Friday, January 30, 2009
Super Bowl XLIII Final Preview: Who Will Really Win the Big Game
If you looked at the lines and listened to the experts following the wins by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals in their respective conference championship games, many picked the Steelers instantly as the obvious winner in this year’s Super Bowl. However, as we break down the matchups and look at this game it appears that the Cardinals have the edge in this one. Here is why:
1. Kurt Warner-Sure, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has Super Bowl experience but Warner is a cagey veteran who understands how to play the game and knows what to do in pressure situations. Warner also has the tools around him (i.e. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin) to make big plays and score a lot of points. He also has the ability to make big plays which gives Warner and the Cardinals and edge in this one.
2. Larry Fitzgerald-You can’t deny that Fitzgerald has not only been one of the best receivers in the playoffs but also one of the best receivers this season. He seems to be in the right place at the right time all of the time and makes big plays. He has become Warner’s go to guy and is poised to have a big game. The Steelers will attempt to shut him down but if that happens, that leaves other receivers open allow Warner to just throw the ball downfield to another reliable receiver. Keeping Fitzgerald contained is going to be a difficult task and one the Steelers will have to do if they want to win.
3. Edgerrin James-The Cardinals discovered a running game during the playoffs and will need to get it going again if they want to win this game. However, the Steelers are tough against the run and may not allow James and the other running backs much running room. However, if the Cardinals can find their running game (or the Steelers fail and don’t stop the run) it could be a long day for Pittsburgh. If James can find his wheels, he could have a big game.
4. Adrian Wilson-Wilson is known for his hard hits and intense play and he will have to ratchet it up a bit in this one. His intensity will be the tell tale sign of how the defense plays because, like his counterpart on the Steeler’s defense (Troy Polamalu) the defense plays well when he is playing well. Wilson will be a big part of making sure that the Cardinals don’t allow Willie Parker to get loose in the backfield or allow Roethlisberger to get too many long passes down the field.
5. Darnell Docket-If there has been one the steadiest defensive lineman on the Cardinals defense and should have a big game against a weakened Steelers offensive line. Getting pressure on Roethlisberger will be a big key to the Cardinals winning this game.
6. Explosive Offense-We all know that the Cardinals have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and the Steelers haven’t faced too many explosive offense this season. If the Cardinals can build a good lead and then maintain reasonable control of the ball and the clock, Pittsburgh, whose offense isn’t geared to handle playing a high scoring game won’t be able to keep pace.
Conclusion: This game looks more and more like a Cardinals win. The Steelers defense will have to play the best game of the season, perhaps the best game of several seasons in order to stop Warner and their high flying offense. Even if they shut down Fitzgerald, there are other receivers that can step up and play well enough to cover for what they would lose if Fitzgerald were to get shut down. The big key in this game will be the running game for both teams. We all know that running the ball keeps the ball in the offense’s hands and controls the clock so this might come down to which team holds onto the ball longest.
Final Prediction: Arizona 24 Pittsburgh 13
By Bryan Dietzler