Return Of The Steel Curtain

Green WingsContributor IJanuary 28, 2009

It's back! Yes, It's back. The Steel Curtain is back!

"Mean" Joe Greene will be looking on as the new steel curtain, featuring James Farrior, LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison, Larry Foote, Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, and Brett Kiesel, take on Kurt Warner and the high-powered Arizona offense.

As potent as Pittsburgh's defense may be, the Cardinals' offense is just as effective with three home-run threats at receiver, a rejuvenated Edgerrin James running the ball, and a Kurt Warner who seems to have found the fountain of youth out there in the desert.

When the Cardinals overcame a red-hot Eagles team, which also boasts a top-five defense, they did it with screen passes and play-action passes to combat the blitz.

Fortunately for Arizona, Pittsburgh is also a blitzing defense. Unfortunately for them, the Steelers have more talent in key defensive positions than the Eagles.

And we all know that defense wins championships.

After it's all said and done, defense has prevailed in the recent championship runs of the Ravens, Bears, Steelers, and Buccaneers, who all made or won the big game because of their tenacious "D."

The Cardinals' defense has proved that they can make plays as well. They have eight interceptions, three forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown in the playoffs thus far, as the opportunistic unit has helped carry them to the Super Bowl.

The Steelers, however, have allowed only 244 yards per game and have forced six turnovers in their two playoff contests.

Not too shabby.

As most NFL analysts would say, whoever wins the turnover battle will win the game. Larry Fitzgerald will surely attract attention, but the key for Pittsburgh is to put pressure on Kurt Warner. Pressure from the front four will rattle Warner and largely take away the play-making abilities of Fitzgerald. The Steelers need to control the line of scrimmage from start to finish in order to win.

The key for Arizona will be to start fast and make Pittsburgh play catch up early in the game. They have a good enough defense to hold the Pittsburgh offense if they can get a cushion.

I expect a hard-fought game with both defenses playing well, as they have been dominant thus far in the playoffs.