Arizona Cardinals

Super Bowl XLIII Breakdown and Prediction

Kevin TrahanAnalyst IJanuary 31, 2009

As we head into the Super Bowl, the Steelers are heavy favorites, but there's a guy named Kurt Warner and another named Larry Fitzgerald who have something to say about that.

Who has the advantage when...

The Cardinals pass the ball: The Cardinals may have one of the best passing attacks in the NFL. Warner has really stepped up this year and found a great target in Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has dominated opposing secondaries all season, and even more so in the playoffs. Let's not forget about another Cardinals wide receiver, Anquan Boldin, who is pretty darn good himself. Even this good Steelers' "D" should have a tough time containing the Arizona passing attack.

Advantage: Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals run the ball: The Arizona running game was horrible during the regular season and while the emergence of Edgerrin James has helped, he is going up against one of the best run defenses in all of football. The Cardinals are going to have to find a way to do something on the ground or else they may be in trouble. I think they will do just enough, but the Steelers' defense should still dominate.

Advantage: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers pass the ball: I think this will be the x-factor in the game. While their front four aren't very good, the Arizona secondary has stepped up immensely over the course of the year and the playoffs. They beat up traditionally good pass offenses that aren't any better than the Steelers with interceptions, holding big gains to a minimum, and big hits. They blew away Jake Delhomme with five interceptions and Donovan McNabb didn't fare too well either.

Advantage: Arizona Cardinals

The Steelers run the ball: The Arizona defensive line is, to say the very least, not very good. The Steelers should easily be able to run the ball against this defense, but not for big games as the secondary has stepped up a lot in helping to stop the run during the playoffs. Willie Parker should get 100 yards easily, but it still may not be enough if the passing game and secondary can't step up.

Advantage: Pittsburgh Steelers

Intangibles: The Cardinals have all the momentum in the world right now after two big upset wins over Carolina and Philadelphia. While the crowd should overwhelmingly be made up of Steelers' fans, that shouldn't bother Warner. With Arizona as hot as they are right now, there is no reason why they shouldn't be able to repeat the results they've had in their past two games.

Advantage: Arizona Cardinals

Prediction: I love the Warner-Fitzgerald-Boldin trio which may be the new Manning-Harrison-Wayne triple threat. We all knew the Cardinals could throw the ball, but the emergence of the Arizona secondary has been key to their success. Expect Fitzgerald to make Troy Polamalu look human. Warner will have four touchdown passes—three to Fitzgerald and one to Boldin. The Steelers will make it a game, though, as Willie Parker should rack up three touchdowns and Roethlisberger will throw for one. The game will come down to a Niel Rackers field goal at the end—the perfect ending to a southwestern Cinderella story.

Prediction: Arizona 34, Pittsburgh 31

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