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Breaking down the Super Bowl teams: Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers

Three matchups to watch

Packers WR Donald Driver vs. Steelers CB Ike Taylor

Driver, 35, has finally reached his first Super Bowl, having come so close in 2008 before the Packers lost to the Giants at home in the NFC title game. Driver is a key cog in the Packers' passing game. Taylor, the Steelers' talented and physical cornerback, has neutralized a lot of talented wideouts, including the Jets' Santonio Holmes on Sunday in the AFC title game.

Packers LB Clay Matthews vs. Steelers' offensive line

Matthews, a second-year player from Southern Cal, is a rising star, having finished fourth in the NFL with 13½ sacks this season. He has 4½ sacks this postseason, which ranks second in team history behind Hall of Famer Reggie White's eight.

Steelers LB James Harrison vs. Packers' offensive line

Harrison, the 2008 NFL defensive player of the year, has been hit with $125,000 worth of fines this season due to the league's goal to clean up collisions with defenseless receivers. But Harrison, who had a 100-yard interception return during Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, could wreak havoc again if the Packers can't hold him back.

Super Bowl history

Packers: Won in 1966 (I), 1967 (II) and 1996 (XXXI); lost in 1997 (XXXII)

Steelers: Won in 1974 (IX), 1975 (X), 1978 (XIII), 1979 (XIV), 2005 (XL) and 2008 (XLIII); lost in 1995 (XXX)

For starters

When: 6:30 p.m Feb. 6

Where: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas

TV/radio: Ch. 13; 1010-AM

AFC champ: Steelers (14-4)

Coach: Mike Tomlin (45-21)

* Rankings: Offense — 345.3 yards per game, 14th. Defense — 276.8, second.

NFC champ: Packers (13-6)

Coach: Mike McCarthy (51-32)

* Rankings: Offense — 358.1 yards per game, ninth. Defense — 309.1, fifth.

* Regular season

Times staff writer Joe Smith takes an early look at the Packers-Steelers game.

Three story lines you can expect

Being like Brett

All Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had to do was follow a legend, one of the best of all time in Brett Favre. Rodgers handled it with class, and now he has a chance to emerge from Favre's shadow by leading Green Bay to its first Super Bowl title in 13 years. Favre boasts one Super Bowl ring and so could Rodgers who, after an MVP-like season, helped the Packers become the only No. 6 seed in the NFC to reach the big game.

Big Ben

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's image has taken quite a hit due to off-the-field troubles. He was suspended for four games by the NFL this season for violating its personal-conduct policy. (Accused of sexual assault in March at a Georgia nightclub, there were no charges brought.) But "Big Ben" comes up big in big games, boasting two Super Bowl rings already, at age 28, with a chance to tie Tom Brady for a third. He is 10-2 in the postseason for his career.

Hometown team

Mike McCarthy, in his fifth season as Packers coach, does not have the same cache as former coach Mike Holmgren. But he has put together quite a string of success in such a short time. And McCarthy will face a team he likely grew up watching in the Steelers. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh, living in Greenfield, a neighborhood just a few miles from downtown.

Breaking down the Super Bowl teams: Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers 01/23/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 23, 2011 11:25pm]
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