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Old 01-31-2009, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default ProFootball Weekly Editors' Super Bowl predictions

Editors' Super Bowl predictions

Jan. 31, 2009

Publisher/editor Hub Arkush

Steelers 27, Cardinals 17

Could they be more different? This will be the Steelers’ seventh Super Bowl appearance — which trails only the Cowboys, who’ve made eight — while the Cardinals participate for the first time. At 12-4, the Steelers trailed the Titans and Giants by just one game for the best record in football while the Cards are the first team since the 1979 Rams and second in history to get to the Super Bowl after a 9-7 regular season. The Steelers will try to run the ball and play defense while Arizona fills the air with footballs, but don’t think for a minute Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Edgerrin James don’t give the Cards a chance. They do, just not enough. Willie Parker, LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are the difference in a Steelers victory.

Editor-in-chief Keith Schleiden

Steelers 24, Cardinals 13

The Steelers have history and experience on their side, this being their seventh overall Super Bowl appearance. They went to the NFL title game — and won it — just three seasons ago. The Cardinals are entering unknown territory, having never reached the game with the Roman numerals. But they do have a quarterback who has won a Super Bowl ring, perhaps the best wide receiver on the planet and momentum. So how does it shake out? The Steelers’ merciless defense will confound the Cardinals’ offensive line and rattle Kurt Warner early. Warner can be prone to meltdowns, and with much of the pressure falling on him because no one runs on the Steelers, he overheats and becomes turnover-prone at the worst possible time.

Managing editor Mike Holbrook

Steelers 27, Cardinals 21

There are so many great matchups in this one — Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm vs. Mike Tomlin, the Steelers’ pass rush vs. Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin vs. the Steelers’ secondary. The Cardinals’ coaches know these Steelers as well as any AFC North coaching staff and will know how to attack Pittsburgh. However, can the Cardinals protect Warner well enough to allow him to exploit the Steelers’ vulnerability to the deep pass? Also, can the Cardinals bring enough heat to force Ben Roethlisberger into making mistakes? The Steelers won despite Big Ben in Super Bowl XL. If Clancy Pendergast’s crew can put pressure on him, I believe the Cards can stay close. I expect a hard-fought game that will be closer than some think.

Executive editor Dan Arkush

Steelers 30, Cardinals 21

I’ve got a confession to make. I really like the Cardinals — a lot. My affection for them has a lot to do with just how much they remind me of my favorite professional sports team, the Chicago Cubs, who share a similar dubious history. It’s a team that has become quite lovable, I believe, with its exciting high-octane offense and late-blooming defense. And, like the Cubs, I’m thinking it’s a team that will break my heart in pro football’s biggest show, with the more experienced Steelers pulling away down the stretch. Arizona’s defense displayed some scary cracks in the second half of the NFC championship when the Eagles ripped down the field for three straight scores. A similar unraveling will be the Cards’ undoing on Super Sunday.

Executive editor Neil Warner

Steelers 24, Cardinals 20

The league’s best defense vs. an offense featuring Kurt Warner and WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin should produce fireworks. However, unless Edgerrin James can continue his late-season surge vs. the stingy Steelers, the Cardinals will become a one-dimensional offense, and that would be an insurmountable obstacle for the immobile Warner against Pittsburgh’s terrific pass rush. Of course, the Steelers don’t score a lot of points, and the Arizona defense has looked like a transformed unit since the start of the playoffs. Key to the continued success of the Cardinals’ “D” is its ability to pressure Ben Roethlisberger, who was sacked 46 times in the regular season. If Arizona can bring the heat, this will be a close game.

Senior editor Eric Edholm

Steelers 27, Cardinals 17

To me, the critical matchup of the Super Bowl for the second straight year will be how well the offensively superior team can pass-block. Last year, the Giants disrupted the Patriots’ passing game. Can the Cardinals keep the heat-seeking Steeler missiles off of QB Kurt Warner? In my opinion: no, not for four quarters. And that run game the Cardinals have discovered? I think the Steelers will take it away. At some point Warner and WR Larry Fitzgerald will create more magic. They have been too hot not to connect for at least two big plays. I just don’t think it will be enough. And the Cardinals’ defense might find the going tough against a Steelers offense that is patient enough to run the ball, throw short and medium and wait for 3-4 big plays. Defense prevails.

Senior editor Mike Wilkening

Steelers 24, Cardinals 20

I have the suspicion both teams would rather be playing someone else in the Super Bowl. Oh, it’s nice to be here, thank you very much, but I think the Cardinals would rather not be playing an opponent that stuffs the run while also getting considerable pressure off the edge and via the blitz while playing sound coverage in the back end. And the Steelers, deep down, would rather not be preparing for an opponent that knows their tendencies so well — and has the personnel to give them fits. I think the game comes down to a mistake — a muffed punt, a blown coverage, etc. And I think the Steelers, who return a good number of starters from a team that won the Super Bowl three years ago, are less likely to make such a gaffe. But the Cards have a fighting chance.

