Well I must admin I am a little bit biased about this game. I have hated the Pittsburgh Steelers since I was a child. Many front-running children in Missouri were Pittsburgh Steeler fans based on the sole fact they were always winning. Who could blame them the St. Louis Cardinals sucked! The Cardinals are always in a list of the bottom two or three franchises in sports history. Well who cares about that today, it is 2009 and these are the red hot Arizona Cardinals. St. Louis Rams fans should all have on their Kurt Warner jersey’s today for a gave us a unforgettable season in 1999, one that we will NEVER forget.
I think a very important point to make is that Ken Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator for three years prior to coming to the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals and Steelers do not meet much, but I believe this fact alone will make this more like a division games. Ken will have two weeks to inform his team about the Steelers, likewise defensive genius Dick LeBeau has had two weeks to get the #1 rated defense ready to defend the Cardinals. What all this means is I believe both team will be ready for what the other team will do and it will come down to execution.
Everyone is talking about the Cardinals vs. the Steelers D. I believe the true story is the opposite match up. The Steelers offense feeds off of their defense. I do not see the offense tearing up the Cardinals unless they receive turnovers. The Steelers were 20th in points scoring, 17th in passing, and 23rd in rushing so they are not explosive. They take your punches and then strike or the defense does the damage for them. I think the Cardinals D can shut them down enough to win this game. Ben Roethlisberger struggled in his previous Superbowl going 9 of 21 for only 123 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. Antwaan Randle El threw the only TD pass that day for the Steelers. Willie Parker was 26th in rushing yards and Hines Ward was 15th in recieving yards, so I do not think the Steelers will run and hide in this game. The spread in Vegas is 6.5 points so I am not sure why everyone thinks a blow out is coming.
Now for the solid points for the Cardinals. Kurt Warner is 8-2 in playoff games. Kurt has throw a TD pass every game this year except 1. The Cardinals have scored more than 30 points in 4 of their last 6 games. You just can’t bet against Kurt. Kurt is a two-time NFL MVP (1999 and 2001); and was also named Super Bowl XXXIV MVP after leading the Rams to a victory over the Tennessee Titans. Watch for Anquan Boldin to take advantage of Ike Taylor. I believe the Cardinals will be able to move the ball against the blitz and with a lot of crossing routes. The Cardinals need to stay agressive and get the ball downfield early and often, you will not beat Pittsburgh with a lot of 5 yard passes and missed tackles.
Prediction Arizona 23 – Pittsburgh 17
We will also try to make post throughout the game so stay tuned.