Super Bowl Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers
RT is 5-0 against the spread in the playoffs so I would listen to him
It could not have been much easier for the Steelers in the playoffs. They did not have to play the Colts or the Titans and both of their games were at home. Unlike their road to victory in Super Bowl XL, which required three straight road games, the Steelers barely had to break a sweat this time around. The only real news to speak of was the injury to Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward but he is still going to play on Sunday. The Steelers playoff run has been nothing short of a walk in the park but on Sunday they will face their toughest test.
How is it going to go down?
Cardinals on Offense: At this point, we all know the story of the playoffs for the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald. Sure, Edgerrin James cares again and Tim Hightower is running with a purpose but it begins and ends with Larry Fitzgerald. He has been nothing short of unstoppable in the playoffs and he has set the tone early in all three games. So what happens if he gets shut down early? The Cardinals are in big trouble. The Steelers have been as good as it gets on defense throughout the season and into the post season. Dick LeBeau will come up with a new scheme to shut down Fitzgerald. Kurt Warner has enjoyed the luxury of just throwing the ball into double coverage and having Fitzgerald make an incredibly difficult catch. Once that “play” is no longer available, the Cardinals will be forced to go to the ground. Once the Cardinals are grounded, they are finished.
The Steelers on Offense: The Steelers offense is good enough to win. Unfortunately, that’s the best compliment I can come up with. In addition, the offensive line struggles to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright. Hines Ward is a great possession receiver and blocker but is far from a sexy playmaker and Santonio Holmes is a serviceable deep threat at best. You never know which Willie Parker is going to show up – the one that ran all over the Chargers or the one that seemed content to fall down anytime Ray Lewis came near him.
How can the Steelers offense be expected to score enough points to win? Simple. The Cardinals defense is mediocre at best. They beat the Falcons at home with a rookie quarterback, the Panthers with a gun-slinging quarterback who was shooting blanks and the Eagles with a one legged Brian Westbrook. Big Ben will need to pull a Delhomme (you have to love that as a term for a quarterback who blows his team’s chances of going to the Super Bowl single-handedly) for the Cardinals to even have a chance. The Steelers will play a wonderful game of keep away and provide the defense with the rest they need to shut down the Cardinals.
Anyone looking for the Cardinals to be this year’s Giants might want to reevaluate their grip on reality. Big upsets don’t happen very often and to think they happen in back to back years is just wishful thinking. The fact of the matter is that the Steelers have a better defense and an offense that stays on the field long enough to keep the ball away from the Cardinals’ offense. Furthermore, the Steelers are a much better team than any of the teams the Cardinals have faced up to this point in the playoffs. The Steelers win an uneventful and downright boring Super Bowl.
Trivia Question during the post-game on Sunday
Question: What Super Bowl Champion had the easiest road to the World Championship?
Answer: 2008 Steelers
Steelers 27 - Cardinals 14