The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Cards Have the Edge

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I've looked at this matchup every which way, and what surprises me in the end is that I don't see a decisive edge anywhere on Pittsburgh's side. Arizona's offense is almost tailor-made to discombobulate that amazing Steelers defense. If Pittsburgh blitzes Kurt Warner, even with the overload, Warner will simply dump short passes off to the best group of yards-after-catch receivers in the NFL. If the Steelers rush three or four and drop their linebackers into zones, as they frequently did against Baltimore in the AFC Championship, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are masters at winning downfield match-ups. In addition, coverage gives the Arizona running game a chance to surprise.

On the other side of the ball, Arizona's defense has been playing at a higher level in the postseason, and Pittsburgh's offensive line is as vulnerable as Arizona's. Wilie Parker is a boom-and-bust back who the Steelers inexplicably give the lion's share of carries over the more effective Mewelde Moore. Hines Ward is less than 100 percent, and the Cardinals have forced more turnovers than any other team this postseason.

Would it really be so surprising for Arizona to win? We've seen this movie before, in the last two Super Bowls. There was the 2006 Colts, and their pathetic regular-season run defense, coming together just in time to take it to the Bears. Then, the Giants last year with the most improbable Super Bowl win since Joe Namath's guarantee. Once again, the team with the hot hand now is the underdog, and I say the Cards make it three-for-three.

By Doug Farrar  |  January 30, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Doug Farrar , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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