Defensive Line – A
Even without Aaron Smith, this defensive front is an impenetrable wall. Casey Hampton was seriously missed last season and he is making up for lost time on this Super Bowl run. It is unlikely the Green Bay Packers were going to run into the teeth of this defense anyway, so why bother.
Linebackers – A+
The Pack allowed more than 2 sacks per game this season and it is fair to assume that James Harrison and company will create at least this many come Sunday night. When those sacks do inevitably occur, Aaron Rodgers has to avoid the turnovers that LeBeau’s defense typically creates.
Defensive Backs – A-
Troy Polamalu, sure. Ike Taylor, yes. Ryan Clark, of course. However, Bryant McFadden and William Gay are different stories. Unlike most of the teams the Steelers have faced in 2010, the Pack will spread the field with talented receivers. And despite his growing legend, Polamalu cannot be everywhere at once.
Titan Sized Player to Watch:
Ryan Clark (Safety) –
With Rodgers trying to avoid the blitz, Troy Polamalu on the prowl, and linebackers dropping into varying zone coverages, Clark will be lurking to pluck an errant or ill-advised throw. If Clark can intercept a pass at a critical moment late, it could just be the difference in a game that promises to be close.
Overall Defense Grade – A+
The Packers have not faced a defense like this all season. Then again, the Steelers have not seen an offense of this caliber in almost 3 months. And they lost that game. Hopefully this battle will prove to be entertaining and not a dull punt festival.