NFL Efficiency Ratings- Super Bowl Breakdown
Arizona Cardinals (19th Overall, 6th scoring, 29th defense) vs
Pittsburgh Steelers (2nd Overall, 14th scoring, 1st defense)
Well we finished up the playoff season going 10-2 predicting by the numbers which all in all is pretty good. The AFC went complete to form, though the NFC saw two huge misses with the Giants and Panthers both losing in their first games. So now we turn the attention to the Super Bowl. There are so many strange factors that go into this game that it is probably quite rare that the games play even close to form. You never know if a team spends more time living up the Super Bowl week rather than preparing for the game itself. You never know what kind of jitters the teams will have. One would think that most of the negatives will go onto the Arizona Cardinals. They are the younger team. They are the huge underdog that should be happy to be in the game. Pittsburgh has been here before and expects to win the game. Of course overconfidence can be a killer as it was with the New England Patriots last year, but the Steelers don't look to have that same swagger that those Patriots had.
So can the Cardinals offense score on what has been the most dominant defense in the NFL? Probably not. Arizona is going to try to spread them out and hope for the best, but the Steelers have taken on better teams than Arizona and completely shut them down. Their blitz is different than the Eagles one that Arizona had such an easy time picking apart. Philadelphia sells out completely when they blitz the QB. Pittsburgh tries to hide the blitz and often will zone their coverage to give the corners help. They are much more physical than any team the Cardinals played this season except the Giants, who beat the Cardinals up pretty badly. Arizona has certainly shown a different side to themselves in the postseason on defense. For as much as everyone focuses on the Arizona offense vs Pittsburgh defense, this is the matchup that may decide the game. The Steelers are by no means a great offensive team and if they cant move the ball against the Cardinals and give the Arizona offense alot of chances with the football the Cardinals could sneak away with the win. The one reason the Steelers beat the San Diego Chargers was that their offense kept the ball away from San Diego for basically 3 quarters of the football game. That is what they will want to do this week to Arizona. If the Arizona defense takes away the ball control offense you never know what can happen.
I would like to see Arizona win and will be pulling for them, but the Steelers are the better team. Call it 27-20.