Super Bowl to be a showdown

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It’s going to be a showdown this Sunday as the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers take on the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla.

Both teams climbed their way to the top in their NFL conferences, respectively, and both have the keys to win the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh (12-4), on Jan. 18, battled with the Baltimore Ravens and won 23-14, while Arizona (9-7) won over the Philadelphia Eagles, 32-25.

While the Steelers have already been to the Super Bowl before, this is a new experience for the Cardinals.

In their championship win over the Eagles, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner connected with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for three touchdowns. At the Steelers’ game, safety Troy Polamalu returned an interception for a touchdown late in the game to seal it for Pittsburgh.

Both teams have amazing passing games.

For Pittsburgh, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has completed 281 passes out of 469 attempts for 3,301 yards and 17 touchdowns, while Arizona’s Warner has completed 401 passes out of 598 attempts for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns.

At the receiving end of the passes are Steelers’ Hines Ward (who is questionable to play Sunday due to a knee injury) and the Cardinals’ Fitzgerald.

Ward has 81 receptions for 1,043 yards and seven touchdowns and Fitzgerald has 96 receptions for 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns.

From these statistics, you will more than likely see a passing offense from both teams at the Super Bowl.

On the rushing side of things, Pittsburgh’s Willie Parker and Arizona’s Edgerrin James will run the field to give their teams good field position and score a touchdown or two.

Parker has 210 carries for 791 yards and five touchdowns and James has 133 carries for 514 yards and three touchdowns.

It’s going to be a passing game, but both Roethlisberger and Warner will have to look out for the likes of Pittsburgh’s James Farrior who has 133 tackles, 87 solo tackles, 46 assists and four sacks and Arizona’s Karlos Dansby — a former Auburn Tiger — who has 119 tackles, 95 solo tackles, 24 assists and four sacks.

If both teams stick to a passing routine on Sunday, then blitzes will be coming strong and hard. The winning edge could come down to whichever team can put more pressure on their opponent’s quarterback.

As far as who will come out on top, my pick would be Pittsburgh to win the Super Bowl, but if Arizona wins, I would not mind it at all. The Cardinals have been a great underdog story.