Championship Weekend: The Trilogy Concludes and the Birds Battle in the Desert
I had originally predicted before the playoffs that if this was the scenario on Championship weekend, then the Ravens and the Cardinals would win these games, with the Ravens winning the Super Bowl. However, the more I look at this week's games, the more I see the Steelers and the Cardinals meeting in the Super Bowl with the Steelers winning it.
The key for the Ravens to win this week will be their ability to stop Willy Parker from getting to the outside. Parker is a similar runner to Chris Johnson of the Titans who last week was running all over the Ravens until he got hurt midway through the game.
It may have been an advantage for the Ravens to get to play Johnson, so that they could figure out how to stop a running back like that. Another key for the Ravens will be if Terrell Suggs can play, because he is an athletic player that can definitely help keep Parker from getting to the corner.
If the Steelers can get pressure on Joe Flacco early, then they can get him uncomfortable in the pocket, even if they don't get him to turn the ball over. The biggest threat that the Steelers have to winning is if Mark Clayton can get by Ike Taylor for a big play, because Clayton has the speed to make the deep play happen, as we have seen before this year, and Flacco is willing to throw it deep.
It will be a low-scoring game, so if the Steelers can get the run game working well early, then they should be able to win this game, but also as we saw last week they must not turn the ball over, especially in the red zone, or they will lose.
For the Eagles to win, they will need Brian Westbrook to be able to get into open space, whether it is running the ball or on screens. Westbrook is someone that can score on any play if he can get just a little help, however, with Boldin coming back and the Cardinal defense and running games stepping up in the playoffs, I don't see the Eagles winning anyway.
As good as Asante Samuel is he will get beat by Larry Fitzgerald at some point during this game, and possibly more than once. Fitzgerald much like Westbrook is someone who can score on any play, he is the most athletic receiver out there, and he is capable of catching anything thrown his way. Boldin on the other hand is a guy that can make defenders miss once he gets the ball, as we saw against the Falcons in the wild card playoff game.
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