The League

David Larimer
Two-time defending Gameday pick-em champion

David Larimer

An assistant NFL editor at the The Washington Post

Hot? Cool It.

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This sudden and surprising mass leap aboard the Cardinals' bandwagon is explained with two words: They're hot.

But what does that make the Steelers?

Pittsburgh had to beat teams this postseason too, you know. One of them was the Chargers, who are, basically, the Cardinals: great passing offense, not much of a running game, a defense that went from putrid to merely not bad during a late charge and, of course, said late charge that had observers extolling their hotness.

With one ground-and-pound quarter, Pittsburgh, to paraphrase Iggy and the Stooges, sent that pretty face to hell.

Don't get me wrong, the Cardinals have earned their spot in the big game. They've forced 12 turnovers in just three playoffs games, they've had the best player on the field in Larry Fitzgerald, and they've taken a two-possession lead in the first half of every postseason game. If all that continues on Sunday, they have a shot. Scoring early and often could deflate the Steelers' defense--their single biggest advantage entering the Super Bowl--and Pittsburgh's offense, while perfectly capable, would rather ride its running game than get into a shootout.

But where, other than at wide receiver and maybe quarterback (and I humbly submit that, with such different styles and systems, Warner is an apple and Roethlisberger an orange), where do the Cardinals have an clear advantage? Experience? No. Running game? No. Defense, and I mean any facet of defense? Har.

Last summer, Michael Wilbon, in sifting through the surprising rout that was the NBA Finals, wrote that we were seduced by the Lakers' glamour, by their stars, by their offense. We forgot grit, about defense. It seems we're doing it again with the NFL, forgetting about the team that rallied against quality opponents time and again this season, and about the best defense since the Ravens won it all in a waltz.

Upsets are rare in the Super Bowl, and the Steelers are simply better, have been all season. It's not the heat, it's the consistency.

By David Larimer  |  January 30, 2009; 11:24 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Cardinal Virtues onto Victory | Next: I Hate the Cards, but I Like Them Sunday

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Finally, someone who makes sense. The Crudinals will be smart to give up on the run early. NO One has run on the Steelers in years and I don't see it happening Sunday. I would play 4 wide most of the game and make the Steelers LBS play in space. Throw in draws and screens move the pocket and they should be able to move the ball. Look for them to throw alot to their backs and TE's early. The Crudinals will score points. They are too talented to shut down competely. The main matchup will not be the Steelers D vs the Crudinals O But the Crudinals D vs the Steelers O I believe the Steelers will run the ball sucessfully. Eating up time on the clock resting the defense while wearing down the defense. The Steelers will have to score points in this game. And I think they will. Steelers bring home #6

Posted by: tsamm | January 30, 2009 2:40 PM

The Steelers play in a weak division. That is an automatic 6 wins right there so they would only need 4 or 5 more wins to get into the playoffs. I think this past year, they played teams that had a lot of injuries.

Posted by: jerrybreitinger | February 2, 2009 6:11 PM

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