Thursday, January 29, 2009

Super Bowl Preview

The prediction powers of Subway Sports have been pretty average this postseason. Against the spread we're batting .500 with a 5-5 record. So the difference between making money and just paying the house comes down to the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) vs. Arizona Cardinals

Super Bowl XLIII is only half what the experts expected. Everyone knew Pittsburgh would maintain their status as a perennial contender, but Arizona is new to this stage.

What are some of the storylines?

Mike Tomlin vs. Ken Whisenhunt: These two hard nosed coaches are looking to build their own legacy. Tomlin is a promising young coach who has shown that no stage is too big for him. From the looks of things the Steelers have found a coach for the next decade. You have to hand it to the Rooney family, they run a great organization. Whisenhunt was passed up for the Steelers head coaching job, but apparently it was a win-win decision for the Steelers. Whisenhunt may have a bit of a chip on his shoulder and comes into this game with something to prove. Whisenhunt will have to provide an X's and O's advantage if the Cardinals are to win this game. The Steelers defense is too good and Tomlin preaches execution too well for the Cardinals to simply outplay them. Whisenhunt has to have a strategic advantage or they won't win, and unfortunately for him I think the Steelers will be prepared for the "throw it to Larry Fitzgerald" gameplan.

Which QB wins 2 Super Bowls? Some say that Kurt Warner has already solidified himself as a Hall of Famer, but I don't see it yet. He's had a very up and down career. At his peak he's been dominant, but not for long enough. However, 2 Super Bowl wins with two different teams is pretty impressive. Super Bowl wins with the Rams and Cardinals? That's unbelievable. For Ben Roethlisberger he has a chance to build a reputation as one of the greatest winners of all time. He'll be turning 27 this March and may have 2 Super Bowl victories under his belt. That gives him a great chance to win 4 or 5 which would make him the winningest QB of all time.

Larry Fitzgerald & Anquon Boldin: There's a lot of pressure on this guy to deliver. He's on everyone's radar now as the new Randy Moss with a good attitude. Now he plays the league's best defense on the grandest stage. A big performance could immortalize him, a bad one and people will be wondering what happened. Anquon Boldin is making his reputation as the new Terrell Owens. He's doing himself a disservice because he plays hard for his team. Let's see how he responds because the Cardinals need him to take attention away from Fitzgerald.

These three storylines will probably decide this game. The Cardinals have had some success running the ball the last 3 games against NFC opponents. This has given their offense the necessary balance to make it this far. I can almost guarentee that they will not have success this week. The Steelers run defense is elite and will only require 7 men to shut down the run. Thus, either Warner, Boldin, and Fitzgerald need to make magic or Whisenhunt needs to out-strategize the Steelers defense. I have to think the Steelers will do everything they can to take away the former, so it's up to Whisenhunt. Luckily for the Cardinals, he knows the Steelers as well as anyone. Unluckily for the Cardinals, the Steelers know him.

It's easy to pick against Arizona, but scary at the same time. They've proven us wrong many times and beat Philly and Carolina, both of which were supposed to be physical tehe'll make up teams with good defenses. The difference here is that Roethlisberger won't give this game away. I don't see him having a huge game, but he won't play nearly as badly as he did in his last Super Bowl appearence. With the Steelers taking care of the ball, expect them to wear down the Cardinals and eventually pull away.

Steelers 30, Cardinals 13

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