Associate editor Matt Sohn

Cardinals 24, Steelers 21

If this game were at Heinz Field, chalk it up as a Steelers romp. Heck, if this were played in any cold-weather climate, hand Dan Rooney the Lombardi Trophy, plan the parade route through downtown Pittsburgh and start debating whether the Lions should go with Andre Smith or Mark Sanchez with the draft’s top pick. But the fact that this game is in warm-weather Tampa mitigates the Steelers’ physical superiority and defensive prowess. The Steelers’ devastating blitz package won’t have its normal effectiveness against Kurt Warner, possibly the league’s best QB at blitz recognition. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ defensive improvements since CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie entered the lineup will be enough to slow down the Steelers’ plodding offense.

Associate editor Dan Parr

Steelers 27, Cardinals 17

Arizona brings its vaunted aerial attack, which ranks second in the league, against the Steelers’ top-ranked pass defense. Pittsburgh allowed 21 points or less in 14-of-16 regular season games and 1-of-2 playoff games. Pittsburgh’s ability to slow down Arizona’s offense will be the deciding factor in the Super Bowl. There’s almost no way of eliminating Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald — he’s sure to do some damage. Pittsburgh must focus on minimizing Fitzgerald and, most importantly, shutting down Arizona's running game, which has improved in the playoffs. The Steelers, who ranked second vs. the run, will succeed in that effort and force QB Kurt Warner into obvious passing situations, turning the game in Pittsburgh’s favor.

Associate editor Michael Blunda

Steelers 31, Cardinals 27

This might not be a matchup for the ages, but it’s a clash of two clubs saving their best for last. Left for dead just a month ago, Arizona has developed into a complete team during its playoff run, giving defensive efforts that match its up-tempo offense. The Steelers, meanwhile, finally have discovered an offense to go along with their league-best “D.” While the game should be very competitive, the difference will be Pittsburgh’s ability to stuff the run, making the Cards’ attack one-dimensional. Kurt Warner has succeeded under adverse conditions before, but without a running game to fall back on, he’ll be a sitting duck for James Harrison and Co. In the end, Ben Roethlisberger will do just enough for the Steelers to again hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
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Old 01-31-2009, 06:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: ProFootball Weekly Editors' Super Bowl predictions

Only one picking against.
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Old 01-31-2009, 06:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: ProFootball Weekly Editors' Super Bowl predictions

Nice to see all but one of the PFW's writers picking the Steelers! Hey - someone HAD to go with the Cards - they do have to be "unbiased" ya know?

Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ defensive improvements since CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie entered the lineup will be enough to slow down the Steelers’ plodding offense.
I think not. DRC is a rookie and the Steelers are going to go after him from the get-go when passing. His inexperience is bound to stick out like a sore thumb. I have to give this bozo props, though, for not joining in on the Fitz johnson slobbin'.

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Old 02-01-2009, 12:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: ProFootball Weekly Editors' Super Bowl predictions

That's cool. One guy needs to cut against the grain...what does he have to lose? If he makes the pick, he can say he was rolling the dice...if he actually wins he'll look like a genius...
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: ProFootball Weekly Editors' Super Bowl predictions

Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
Editor-in-chief Keith Schleiden

Steelers 24, Cardinals 13
I've been thinking about an 11 point margin-of-victory for a few days now, and this sounds about correct
(same score as 1974 AFC Championship game against da Raidez, 'em Stillers' first-ever road victory)

I can't imagine 'em Stillers losing if the Red Robins are held to 2 TDs-or-less.
"If I could start my life all-over again, I would be a professional football-player, and you damn-well better-believe I'd be a Pittsburgh Steeler!"
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: ProFootball Weekly Editors' Super Bowl predictions

I think the Steelers win...but there's one line that I hate hearing about...as it really has little bearing on the game played later today.

The Steelers have history and experience on their side, this being their seventh overall Super Bowl appearance
A lot of these players either weren't alive when the Steelers did the majority of their damage...or weren't even in HS yet. A large group of your core wasn't in the league at all when Neil O'Donnel lost to the Plowboys...

So that leaves just the most recent SB victory as any kind of a boost.

There's no real mental edge in regards to the first 4 rings won vs what Arizona has failed to accomplish (and will likely fail to accomplish still) to earn.

The edge goes to the Steelers because they can bring pressure from everywhere on the field...and I believe your offense is better than their defense. Not because of 4 championships won 30 years ago or one lost 15 years ago.
If you take the "U" out of "STUD", you get STD. I'm just saying.
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