Pittsburgh @ Arizona
The Steelers have had one of the most consistently successful seasons in the NFL. Their vaunted defense led them to an AFC Championship and now to the Super Bowl. In the playoffs the "D" has done their part but don't underrate their offense who have been able to create some big plays. WR Santonio Holmes has had a breakout playoff and "Big" Ben Roethlisberger has been cool and collected in or outside the pocket.
The Cardinals came roaring out of the gate cooled down and are now roaring again. Their always explosive offense has been getting a run for its money this playoffs by their turnover causing defense. QB Kurt Warner and WR Larry Fitzgerald have looked more dominant than even Brady to Moss last year.
On Offense the Steelers have done what is required of them all year long (methodical drives, low on turnovers, control field position). Their much maligned offensive line has improved greatly and haven't been a huge liability in the playoffs as some expected. Willie Parker has his burst back after being sidelined with a variety of injuries and has been able to contribute in the playoffs. Roethlisberger has done a great job being creative and making plays. Wrs Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward are both solid receivers and match up well against the Cards secondary if they are both healthy. TE Heath Miller's impact on Pittsburgh's passing game is very underrated and watch for him to have some key 3rd down conversions in this game. Look for the Cards defense led by Darnell Dockett and Karlos Dansby to stop the run early and force Ben to beat them through the air. This young exuberant group will come out with energy which will be hard for the Steelers to match. Look for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to blanket whichever Pittsburgh receiver he's on.
On Defense the James Harrison and Troy Polamalu led group have been physically beating up opponents but watch for this game to be their hardest test yet. Look for the steelers to try and make Arizona work for everything they get by being physical with receivers and going into some soft zones, don't expect them to come out blitzing like Philadelphia did. Watch for Arizona to exploit Pittsburgh's defense by attacking the seams in their 3-4 alignment. I also expect Arizona to have less balance in their offense than previous games as I expect them to throw early and throw often. Watch for Anquan Boldin to have a bigger game then Larry Fitzgerald does against Pittsburgh because Arizona will throw in the middle a lot against Pittsburgh's zones. Look for Kurt Warner to have a huge day and be very efficient against the Pittsburgh defense.
Arizona is too bad of a matchup for Pitsburgh look for them to jump out to an early lead and make the Pittsburgh offense play catch up where it will start making mistakes.
Arizona 28 Pittsburgh17