This is it. Today is the day the world will watch the big game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. So, any reason why I am not really that excited? This is the one Super Bowl where I have watched little coverage, little hype, and would really consider not watching altogether. As a Seahawks fan, do I really want a division rival winning the Super Bowl? But I digress….
Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (12-7)
Time: 6:28 PM ET/3:28 PM PT
Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.
Why: To avoid the Super Bowl Loser’s Curse
Announcers: Al Michaels and John Madden (with 500 people on the pre-game show and roaming the sidelines).
SSR’s Pick: Steelers 23 Cardinals 14. I have picked against the Cardinals in every game, and I was very tempted to pick them in this game. However, I can’t bring myself into thinking that Pittsburgh’s defense will be unable to break down Arizona’s explosive offense. If Arizona is going to win this game it will be through their defense. As crazy as that sounds, the Cardinals have forced the most turnovers in the post-season, with 11 in total. In fact, it is probably the biggest reason why they are in the Super Bowl, by forcing turnovers and giving their offense a chance to shine. Naturally, they’ll be facing a team that turned it over just 1 time in their 2 games. On offense I think that Larry Fitzgerald can’t be stopped, so it’s up to Anquan Boldin to stop being a baby and play some football. It’s up to Steve Breaston and the rest of the receiving corp to give Kurt Warner a 2nd option against this strong Steelers secondary. The running game for Arizona has been strong throughout the post-season, but the Steelers didn’t allow a 100 yard rusher all season long, so forget about that. It’s not like you can force Arizona to pass though, and they will have a greater chance if they can somehow beat the Steelers with underneath routes and screen passes. Alas, I think Pittsburgh will win because they will not make the mistakes that the other teams Arizona faced in the past did, and that is putting relentless pressure on Warner so that he won’t get the chance for even a quick pass to his receivers. On offense I don’t expect anything spectacular, but Ben Roethlisberger is the highest rated QB on 3rd down, and the unheralded Heath Miller will also key the Bruce Arians coached offense. He is stronger, and more mobile than Kurt Warner and that is another big persuasion towards Pittsburgh. Willie Parker is my MVP, I think he will have one of the best games of his career, and break past that tough Arizona front 4.
WIS’ Pick: Cardinals 15 Steelers 10. If it comes anything close to that, then it is easily the most boring Super Bowl of all-time. The Cardinals kicked 5 field goals and did not allow a touchdown until Willie Parker scampered to the end zone with 1:43 left in the game. The Steelers had one last chance late to win the game, but Big Ben was flagged for intentional grounding on the final play of the game, as he goes just 12-23 with an INT. Kurt Warner was the MVP with a 16-28 passing day for 210 yards. I don’t know why, because Neil Rackers got them all of their points, but you can’t give it to a kicker, right?
Enjoy the game.