I will throw some numbers out for you to chew on...
In the 5 Arizona losses, this season, they gave up 223 points. Thats the exact number the Steelers gave up in all 16 games.
Fitzgerald was held below 100 yards 7 times this season... What do 5 of those seven have in common? They were all top 14 defenses. Four of the games that Fitzgerald was held under 100 yards came from teams that finished the season ranked third, fifth, sixth and eighth. See a trend?
In fact Fitzgerald only had 100-yard games against two teams with defenses ranked in the top 11 (109 yards against No. 7, Washington, and 101 yards against No. 11, New England).
Cardinals Gave up 184 Points Steelers Gave up 58 Points
You say earlier that Ben will make the big mistake.. Yeah, he has made some this year, but not since they played the Colts. He has played pretty darn near flawlessly with only a few mistakes. His mistakes have come against good defenses... Arizona doesn't have one.
So How is Ben against top ranked D's? Well he has beaten the number 2 defense in the NFL not once, not twice but three times, with two of those times because he lead the Steelers on last minute drives to get into scoring position.
If i had to pick a D to make a key stop in this game it would be Pitt all day, everyday and thats why the Steelers will win ring number 6. Those are the facts sir.
Nice breakdown, Caven. I'm a die hard Steelers fan and it's hard to leave "bias" out of the equation. However, it is one thing to want the Cards to win but it's another to think they will. The numbers just don't lie. Plus, they have been just as "hot" as the Cards have been; probably hotter.
Anyway, I really like the Cards but, the truth is, the Steelers would be favored against any team from the NFC - let alone a Cinderella story.
The "common opponents" numbers are skewed by a couple of things - #1 getting blown out by the Eagles on Thanksgiving after traveling cross-country on short rest, and #2 getting blown out by New England in freezing weather. Clearly, Arizona's a lousy cold-weather team - that's not going to be a factor on Sunday. And Fitzgerald this postseason hasn't been stopped yet by the #4, #11, and #12 defense, so I don't think his "Top 14 defense" performance during the regular season is relevant anymore, either. Beating the Ravens #2 defense three times is nice, but the Ravens don't have the Arizona offense and, quite frankly, didn't belong in the AFC title game to begin with.
I like Arizona's free-wheeling offense to come out with some trickery and get an early lead. This would lead Ben to his favorite offensive ploy; throwing deep and having his receivers flop around for an interference call. Unless Arizona turns it over in its own territory, how else does Pittsburgh score? They don't.
The Steelers need at least 3 'zona turnovers to win.
PS I would like to see two Cardinal players grab Palomalu early in the game, carry him to the nearest goal post and tie his hair around it and leave him there...