Originally Posted by SteelSD
I'm not sure that's going to be the case, although the Cardinals have been riding on a +9 turnover rate throughout the playoffs. It's interesting because even though Arizona's defense isn't very good against either the pass or the run, they did force 30 Turnovers during the regular season and then another 9 in the playoffs. The Cards were tied for fifth in the NFL during the regular season in that category. Given their proficiency in the Playoffs, Arizona would rank 2nd in the NFL in Turnovers forced per Game at 2.21, only slightly behind Baltimore's 2.26 TO/G.
The Cardinals are a proficient passing offense that can take advantage of both a short and long field. Should Pittsburgh give the Cardinals a short field to work with at any point, the Cards might not miss any opportunities to score. The Cardinals aren't anything resembling a good rushing team, but with a trio of Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Breaston, they have the top trio of receivers in the game and can replicate the running game they'll likely be missing by using short crossing routes through the Pittsburgh zone defense. It's how they neutralize the blitz so Dick Lebeau is going to have to mix things up a bit more than normal and their front three is going to have to generate a tremendous push up the middle to compensate.
While Kurt Warner is immobile as all get out, he releases the ball as quickly as any QB in the game. If the Arizona offensive line gets away with the kind of holding we've seen while others have tried to block James Harrison, it could be a long day for that Pitt defense.
And the Pittsburgh punting game sucks. It's sucked all year. If Pittsburgh loses this game, it might be because Daniel Sepulveda tore his ACL in July and Pittsburgh was never able to find an acceptable replacement. Mitch Berger needs to have the game of his life. Anything else could be crippling.
Finally, the ultimate wildcard is whether or not Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm can anticipate and properly evaluate Pittsburgh's defensive looks. As defense is consistently reactive to a proactive offense, it might mean an early-game lead for the Cards. I would suggest that this is not a game where Mike Tomlin should defer if he wins the coin toss. Pittsburgh has the talent (if healthy) to catch up, but they can't make a single mistake if they get behind by 10 points or more. If they do, it'll likely be a rout in the other direction.
I don't think you've got anything to worry about Steel. You'll have a great evening tonight. Sure the Steelers could blow it and Warner is a QB to be reckoned with, but when you get right down to it the Steelers are better...much better. Warner's immobility will be a problem and he'll not have time to get the ball downfield to his playmakers. The 9-7 Cardinals got to the Super Bowl by playing inferior competition. Their being in Tampa is testament to the weakness of the NFC. Look for the Steelers to have the game well in hand by the 4th qtr and win by double digits.
As a Bengal fan, I can't root for the Steelers but I know them well and respect that they're the much better team today.