- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
Here are four matchups that could affect the outcome of Super Bowl XLV.
1. Pittsburgh WR Mike Wallace vs. Green Bay CB Tramon Williams: How the Packers will choose to defend Wallace, Pittsburgh's best wide receiver and possibly the most dangerous player in this game, is not set in stone. But Williams is the cover man in this excellent secondary who best matches Wallace's speed. Charles Woodson and Sam Shields will do battle with Wallace at times as well, and FS Nick Collins also will play a key role in eliminating the big play deep downfield. But overall, Williams will draw this assignment more often than not with lot of man-coverage principles. The Steelers love to use bunch sets with their wideouts, which can make playing man coverage more difficult. It also makes rerouting Wallace more difficult at the line of scrimmage. This will be an excellent cat-and-mouse game, and Pittsburgh will use many tactics to try to free up its game-changer. But it also will be a fantastic one-on-one matchup between two of the better players in the NFL at their positions.
2. Pittsburgh LT Jonathan Scott vs. Green Bay's right outside linebacker: This is far from a battle of great players or heavyweights at their positions, but it could be instrumental in the outcome of this game. Frank Zombo and Erik Walden are battling serious injuries. That would leave Rob Francois or Diyral Briggs as the only remaining options to hold down the fort at outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews. Francois and Briggs have combined for seven total tackles at the NFL level and have zero sacks between them. Actually, even if Zombo or Walden were able to play, Green Bay would not be particularly strong at right outside linebacker. But Scott is far from a great player, either. The Packers might choose to attack Scott with Matthews, but more likely, Matthews will rush from the middle of the field and most often from his left outside linebacker spot. If Scott can handle his opponent, Pittsburgh will be much more apt to help Flozell Adams with Matthews. Also, expect the Steelers to run left quite a bit against a suspect foe and run screens on that side of the field to test these young players' ability to decipher and recognize. It should be noted that Scott did play well versus the Jets in the AFC Championship Game.
Here are four key matchups that could affect the outcome of Super Bowl XLV.