NFL Week 16: Steelers vs. Packers Prediction

By Jeff Hartman
Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to historic Lambeau Field on Sunday for what should be a good matchup between two teams that are still clinging onto postseason dreams. The Green Bay Packers will have home-field advantage of a rare kind as snow showers and frigid temperatures are expected for the game that is a rematch of Super Bowl 45.

This game has storylines that dig deeper than just a Super Bowl rematch. These teams are two of the more history-rich teams in the NFL, and it seems as if the games are legendary whenever they match up. There was the game at Lambeau field that was decided when cornerback Bryan McFadden blitzed off the corner to sack Brett Favre and Troy Polamalu returned the fumble for a touchdown and the deciding score.

Who could forget the last time these teams matched up at Heinz Field, a shootout ensued that ended with Ben Roethlisberger throwing for more than 450 yards and a touchdown pass to Mike Wallace in the corner of the end zone with no time remaining on the clock for the win?

There is no doubt that this matchup could follow that trend. There are plenty of differences in Sunday’s matchup though. Aaron Rodgers being absent will put the emphasis on the Packers’ running game and taking pressure off Matt Flynn. The Steelers’ banged-up offensive line will try to keep progressing throughout the season and keeping A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews at bay, while Roethlisberger attempts to carve up the Packers’ secondary.

This game has plenty of matchup issues: running back Eddie Lacy vs. the porous Steelers’ run defense. Antonio Brown and company against a Packers’ secondary that can be exploited. The weather conditions and how it will affect both teams. I could go on.

In the long run, this game will come down to who will make the splash play that will turn the tide. Quite frankly, I expect that play to be delivered by Roethlisberger more so than Flynn. I look for the Steelers to go into Green Bay and steal a victory in what could be a meaningless game for Pittsburgh if certain pieces don’t fall into place in the 1:00 p.m. games.

Final Score Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers – 23, Green Bay Packers – 20

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+.

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