'Chronicle' prognosticators pick the Pack
Once the clock ticked down on the Steelers 24-19 defeat of the Jets on Jan. 23, thereby propelling them to America's grandest sporting event, the Super Bowl, I knew I was in for two weeks of meaningless and repetitive (more so than usual) jibber jabber on sports talk radio. The airwaves were dominated at first by speculation of Jay Cutler's toughness, which was questioned because he didn't act hurt enough after being pulled in the second half of the Bears' 21-14 loss to Green Bay. Keep in mind a lot of this trash talk was done on Twitter before the facts were known, and worse, much of it by current and former players. And just what were those pesky facts?
Oh yeah, Cutler had sustained a sprained MCL and team doctors pulled him from the game. He should have been trying to help out his replacements at QB instead of chatting it up on the bench, but I'm pretty sure if Cutler could have played, he would have. And this was the big story of the week?! So I've put a ban on sports talk radio till after the big game this Sunday, Feb. 6, 5:30pm, at Cowboys Stadium (Fox TV). I referenced Pittsburgh's injury-riddled offensive line before the AFC Championship and – guess what happens? – their Pro Bowl rookie center Maurkice Pouncey goes down with a high left ankle sprain. The Steelers suffered a safety due to a bad snap shortly afterward. Coincidence? Hmm. There is some talk that Pouncey will play (?!), but don't count on it. The Packers are a 2.5 point favorite in Vegas, assumingly so because they've lost the least in the NFL's yearly battle of attrition (wait till there's an 18-game schedule), but the Steelers have all of the Super Bowl experience and, unfortunately, a beat-up offensive line. This has shaped up to be an exciting SB, certainly more than a Jets/Giants one, and is a tough call. My colleague Robert Gabriel is taking the Packers minus the points, and I'm going to have to agree. This is a combination of a gut feeling and personal reasons. The Packers were my dad's my favorite team, and I really just can't stand that Big Ben guy, so let's go Pack!
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