Super Bowl 2011 Betting – Special Teams Could Very Well Make The Difference In Super Bowl XLV
For as much that has been made about the quarterbacks, the wide receivers, and the defense, there could be another crucial area that has a big impact on Super Bowl XLV when the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers take to the field at Cowboys Stadium this Sunday. Special teams are always a huge factor in any football game, and a quick look at past Super Bowl games would re-enforce that frame of thinking.
NFL Betting: Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Online Sports Betting Odds: Packers – 2.5
Whether it’s a game-winning field goal from Adam Vinatieri, or an onside kick by the New Orleans Saints, special teams have had just as profound an effect on the outcome of games as offense or defense. With that said, here is a quick look at the special teams for both the Steelers and Packers, with insight in to which team has the edge.
While the Steelers hold the slight edge in the kick return department with an average 23.5 yards per attempt, Green Bay easily had the better punt return units averaging 7.9 per return compared to Pittsburgh’s league-worst 6.1 mark. Antonio Brown scored the Steelers’ lone return touchdown back in week two, and did not show much flash all year, although he did do a good job of protecting the ball. The Packers’ return tandem of cornerback Tramon Williams and rookie running back James Starks wasn’t much more explosive without a single score however, and that gives a slight edge to Pittsburgh.
Steelers’ kicker Shaun Suisham has been consistent, but not spectacular hitting 16 of his 18 field goal attempts including the playoffs after replacing Jeff Reed in week 11. Both of his misses have come from beyond 40 yards, but he should be much more comfortable playing in a dome where he doesn’t have to deal with the tough winds of Heinz Field. Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby has gone 24-for-31 including the postseason, with his only miss in the playoffs coming from 50 yards out. His career percentage is actually lower than Suisham’s, who gets the edge based on that he didn’t miss from within 40, something the Crosby did twice this year.
Special Teams: Punters
This is the one area where Green Bay has the distinct advantage, as Pittsburgh has struggled in this department since losing one of the best punters in the game in Daniel Sepulveda due to injury. Jeremy Kapinos took over for the Steelers, but his 32.3 average net is one of the worst in the league, which makes Tim Masthay look even better despite his limitations. The rookie Masthay has averaged 37.6 yards per punt, which ranks in the middle of the pack.
Special Teams: Outlook & Pick
Based on special teams alone, the Steelers would have to get the nod, especially considering the consistency of Suisham, which could make all the difference in a game of this magnitude. Neither team has a true gamebreaker in this Super Bowl betting department, but if the decision was based on special teams alone it would go to Pittsburgh.
Super Bowl Betting Pick: Steelers