Packers, Steelers well positioned for Super Bowl rematch

  • By Vic Carucci
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Matthew Emmons / US Presswire
Mike Tomlin's Steelers and Mke McCarthy's Packers will be popular picks for a Super Bowl rematch.

The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers were already seemingly well positioned for a Super Bowl rematch. The apparent ease of their respective 2011 schedules could very well end up making that a lock.

Based on their opponents' combined 2010 record, the Steelers have the NFL's 27th-toughest schedule for 2011, while the Packers' is 13th.

Green Bay and Pittsburgh aren't the only likely powerhouse teams whose path to Super Bowl XLVI doesn't look particularly difficult. The Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons have the league's 31st- and 19th-toughest schedules, respectively.

The New Orleans Saints (13th), New England Patriots (15th) and Chicago Bears (23rd) fall into the same category.

Still, it's difficult to fight the temptation to simply pencil in the Packers and Steelers to end up squaring off again for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis.

Although the Packers play three of their first five games on the road, their schedule includes a road game against the Carolina Panthers (Week 2) and home dates against the Denver Broncos (Week 4), St. Louis Rams (Week 6) and Oakland Raiders (Week 14).

As long as the Packers still have Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and his fairly youthful and highly talented supporting cast, they should be a popular pick to win back-to-back Super Bowls. Add the fact they presumably will be much healthier this time around (after placing 15 players on injured reserve last season), and you have the makings of a champion with long-term sustainability.

The presumed soft spots in the Steelers' schedule are road games against the Arizona Cardinals (Week 7) and San Francisco 49ers (Week 15), and a home encounter with the Tennessee Titans (Week 5). The Steelers are on the road for three of their first four games, but as long as they still have Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and one of the NFL's most dominant defenses, they're a logical choice to again go the distance.

Follow Vic Carucci on Twitter @viccarucci.



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