seat Memorial Coliseum.

Green Bay’s next two Super Bowl wins came over the Oakland Raiders the next season in 1967, a 33-14 win, and against the New England Patriots in 1996, with Brett Favre leading the Packers to a 35-21 victory.

AFC Championship Game: New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The AFC Championship Game is going to be a take-no-prisoners affairs, as two hard-hitting teams go head-to-head when the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers meet on Sunday at Heinz Field (6:30 pm ET, CBS).

Besides a trip to the Super Bowl being up for grabs, what makes this matchup even more intriguing is the fact that over the last half of the season, the Steelers lost one game – that being to these same Jets last month, a 22-17 New York win as a 4-point road underdog in Pittsburgh.

And they’re pretty even over the past seven head-to-head, the Steelers at 4-3 SU and the Jets at 4-3 against the spread.

New York beat AFC East division rival New England Patriots 28-21 in their AFC divisional matchup on the road last Sunday, covering as a 9-point underdog.

Pittsburgh beat AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens 31-24 in the other AFC divisional game Saturday, cashing as a 3.5–point home favorites. Pittsburgh trailed 21-7 in the second quarter of that tilt before mounting a furious comeback.

The Jets are 13-3 SU in their last 16 games on the road, and the Steelers are 4-1 SU in their last five games at home.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears: NFC Championship Game

They’ve been battling on the gridiron for 90 years and this Sunday the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears will clash once more, this time with the NFC Championship on the line.

This will be the 182nd meeting between the teams when the Packers and Bears collide at Soldier Field (3 pm ET, FOX).

Last Saturday, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers put on a passing clinic to lead the Packers to a 48-21 blow out win over the favored Atlanta Falcons 48-21 in an NFC divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome. The Packers covered the 1–point spread as underdogs and the score went over the total of 44.

The Bears jumped out to a 28-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks then had to hang on for a 35-24 win in the other NFC matchup. They covered the 10.5–point spread as favorites and the score went over the total of 43.5.

Head-to-head, Green Bay and Chicago are 5-5 SU and ATS in the past 10 meetings. They split the season series with Chicago winning the first meeting 20-17 on Sept. 27, and Green Bay winning the last meeting 10-3 in the season finale on Jan. 2.

New York Jets @ New England Patriots: AFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday

Wow. After getting shellacked 45-3 by the Pats back in December at Gillette Stadium, the Rex Ryan-led New York Jets have opened their collective mouths so wide, you could drive either end of an anvil down their throats. Just what are they thinking? Bravado works only when you can back it up, and it seems a tall order for the 2nd year quarterback Mark Sanchez going up against all-world QB Tom Brady, he of multiple Super Bowl championships and league MVP awards. But who knows? That’s why they play the game.

But it still seems a tough task for the Jets, who face a team in New England that has everything going for it: the best record in football, the hottest quarterback, the best offence, the most decorated and innovative coach of the past decade (Bill Belichick).

New York Jets (12-5) @ New England Patriots (14-2)

Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears: NFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday

While this one looks like it should be an easy win for the Bears, that is what everyone said last week when the huge underdog Seahawks tackled the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, winning by a 41-36 count.

Also, the Hawks defeated the Bears 23-20 back in October at Soldier Field. So anything is possible in this contest. Another advantage for Seattle is having a veteran quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck, who has also appeared in a Super Bowl. The Bears will have Jay Cutler behind center, who will be making his playoff debut. But the Bears have one of the best defences in football, while the Seahawks struggle against both the run and the pass, so this game could be a close win for the Bears or Seahawks, or a blowout for Chicago. Just don’t see a big Seattle win.

Seattle Seahawks (8-9) @ Chicago Bears (11-5)

NFC Divisional Playoffs Saturday: Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons edged the Green Bay Packers 20-17 at the Georgia Dome back in Week 12, but it was a game that the Packers gave notice they have a great chance of winning this game, even though they struggled with the running game on both sides of the ball. The Pack didn’t sustain much of a ground game back in this November game, while also struggling to contain the Falcons power running game, led by Michael Turner.

But the Packers are on a roll, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is considered one of the best QBs in the game today. And Green Bay’s run defence has shown a marked improvement over the past few weeks and last week held the NFLs best run offence in check while gutting out a big win over the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Falcons also have a top, young QB in the tall, strong-armed Matt Ryan, and own the second best record in the NFL at 13-3, including 7-1 at home.

Green Bay Packers (11-6) @ Atlanta Falcons (13-3)

AFC Divisional Playoffs Saturday: Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers

This game IS going to be close. They always are, and this season, the Ravens lost all four games by a combined 16 points. The Ravens and the Steelers are mirror images of one another: both have tall, strong armed quarterbacks (Steelers have Roethlisberger and the Ravens have Flacco); both have all-world defences led by all-pro safeties (Steelers with Troy Polamalu and the Ravens with Ed Reed), both have strong running games, but the ability to go vertical with the passing game if needed. It’s scary how close these two teams are.

So in the final analysis, turnovers and one or two big plays are all that separates each of these teams from going to the AFC Championship game.

Baltimore Ravens (13-4) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles NFC Wildcard Sunday

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles NFC Wildcard Sunday: Make no doubt about it, this game boils down to one position: the quarterback. Both teams have high octane QBs, with the Packers led by big-armed Aaron Rodgers and the Eagles by the fleet-footed Michael Vick. Rodgers is as good as it gets at the pivot position, with only Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as his peers. However, Vick is such a wild card in this game, and is arguably the best athlete at the most important position in the game. He has rounded into a very accurate thrower and can take off and run for a first down in a blink of an eye, so the Packers top-ranked defense, led by Linebacker Clay Matthews, will not be able to just pin its ears back and attack.

On offence, the Packers have a throw-first mentality, and not many do it better than Rodgers, who tossed 28 touchdowns this year. In the only meeting between the two teams this year, the Pack won 27-20 in Philadelphia. However, Kevin Kolb started that game and struggled, as the Packers jumped out to a 20-3 lead. With Vick under the centre, the Eagles fought back and almost tied the game with the ball on the Green Bay half of the field in the final minute, but failed to convert on 4th and 1.

But ultimately, the whole game should boil down to Vick. If he is able to move around the pocket, buy some time, make a few first downs, and consistently hit his receivers down the field, it will make for a long day for the Green Bay defenders. This is something Vick has shown he can do. However, if Vick is static in the pocket, and is erratic with his throws, then the Pack will move on.

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs AFC Wildcard Sunday

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs AFC Wildcard Sunday: The Chiefs head into this game as home underdogs, having gone from a 4-win team to hosting a playoff game. They are solid on both sides of the ball, but great nowhere. Much of the credit has to go to Quarterback Matt Cassell, who threw for over 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns, yet gave up only seven interceptions. The KC defence was good, but not great, finishing 14th overall. But they are facing a very good, playoff hardened Baltimore team.

The Ravens are led by all-world middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who continues to be one of the top defensive players in the NFL today. He will have to be on his game, as the Chiefs had the NFL’s number-1 ranked rushing attack, which will help keep the pass rush off of Cassel.

Baltimore is led by the two-pronged attack of running back Ray Rice and quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens should be able to have success running the ball, and that could open up some play action throws for Flacco down the field.

As long as the Chiefs stay away from turnovers, and can limit the amount of yards that Rice and the Ravens rushing attack gain on first down, this game should be very close and come down to who executes best in the fourth quarter.