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Old 01-19-2009, 04:55 PM   #1
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Default Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/story?i...s&confirm=true

Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII
Vic Carucci By Vic Carucci | NFL.com
Senior Columnist

Here are five reasons why the Steelers will win Super Bowl XLIII:


1. They won't give up the big offensive plays

The Steelers' defense has played up to its No. 1 ranking in the league for most of the season. And the AFC Championship Game was no exception. This unit simply doesn't allow itself to be consistently beaten by the game-breaking throws that Kurt Warner completed with ease to Larry Fitzgerald in the NFC title game. For one thing, the complex zone-blitz scheme of Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be able to generate enough pressure on Warner to limit his time and ability to find Fitzgerald and his other receivers. Warner has the experience and quick release to handle blitzes well, but the Steelers' blitz, led by Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison, will present a severe challenge. Pittsburgh's secondary, anchored by dominant strong safety Troy Polamalu, also will be able to hold its own in coverage against Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

2. They will stop the run

The Cardinals' offense has a newfound dimension in the explosive running of Edgerrin James, to go along with the effective rushing of rookie Tim Hightower. But the Steelers have the league's second-best run defense. They did a good job of making the Ravens one-dimensional by holding them to an average of 2.9 yards per carry. The Cardinals rely heavily on their outside speed on the ground. However, the Steelers' defense has enough athletic players who are fast enough to prevent James and Hightower from consistently turning the corner for big gains. The Cardinals try to open the run with their passing game. Having established that the Cards won't see the same big-play success through the air against the Steelers that they enjoyed against Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game, it will be difficult for them to get their running game in gear in the first place. And once Arizona's offense becomes one-dimensional, it will likely be a long day for Warner.

3. They will run the ball effectively

True, the Ravens stuffed Pittsburgh's ground attack, holding Willie Parker to 2.0 yards per carry. But the Ravens had the NFL's second-ranked defense and are third against the run. Arizona's defense ranked 19th overall and 16th against the rush. True, the Steelers ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing offense. Still, they have demonstrated they can move the ball effectively on the ground when they make a concerted effort to do so, as was the case in their divisional-round victory over San Diego. The Cardinals' defense has done a nice job of stopping the run during the postseason, but it isn't nearly as talented, nor is its scheme as complicated as Baltimore's. The Steelers don't have to dominate on the ground. They simply need to run well enough to provide balance to their offense. If they get physical up front (which they are more than capable of doing) and Parker trusts his considerable physical ability, they will run the ball well.

4. They have more Super Bowl experience

It was only three seasons ago that the Steelers won their fifth Super Bowl. A number of players from that team are on the current squad, including Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben was only in his second season then. He has since grown and matured considerably as an NFL quarterback. He has become more of a leader and understands what it takes to win big games. Granted, the Cardinals have a Super Bowl MVP and two-time Super Bowl quarterback in Warner. However, this will be the biggest game that most members of his supporting cast have played. And that is a factor. The Steelers are unlikely to be overwhelmed by the experience, from all of the media attention to the many demands (especially tickets) that family and friends place on them. It's a different story for the Cardinals. Also, once the game begins, the Steelers will have their experience in Super Bowl XL to draw upon.

5. They have the edge in coaching

Mike Tomlin and Ken Whisenhunt are both second-year coaches, so the experience factor is a wash. However, Tomlin has done a tremendous job of keeping the Steelers at the same high level of competitiveness that existed when Bill Cowher was their coach. Certainly, Whisenhunt merits kudos for what he has done with the Cardinals, but his team did experience a late-season slump after clinching the NFC West early. Whisenhunt does know Roethlisberger well, having guided him when Whisenhunt was Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator. But Big Ben also knows his former coach. The real coaching advantage the Steelers have is with LeBeau. His defensive genius is usually too much for any opposing offense to handle, and the Cardinals are no exception.


Five reasons why Cardinals can win Super Bowl XLIII

Steve Wyche Senior Writer

Here are five reasons why the Cardinals could win Super Bowl XLIII:

1. Larry Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald already has a postseason record 419 receiving yards and that's before playing in the Super Bowl. Great players are often known for great catches and in these playoffs he's already made his mark with a highlight reel of spectacular hauls. He will be facing the NFL's top pass defense and some of the league's hardest-hitting defensive backs, but his ability to gain yards after the catch despite taking big shots is what sets him apart.

