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Super Bowl: Previewing the Green Bay Packers

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The Washington Post's LaVar Arrington, Liz Clarke, Paul Tenorio and Jonathan Forsythe offer their Super Bowl XLV predictions.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011; 6:52 PM

Green Bay is 3-1 in Super Bowls and is making its first Super Bowl appearance since a 31-24 loss to Denver in January 1998. The Packers have a 28-16 (.636) playoff record, the best mark in NFL history, and the club's 28 postseason wins are third-most all-time. Green Bay is the first No. 6 seed from the NFC to advance to the Super Bowl. The Packers had three wide receivers with 50-plus catches for the first time in franchise history: Greg Jennings (76), Donald Driver (51) and James Jones (50). Jennings tied for the NFC lead with 12 touchdown catches. Since joining the Packers in 2006, cornerback Charles Woodson leads the NFL with eight interception returns for touchdowns.

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SMARTER STATS: Green Bay definitely has the edge in the secondary (Troy Polamalu very much excepted), which is generally where those picking the Packers to win point when they talk about the biggest game advantage. Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson matches Polamalu for every down, every scheme intensity and value; like Polamalu, he will do everything from blitz at the line to cover deep. Woodson's greatest improvement in 2010 was as a pass-rusher; he amassed eight pass pressures to Polamalu's six. The shutdown corner on the Packers' side is Tramon Williams, and his skill set is the one thing the Steelers can't really match. While the Packers have Woodson and Williams, the Steelers have William Gay (who was beaten for three touchdowns against the Patriots in the regular season by rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski). Don't be fooled by the Packers coming into this game as the second sixth seed to make a Super Bowl; since James Starks got the rushing attack on pace just enough for Aaron Rodgers to run play action, the offense has been fairly amazing. Their defense is complex and volatile enough to give Rodgers a relative sense of comfort when he hits the field at Cowboys Stadium.

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