How do the StatNerds see Super Bowl 45?

I’ve been scouring the more analytic web sites and blogs for predictions on Super Bowl 45.  It seems that it could not possibly be a more dead even matchup.  The Packers are a slight Vegas favorite, but the trustworthy blogs and stat sites seem much more split.

WhatifSports:  In a “Monte Carlo” Simulation, WifSp? favors Pittsburgh 52.5% of the time.  I will note that their simulation machine has had a TERRIBLE 2010 season, predicting winners an abysmal 58% of the time (you could almost flip a fucking coin!).  Of course they did make the Packers preseason NFC champs.  Of course, they did also make the Chargers AFC preseason champs.

Mathletics: Wayne Winston’s blog, which relies on his offense/defense analysis, has the matchup near dead even, with the Pack winning 21-18.

FootballOutsiders: The Outsiders rating system has consistently shown the Packers and Steelers as top flight teams.  By their ratings, a slight edge to the Steel Curtain.  Both teams have top offenses (Pack 7, Pitt 5) and defenses (Pack 2, Pitt 1), and poor special teams (Pack 27, Pitt 16).  Their system also correctly showed (in my opinion) that the Packers won despite a weak (opponent adjusted) showing in the NFC Title Game.  Overall their system seems to give the edge to Pittsburgh.

AdvancedNFLStats:  The master, Brian Burke, will come out… I believe… with a probabilty that will slightly favor the Steelers, mainly because the Pittsburgh Defense has some big time “Estimated Point” producers in the middle of its defense (3 big LBs, and Polamalu at Safety) that the Pack can’t quite match.  But, like virtually every other NFL analytical site, Burke has the Packers and Steelers in some order of number 2 and number 3 in the NFL Power system.

Football-Reference:  The F-R “Simple Rating System” which I used to write six weeks ago that the Packers were on the verge of becoming the strongest team never to make the playoffs, has both the Steelers and the Packers dead even with +10 SRS ratings (Pack 10.9; Pitt 10.2).  Their system would seem to give a slight edge to the Pack.

Green Jersey Omen:  Everyone in Packer Nation thinks the Packers should stick with wearing their White Jerseys in the Super Bowl (NFC team has the choice).  That ignores the fact that the Packers have lost only three ultimate Championship Games (1938, 1960, and 1997), and in all three they wore their Traveling Whites (I couldn’t find a link proving they wore white in 1938, but the game was played at the Polo Grounds in Harlem, so its safe to assume the Giants wore their Home Blues).  They have never lost an ultimate NFL Championship Game wearing their classic Home Greens.  Now, if you want to get technical with me, they have lost two penultimate Championship Games wearing Green, 1995 at Dallas (Dallas has only White Jerseys, thus GB had to wear Green on the road) and the 2007 overtime loss at Lambeau. (I’m not sure how you would count NFL Championship Games that occurred in the four pre-Merger seasons.  For instance, can the Minnesota Vikings rightfully claim an NFL Championship, which they won in 1969, even though they lost the Super Bowl that year?  That question has always puzzled me — for the record, I believe the team and NFL both now consider the Vikes 1969 title to be an “NFC” Championship.  For the sake of this post, it doesn’t matter — the Packers played and won in two such games wearing Home Greens — again one of them was in Dallas).

Editor’s Correction:  How great is the Interweb?  I originally speculated that the Packers must have worn white in their 1938 NFL Championship Game loss.  Then I found this NewsFilm Clip showing that, in fact, both teams wore their dark uniforms for the 1938 Title Game.  I know the Packers had Traveling Whites by the 1940s, but they may not  have had them in the ’30s.  Nevertheless, the team did not wear Green Jerseys in 1938, but rather “Notre Dame Blue” Jerseys, so my “Green Jersey” omen stands.  (The observant fan could counter that the Green result probably had more to do with homefield advantage, but I would counter that the team has played three ultimate Championship Games wearing Green and away from Lambeau Field  — 1966 NFL Title Game, 1966 Super Bowl, and the 1996 Super Bowl — and won them all, whereas  the team has played three ultimate Championship Games in White with only one being an actual “road”  game — the 1960 Title Game against the Eagles — and has won only one of those games — the 1967 Super Bowl.)

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