Monday, January 19, 2009

On to Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I was too tired last night to blog, but, needless to say, I was pretty excited after the Steelers' 23-14 win over the Ravens in the AFC championship game, yet another stressful game in what has been a stressful Steelers' season. And so now it's on to Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII in two weeks to face the rather surprising Arizona Cardinals, coached by former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and led by comeback QB Kurt Warner and the simply amazing WR Larry Fitzgerald. The Steelers' D has been magnificent all year, led by S Troy Polamalu, the outstanding LBs (with sack specialists Harrison and Woodley on the outside), and an underrated DL, but it'll be interesting to see it up against the Cards' potent passing attack. What worries me most are the Steelers special teams. Jeff Reed is a very good kicker, but the punting game is atrocious and the cover units always seem to give up big returns. Meanwhile, the Cards' D has been solid so far in the postseason, with the exception of the second half yesterday against the Eagles. Steelers QB Big Ben Roethlisberger has been playing well, and hopefully Hines Ward, the team's top receiver, will be back healthy after being knocked out of the game early yesterday, but they need to get more out of Willie Parker and the running game. Parker was his usual strong self against the Chargers last week, but he struggled, as so many RBs do, against the Ravens.

It's too early for a prediction, at least from me, and I generally prefer to avoid predicting Steelers games (though I thought the Ravens would win 16-13 yesterday), but Pittsburgh is already the heavy favourite. As for me, I'm just happy they made it through one of the toughest schedules ever to reach the big game. It's been quite a ride so far this year, with so many tight games, so many games coming right down to the wire, including the first two against the Ravens, and now there's just one more to go.

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  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:31 PM  

  • Congrats to you and the Steelers.

    By Blogger creature, at 5:17 PM  

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