Like many of you, we've had nearly 2 weeks to hear from various sports media about the strengths and weeknesses of both the Cardinals and the Steelers, injury reports and whatnot. In just under 24 hours the game will begin. Its time to make your pick. Wipe off the crystal ball. Play Nostradamus. Who wins and why? Have you made any bets on the game?
Personally, I'm going to stick with a bold Week 11 prediction that I made. I'm taking the Cardinals in this game. I realize that they are the underdog and that the odds are stacked against them. The Steelers have the two biggest variables working in their favor, they have the top rated defense in the NFL and they have many more players that have been to the Super Bowl before and have won. This is also probably the same reason that they are a 7 point favorite in this game. I'm still picking the Cardinals. I have very little money bet on this game, but all that I have bet has been on the Cards.
The two factors that I think may put the Cardinals over the top is that their Head Coach, Whisenhunt was recently a coach for the Steelers and pretty much knows their playbook and how they operate. I think he can adequately prepare his team on what to expect from the Steelers on both sides of the ball. The second factor is the quarterbacks. From watching the interviews and seeing the body language, I see Kurt Warner as the more confident man going into this contest. Although Ben Roethlisberger has been the quarterback of a Super Bowl winner, his performance in that game was not all that impressive and from listening to him, it seems to still be in his head. Warner has lost a SB game and won one. Without a good performance in this game out of Warner, the Cardinals don't stand a chance, but Warner I think can handle this kind of pressure better than Big Ben.
A few other things that I think may favor the Cardinals is that there is more pressure on the Steelers because they are the favorites. Anquan Boldin appears to be heathier now and if Fitzgerald recieves special attention from the Steelers secondary, a healthy Boldin could possibly tear them up. Steelers receiver Hines Ward doesn't appear to be 100 percent healthy which may take away or greatly reduce one of the better offensive weapons the Steelers have. There are also rumors that Big Ben has some sore ribs. I'm not saying that's going to affect his play, but then again, it might and it also may make his mid-section an early target for Cardinals pass rush.
My prediction. Cardinals 27, Steelers 20.