Well, everyone has been hitting me up about my predictions for the Superbowl and so finally I have some time to put it all down on paper. This should be a very interesting game between two teams that are polar opposites (until the playoffs). The Mike Tomlin led Pittsburgh Steelers against the Ken Whisenhunt led Arizona Cardinals. Let's get to the tale of the tape.
Steelers - A good dose of fast Willie Parker should be on the plate for the Steelers. Parker has the speed to get outside and run against a Cardinals front that hasn't been good at stopping the run for most of the year. Roethlisberger has got to make his reads quick and get the ball out of his hands. Hines Ward will play but will probably be limited (a small bit), so Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller will have to have big games in the air for the Steelers. Note to Nate Washington and Limas Sweed, CATCH the ball. I imagine that the Cards will leaving a lot of the Steelers WRs in single coverage and those WRs will have to make plays.
Cardinals - A good dose of Edge. He doesn't have to get over 100 yards, but he has to be a threat in the ground game. The Cardinals have done well when Edge is a part of their game plan. The offensive line will have to protect Kurt Warner. The Steelers have a dominant front 4 and when they blitz, ooooh lawtey. Warner will have to make the right quick reads when the Steelers do blitz and their receiver core is the best left standing (Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Breaston).
Steelers - The #1 Defense in the NFL. Do I need to say more? They have a front 3 that can stop the run, starting with big Casey Hampton. Add Bret Keisel and Aaron Smith and you wonder why the Steelers even blitz. The linebackers are led by James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. I expect one of these guys to have a great game. In the secondary You have Deshea Townsend, Ike Taylor, and Troy Polamalu. If the Steelers are able to get to Kurt Warner and hurt him, the game is over.
Cardinals - I'm not really sure. These guys are almost like the Bad News Bears. You have studs like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Adrian Wilson, Bertrand Berry, and Darnell Dockett. But even these guys haven't put a season together that will make us just want to believe in them. So now they have the opportunity to face a Steelers team that isn't multifaceted, just a regular running team with an above average QB, and one good/great receiver.
Steelers - Mike Tomlin got this job out of nowhere, according to some. At least Whisenhunt was told that he wasn't going to get the job, but Russ Grimm thought he had the job in the bag the night before and when he woke up Mike Tomlin was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tomlin has led the Steelers back to the old days of running the ball and playing great defense. As one of the youngest head coaches in the league he has proven that he knows what he's doing and the team has bought in to him.
Cardinals - Whisenhunt wanted the Steelers job, but when told he wasn't going to get it he west west. Whisenhunt signed to be the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, a team that hasn't been to the playoffs, ever!!!!! You could see the change in the team as the Cardinals got a little tougher than they had been in the past. After Grimm wasn't given the head coaching job, he came out to Arizona to join his pal. You have to know that beating the Steelers would be the best medicine for the Cardinals and two of their coaches in particular.
Normally one of the special teams makes a big play to turn the tide in a Superbowl, but I just don't think that it'll happen this year. This will all come down to defense.
I'm taking some time with this one. I'll post it in a few days. What do you think will happen? Who's going to win? Who will be the MVP? It's your turn to take a shot at predicting.