We're Black and Blue all over:
Super Bowl XLV will feature the NFL's top two scoring defenses, but ESPN.com's John Clayton suggests the game will be a shootout. Odds makers have put the over/under at 44 points, and Clayton writes: "Take the over."
Based on the 2009 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, which included 973 yards of offense and a 37-36 final, Clayton adds: "It's hard to imagine a low-scoring game."
As we noted Thursday, the Packers defense has made specific improvements to address the problems it experienced in that game. But I will say this: The best players often rise up and control the action of a Super Bowl. If two of the best players on the field are quarterbacks, as one might suggest with Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, then perhaps we could be in for a high-scoring game after all.
Continuing around the NFC North as we clean out from another snowy evening here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area:
The Packers signed rookie nickelback Sam Shields with a modest $7,500 signing bonus, notes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Rodgers and Roethlisberger are both good at moving in the pocket, although they have their own styles, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com checks in with Steelers punter Jeremy Kapinos, who was the Packers' punter last season. Kapinos said he was disappointed the Packers didn't give him an opportunity to improve.
The Chicago Bears have a new defensive line coach, Mike Phair, after Eric Washington departed to join the Carolina Panthers' staff. Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com has more.
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher took a pain-killer before the NFC Championship Game, notes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
In a radio interview, via the Star Tribune, Minnesota Vikings vice president Rick Spielman said it's unlikely the team will do much from a contract standpoint until after a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is reached.
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com checks in with Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh after the Pepsi Player of the Year voting.
Jerry Green of the Detroit News: "Suh is a bona fide star -- not only in Michigan and Nebraska. He truly now is the face of the Lions -- just as Barry Sanders was in the 1990s."