Our Intriguing Super Bowl XLIII Matchup

NC Nighthawk@NC Nighthawk (my Xbox gamertag)Analyst IJanuary 26, 2009


The Super Bowl XLIII matchup this Sunday in Tampa is an intriguing contrast between Arizona’s awesome passing game against Pittsburgh’s No.1 NFL defense.

To me, this boils down to the Cardinals’ offense dealing with the Steelers’ 3-4.  More specifically, the outcome of this game will probably be decided between Arizona’s offensive tackles and Pittsburgh’s outside linebackers. 

Yes, it may be as simple as that. 

The Steelers’ zone blitz is the most complicated to read in the league.  It’s difficult, even with max protection, for the RB to pick up the right defender in time.  Edge James ability to pass block will be a key in buying QB Kurt Warner enough time to find and hit his highly talented WRs.

What do you think?

I like both teams, but I’m pulling for the Cardinals because it is always fun for me to witness a new team who has never won a Super Bowl before to win it, and it’s a good story when the underdog is victorious.

However, if the Steelers win, it will also be fantastic to see Pittsburgh win ring No. 6 and lay claim as the best franchise of the Super Bowl Era.  Before 1972, Pittsburgh did not fare that well, plus the Green Bay Packers probably have the best case for the best franchise in NFL history with a total of 12 titles, including three Super Bowl rings.

As far as pickems go, right after NFL Conference Championship Sunday, I was leaning towards the Cardinals. However, I think that the two week layoff, the Steelers’ experience, but mainly the combination Pittsburgh’s thorough execution of the 3-4 defense and Ben Roethlisberger’s knack for making the plays need to win, and just plain logic is leading me to choose Pittsburgh as the favorites.

As always, it comes down to which team blocks and tackles better in a given game because great blocking produces great plays and points while fine tackling stops and limits big plays and keeps points at a minimum.

I just can’t see Pittsburgh losing that old reliable turnover ration stat either.

While the Steelers’ 5-1 record in Super Bowls have no real bearing on this particular game, it is interesting trivia. It’s also difficult to pick against a winning franchise who has been there and done that.

But we had that scenario a year ago when the Giants upset the Patriots to take that Super Bowl trophy and left New England at 18 and oh-oh!

I give the Cardinals credit. Arizona has proved me wrong three times thus far in this post season and may prove me wrong again Sunday, as the New York Giants did a year ago. I know to never count Kurt Warner out.  Among their great offense and improved defense, I’ve been impressed with the Cardinals special teams in the post season.

Again, no bearing on this game, but Arizona defeated Pittsburgh the last time these teams met in October 2007—at Arizona. The Cardinals have the confidence that they can hang in there with these Super Bowl favorites.

Which team has the edge in special teams: the Cardinals or the Steelers?

What do you think?

I want to explore and have fun with this matchup before I make my final prognostication later this week.

Meanwhile, I want to absorb, appreciate, and be entertained by the events of Super Bowl Week as well as Super Bowl history and lore.



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