Welcome back a new edition of All In the Cards! This week we see the Arizona Cardinals face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Besides being a rematch of Super Bowl XLIII, this game is really personal for the Cardinals, especially for their head coach. I hope you enjoy and if you do make sure to follow me on Twitter @QTipsforsports or just search the hashtag #Allinthecards for in-game thoughts and analysis. Without further ado, let’s see how these two teams stack up against each other:
Arizona Cardinals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Meeting: L 32-20 vs. Pittsburgh (10/23/11)
Welcome to the Bruce Arians revenge game.
After being forced out after the 2011 season, Arians will finally face the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend. As offensive coordinator of the Steelers, Arians really developed Ben Roethlisberger as a quarterback and was a part of two Super Bowl teams, which includes the 2009 Steelers who beat Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.
Now Arians returns to Pittsburgh with his own team, a team that mirrors those previous Steeler teams. Since Arians arrival in the desert, the Cardinals have transformed into the late 2000s Steelers, with an unstoppable vertical passing game, a running game that is better than it looks, and a defense that forces turnovers at an incredible rate. With how Arians’ Cardinals obliterated the Bears (who interviewed Arians in 2013 but then decided to hire Marc Trestman instead), you would think Arizona would demolish a Roethlisberger-less Steelers.
Amazingly enough that’s not the case. Even without Roethlisberger, the Steelers have quite a few favorable matchups. Mobile quarterbacks still present the biggest challenge to this Cardinals defense, and at age 35, Michael Vick may have lost some skills but he is still very mobile. Le’Veon Bell is one of the best receiving backs in the NFL and we have seen screen passes to running backs burn the Cardinals before. The Steelers have 16 sacks on the season, and while the Cardinals have done a relatively good job of protecting Carson Palmer (seven sacks allowed in five games), six of those sacks have come in the past two weeks, showing it may have had more to do with facing terrible pass-rushes instead of the Cards having great pass-protection the first three weeks.
In the end, I see the Cardinals finding a way to win this game for their beloved Coach Arians. As long as Palmer can stay standing, he will expose the Steelers defense through the intermediate passing game (also known as Larry Fitzgerald’s sweet spot) and the defense will force Vick to have to win the game with his arm. It will just be harder than people might have expected, and may have been impossible if Roethlisberger was healthy.
Prediction: Arizona 27, Pittsburgh 17
Other NFL Week 6 Predictions:
- New Orleans 26, Atlanta 24
- Cincinnati 27, Buffalo 17
- Chicago 19, Detroit 13
- Denver 24, Cleveland 12
- Tennessee 20, Miami 17
- Minnesota 24, Kansas City 10
- New York Jets 23, Washington 16
- Jacksonville 23, Houston 17
- Seattle 24, Carolina 20
- Green Bay 31, San Diego 18
- Baltimore 28, San Francisco 27
- New England 38, Indianapolis 20
- New York Giants 27, Philadelphia 23