Offense: Arizona ranked dead last in rushing but second in passing. Pittsburgh ranked 23rd in rushing and 17th in passing. Advantage: Arizona - but only because of Fitzgerald. Remember, too, that Ward is a SB MVP and that Holmes is as capable of making a big play as any in the league.
Defense: Pittsburgh boasts one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. Arizona ranks number 19 in the league and has allowed the fifth most points in the league. Advantage: Pittsburgh by a mile.
Coaching: Both coaches are young, brilliant masterminds who have elevated themselves into the "elite" status by making the SB so early on in their careers. Whisenhunt has ring from his days with Pittsburgh but that was as the OC. Tomlin has a ring, also, as defensive backs coach for the 2003 Buccaneers and their top-ranked defense. Advantage: Tie. You may be watching the two best coaches in the NFL squaring off next Sunday.
Quarterbacks: Both Roethlisberger and Warner have rings. Ben is the best throw-on-the-run QB in the NFL. Warner is one of the smartest and most proficient. Neither one of Warner's attributes should be able to keep him from getting beaten up against this Steeler D. Advantage: Roethlisberger. This reasoning is due, in large part, to just how great the Steeler defense is.
Special Teams: Both have excellent kickers. The Cardinals have a better punter. The Steelers have Santonio Holmes. Advantage: Pittsburgh but just barely because their punter is just awful.
Experience: Most of the Steelers have been there, done that. Take out Warner and James and the vast majority of Cardinals have barely even had playoff experience. Advantage: Pittsburgh by a mile.
Summary: Pittsburgh's defense, combined with a well-balanced attack on offense, ought to be too much for Arizona to handle. The Cardinal passing game may get its share of yards and, perhaps, points but they won't be able to run the ball at all. In reality, this game shouldn't even be close. I would consider it a MAJOR upset if Arizona won. Final score: Pittsburgh 35 Arizona 17
I'm taking the Cardinals. You figure Arizona's offense and Pittsburgh's defense will fight it out to a draw and the game will be close. That leaves it in Roethlesburger's hands to win the game. Based on his last Super Bowl performance, and his poor decision-making ability, I don't think he has it in him. Warner's been here before, and he knows how to handle whatever gets thrown at him. And I don't care how good the Steelers defense is, they're not stopping Fitzgerald. Warner puts the Cardinals up late, Ben responds with an INT thrown into double coverage. Arizona 20-Pittsburgh 13.
A lot of sentiment is for the cardinals, but I think defense wins games over the offense. Pitts defensive schemes are very hard to determine before the play is actually run. Warner will have a tough time figuring out with all the movement where they will be coming from. I do not think that the cardinals can run against this team and they will double up on Fitzgerald and keep him in tact. I think it will be a fun game to watch.