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01-19-2009, 08:47 AM
Cards-Steelers classic matchup of great offense vs. stifling defense
Jan. 19, 2009
By Pete Prisco
CBSSports.com Senior Writer

The first thing I think about when peeking ahead to the Arizona Cardinals-Pittsburgh Steelers battle in Super Bowl XLIII is that it is a classic case of offense against defense, or, for my purposes, good vs. evil.

You know how I love watching offense. That doesn't mean I care who wins or loses -- I don't -- it's just that I can't wait to see how Arizona's explosive passing offense matches up against that suffocating Pittsburgh defense.

They say defense wins championships, but this time I'm not so sure.

My early lean is to the Cardinals.

There is something special about this Arizona team. Something that makes them the charmed team, I think.

"Let them doubt us again," Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "We don't care what they think. How many people besides those inside this locker room thought we'd be where we are now? Not many. That's all that matters."

The way the Cardinals play offense will pose real problems for the Steelers. Pittsburgh is really good at stopping the run, which puts the emphasis on the other team's passing game. That's when they turn into pass-rush terrors.

The Cardinals, though, are a pass-first team, which would seem to neutralize that. They will attack the Steelers defense vertically with their outstanding receivers, throwing on run downs, and then run it when they need to in the second half.

The way Kurt Warner is getting the ball out on time will make it tough for the attacking Steelers front seven to get him down. In the past two playoff games, against two good, aggressive defenses, Warner was sacked three times and threw one interception, while throwing six touchdown passes.

The man is hot.

The Cardinals beat the Steelers 21-14 in Week 4 of the 2007 season in Arizona. Warner came off the bench that day for the injured Matt Leinart and threw for 132 yards and a touchdown. The story that day was Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt beating his former team after they passed on him as their head coach. Whisenhunt was the Steelers' offensive coordinator when they won the Super Bowl after the 2005 season.

It was Arizona's defense that stole the show that day, sacking Ben Roethlisberger four times and limiting Willie Parker to 37 yards rushing.

In past Super Bowls we've seen some explosive offenses lose to good, tough defenses. It happened last year when the New York Giants slowed down the high-scoring New England Patriots offense, an offense they said couldn't be stopped, and upset the Patriots.

This time, it's the offensive team that is the underdog as Pittsburgh is a seven-point favorite. That seems a bit high for an offense that just put up 32 on one of the league's best defenses, one that had been dominant in two previous playoff games.

Is this the year of the offense in the Super Bowl? It just might be.

01-19-2009, 10:03 AM
This is going to be a long 2 weeks if we have to read this kind of stuff. But you know what, who cares because we are in the Super Bowl :tt02: