By: Josh Satler – www.profootball101.org
Pray. That’s the proper place to start.
No, the 2008 Steelers are not in the same class as the 2007 New England Patriots—they can be beat, but the Cardinals have one formula for success and if that doesn’t work, the house of cards comes down. No pun intended.
For Arizona to win on Sunday, they will need to come out firing the ball; the ground game will not work.
But the Steelers have only been beaten through the air one time this year: a 24-20 loss to the Colts. And even then, there was some luck involved. Peyton Manning’s first TD pass to Reggie Wayne, for 65 yards, was deflected off the CBs hand right into Wayne’s before he took it the rest of the way for the score.
So while it won’t be easy, it’s the only way.
Warner will have to execute the short passing game to perfection because the Steelers will not allow him to sit back there and pick apart its secondary. They’ve seen plenty of film from the Eagles game to know that you’ve got to break the timing between Warner and his receivers (Fitzgerald and Boldin).
And by utilizing this passing attack successfully, it will allow Arizona to implement the running game once they get the lead.
Defensively, the Cardinals won’t have to worry about getting run over by Pittsburgh because they don’t employ the overwhelming running game that we all became accustomed to throughout the Cowher years.
And if Arizona has a lead, they’ll be at their best; playing aggressive defense—exotic blitz packages and the safety in the box (to stop the run and bring the extra man)—and allowing their secondary to remain disciplined in their coverage.
Now again, this scenario isn’t likely. It worked beautifully against the Panthers and during the 1st half of the Eagles game.
It will have to work once again to provide them their best shot to take home the Lombardi Trophy.
Check back tomorrow for Pro Football 101’s keys to a Steelers victory.