Seattle and Pittsburgh will square off in two weeks in the Big Game. The Steelers have had a wild ride to the Super Bowl, but Seattle has taken care of business like a #1 seed should. My prediction is Pittsburgh’s brutal road to Detroit will finally catch up with them. Seattle will have the last possession and will make their first Super Bowl appearance count. Seattle 34, Pittsburgh 27.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle (vs. Pittsburgh): Hasselbeck has yet to throw an interception in the playoffs and his 109.6 QB rating in the playoffs is second to only Roethlisberger. Remember way back in the wild card round when Carson Palmer threw a 66-yard pass on the Bengals second offensive play only to be injured and not play another down? Hasselbeck will have that type of success all day long against the aggressive Steelers defense.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (vs. Seattle): Big Ben can’t keep up this pace, can he? Coach Cowher has asked Roethlisberger to come out throwing in each of the Steelers playoff games and he has responded time and time again. This week will be a different story. Expect a mistake or two from the second year QB ending his incredible playoff performance on a low note.
Shaun Alexander, Seattle (vs. Pittsburgh): M-V-P! M-V-P! Alexander’s 132 yards rushing and two TDs last week is what we expected from him in the postseason. Even though Pittsburgh has been tough against the run, Hasselbeck will open things up in the air and Alexander will find the holes. Along with a short-yardage score, Alexander will post very solid numbers in the Super Bowl.
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh (vs. Seattle): Parker has rushed for a total of 132 yards in the Steelers three playoff games and with Bettis returning home to Detroit in what could be his final game, Parker’s role will be secondary at best.
Darrell Jackson, Seattle (vs. Pittsburgh): Jackson seems fully recovered from his knee injury which his 218 yards receiving and two TDs in the playoffs can attest to. Hasselbeck will look his way early and often giving Jackson every opportunity to post big numbers in the biggest game of the season. Jackson will not miss out on his chance to shine in the spotlight.
Hines Ward, Pittsburgh (vs. Seattle): Ward has two TDs in the playoffs but hasn’t had more than 68 yards receiving in a game. Look for that number to increase this week as Big Ben relies on the veteran heavily in the big game.
Bobby Engram, Seattle (vs. Pittsburgh): Engram’s back has kept him from playing at 100%. He’ll have plenty of time to rest up for the big game but the Hasselbeck-Jackson connection will be the one making headlines on Super Bowl Sunday.
Antwaan Randle-El, Pittsburgh (vs. Seattle): With Cedrick Wilson stepping it up in the playoffs, there’s simply not enough passes to go around for Randle-El. In order for Randle-El to make his mark, it would need to happen on special teams because the third down action isn’t going to be enough to make an impact.
Jerramy Stevens, Seattle (vs. Pittsburgh): Stevens had a big game last week against Carolina catching six passes for 66 yards and a TD. The strength of the Steelers linebackers is not pass coverage so Stevens should find plenty of room in the middle of the field to post solid numbers once again.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh (vs. Seattle): Miller has posted decent numbers in the playoffs thanks to big plays. His 36 and 24-yard receptions account for over 60% of his receiving yards. Unless Miller breaks off another long one, his stats against the Bengals (2 catches for 15 yards) will be what you see in the Super Bowl.