2. The offensive line

That's right; this group has allowed just three postseason sacks against two of the NFL's best pass rushing defenses, Carolina and Philadelphia. By keeping QB Kurt Warner upright, Arizona has been able to execute its offense at a high level. LT Mike Gandy has kept edge pass rushers John Abraham, Julius Peppers and Trent Cole at bay. Guards Deuce Lutui and Reggie Wells have been very stout and, along with tackle Levi Brown, given the Cards a nice young nucleus. Arizona also is averaging 111 rushing yards in the playoffs. Those could be tougher to come by vs. Pittsburgh, but there is a semblance of a rushing attack to balance the offense.

3. A little inside info

Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt and assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm came to Arizona from Pittsburgh. They know defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's tendencies and schemes, although he knows some of theirs. Where Whisenhunt and Grimm have an edge is they know some of the personnel and those players' strengths and weaknesses. In a game like this, where every little thing matters, that inside knowledge helps.

4. A different defensive front

The Steelers have faced two aggressive defenses in the playoffs, including Baltimore, who they played three times during the season. Those teams play 3-4 fronts. The Cardinals give a 4-3 look with a lot of five-man lines depending on down and distance. Pittsburgh's 3-4 front on defense is something the Cardinals haven't seen much in the playoffs, but again, Whisenhunt's and Grimm's familiarity with Pittsburgh's style will help provide proper scout looks in practice -- although simulating James Harrison will be impossible.

5. Warner

The Pro Bowler has completed 61 of 92 passes in the playoffs for 770 yards and just two interceptions. Warner is playing efficiently, courtesy of a lot of quick, short passes that calls for him to get the ball out of his hands. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley's creative screens and crossing routes designed to pick off defenders in traffic has allowed Warner to take aim at relatively wide-open receivers. Warner also is hanging on to the ball and keeping his poise when he gets hit.
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

GET' ER DONE!!!
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

thats a good article... and has some good points
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

There are definitely some good arguments that can be made for both sides. I'm really looking forward to this game. It's definitely going to be interesting to see which team steps up to the occasion. Hopefully we prove that Defense does indeed win championships!
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

This is going to be a really good game.

The Larry Fitzgerald vs. Steelers Secondary is the matchup that intruiges me the most. If we don't give him open field to run with and simply wrap him up instead of going for big highlight hits, he becomes less effective.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

we got to stop fitzgerald....a task not easily done
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

I am looking forward to this matchup! (Living around Philly, I was so NOT looking forward to the Eagles, though we could handle them).

Tomlin gets an "A" in my books, yet I was looking forward to Wiz taking over the Steelers. Ken is a great coach and the fact that he got the Cardinals to the Super Bowl after his second year says a lot.

Cardinals are not to be underestimated. This game is far from an automatic for the Steelers. Yet I say the Steelers have the edge, since we've contained pretty much every offense this year. I expect another blood bath, just not to the highest intensity of the Ravens AFCc game.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

Quote:
Originally Posted by shevdog View Post
I am looking forward to this matchup! (Living around Philly, I was so NOT looking forward to the Eagles, though we could handle them).

Tomlin gets an "A" in my books, yet I was looking forward to Wiz taking over the Steelers. Ken is a great coach and the fact that he got the Cardinals to the Super Bowl after his second year says a lot.

Cardinals are not to be underestimated. This game is far from an automatic for the Steelers. Yet I say the Steelers have the edge, since we've contained pretty much every offense this year. I expect another blood bath, just not to the highest intensity of the Ravens AFCc game.


Agreed....LFitsgerald is fast and explosive, also A Boldin is dangerous. Our defensive backs will have its hands full for this game...
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

Quote:
Here are five reasons why the Steelers will win Super Bowl XLIII:
Coming from Carucci, that's sayin' something.

Good read- thanks!
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Five reasons why Steelers can win Super Bowl XLIII

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