The NFL season has come to an end and it has ended in a way that no one could have predicted. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be in a familiar situation making their seventh Super Bowl appearance. The Arizona Cardinals will make their first Super Bowl appearance. Their surprise appearance shows the NFC is the weaker of the two conferences if the Cardinals are their representatives.
I do not want to downplay the Cardinals as a team, but they were not the best NFC team. They got hot at the right time in the season, and they did eliminate arguably the best team in the NFC: the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals have one of the most dangerous duos at wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, and an experienced quarterback in Kurt Warner. Their defense is average at best and the run game is inconsistent. The Cardinals are arguably the worst team to ever reach the Super Bowl, at least in recent history.
I feel the Cardinals are not deserving of being in the Super Bowl but they have been playing well, However, they do not have what it takes to beat the Steelers. The Cardinals finesse style of football will not matchup very well against the Steelers and their smash-mouth football mentality.
The Cardinals offense will struggle mightily against the toughest defense in the league. Though Fitzgerald and Boldin may outmatch the Steelers cornerbacks, the front seven of the Pittsburgh defense will overwhelm the Arizona offensive line and their run game. Steelers right-outside linebacker, James Harrison, has been terrorizing quarterbacks all season long, and he will do the same to Warner.
The matchup to watch out for will be Cardinals right tackle, Levi Brown against Steelers left-outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who has consistently been playing well and under the radar. Expect Woodley to be in the face of Warner the whole game.
You may hear all the talk about the Cardinals offense against the Steelers defense, but the difference maker for the game will be the Pittsburgh offense against the Arizona defense.
In my opinion, Ben Roethlisberger is one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFL. He may take sacks he does not need to take; but he is consistently one of the best in the NFL. Roethlisberger plays smart and tough football. There is no doubt that “Big Ben” Roethlisberger will have a big game in the Super Bowl picking apart the Cardinals’ mediocre defense.
When it is all said and done, I believe that we will see the Steelers convincingly beat the Cardinals in a game where they are outmatched in more ways than one. Do not expect Arizona to score more than 14 points, the Steelers will make sure to control the ball with their run game and tough defense.
Final score, Pittsburgh- 31, Cardinals-14.