We’ve spent the past two weeks analyzing the key matchups for the Super Bowl, but now it’s business time. Here are your award-winning editors with their predictions. Any money lost due to the content of this post is your own fault, jagoff.
Norm Johnson says:
I hate predicting things. I’ve been around predictions all of my life with my mother being a palm reader and my father being a weatherman, as well as having Punxsutawney Phil as a pet. It’s stupid because no one knows the future (except for Marty McFly), so my guesses are as good as the hooker’s that’s asleep in my bed right now. With that being said, here are my predictions for the game.
The Cardinals are obviously the “cool and trendy” (make air quotes with your fingers when you read that) pick right now with some people, even though those people are just the ESPN SportsNation crowd. And you can’t take those sheep seriously. Even though they have a great offense - which is all we’ve heard about this past week - championships are won with defense. Ask any of the past champions. If the Cards are going to mimic the Giants’ cinderella win of last year, they better step up their D, catch the Steelers’ defense sleeping with a big play, force Ben to make mistakes, and stop Willie. I don’t think Edge will have any impact in this game whatsoever, unless they use him for screens. No one could run on or out-hit the Steelers defense all year, so don’t think a washed-up gangsta can. If they’re going to win, they will have to do it through the air.
As for the Stees, you know their defense is going to show up - that’s a given. Yeah, Larry is a baller, but the Steelers have shut down some big time receivers this year including Plax, TO, and Randy Moss for 15, 32, and 45 yards this season, respectively. But I give it to Larry that he’s upped his game big time in the playoffs. That’s a matchup that will obviously swing the game one way or another. What I want to see is how Ben will try to make up for last Super Bowl. You know he’s wanting to prove himself for putting up such crappy numbers in Super Bowl XL. I think he will - kind of - as long as he does what he’s made to do: manage the game. What they basically have to do is keep the Cards’ offense off the field, have Willie be effective, use short passes because I’m sure they’re going to try and blitz, and don’t give up the big plays on defense. I have a feeling the D will have a little trouble totally shutting down the Cards’ offense but they should at least hold them to field goals instead of touchdowns.
Here are some end stat predictions:
Ben - 17/30 245 yards 1 INT
Willie - 23 carries for 87 yards 1 TD
Santonio/Hines - 9 catches 143 yards
Defense - 4 sacks 2 INTs 1 FF 1 TD
Warner - 19/35 263 yards 1TD 2 INTs
Edge - 15 carries for 42 yards
Fitz/Boldin - 13 catches 171 yards 1 TD
Defense - Sucks
Steelers - 17
Cardinals - 13
MVP : James Harrison 9 Tackles 2 sacks 1 FF 1TD (That’s right.)
Important note: Make sure you don’t take anything that Bam says seriously with his predictions. If I remember correctly, that pessimistic fat bastard predicted (this was when we were being interviewed before the Nov. 30 New England game) that they would lose 2 or 3 more games before the end of the year and lose at home for the AFC Championship. Of course, the kicker must come in in the clutch and I predicted they might only lose 1 (which they did) and go to the Super Bowl and win. But actually, if you’re a fan of the Steelers, you most likely predicted them to go to the Super Bowl before the season even started. I know for sure, the ESPN “experts” didn’t think the Stees would get this far. Most thought they would be AFC North Champs but not get any further than that. They also didn’t think the Cards would get this far either, but really, who did?
Bam Morris says:
What can I say? I used to be a hater and now I’m a believer. On Rizzo Sports Weekly, I went on the record saying that the Steelers would lose in the AFC Championship game because of the offensive line. I won’t deny it, but I sure am glad I am wrong. Never doubt a kicker, huh?
Anyway, I agree with most of the stuff Norm said. The Cardinals are actually getting more love than the Steelers right now, even though Vegas hasn’t noticed. If you average out all of the “expert” predictions, I’d say it’s about 50/50 right now. Here’s why: After last year’s miraculous upset with the Giants beating the Pats, everybody wants to say that they called it first. Right after Championship Sunday and when the Steelers/Cards Super Bowl was decided, most people were saying it would be a blowout. Well, after two weeks of slobbering over OMG LARRY!!! FITZGERALD and grocery bagger Warner, SIX OUT OF 10 of SI’s TOP FOOTBALL WRITERS ARE PICKING ARIZONA.
Maybe the Cards will prove me wrong, but I think this is a classic case of overthinking things. What do we know for sure? That the number one defense in the NFL is 7-1 in Super Bowls. That the majority of the Steelers playing in this game have already won a Super Bowl ring. That Arizona allowed over 46 points three times this season and 24 or more during their two home playoff games.
We also know that a month ago the Arizona Cardinals were the worst playoff team in NFL history. Do three wins really change a team that much? The thought here is no.
The Steelers have played one poor game out of 18 - the Tennessee game. They didn’t win all of the other contests, but you could easily say that they played good football. The Cardinals have been up and down all season long, but everybody assumes they will remain at their peak. Why? I really think the chances of them winning are equal to those of them losing by 20+ given their track record.
Maybe Larry Fitzgerald makes an amazing play and catches a long touchdown. Okay, maybe he even catches two. Are the Steelers incapable of scoring 14 points against the Arizona Cardinals? Pittsburgh scored 23 points in terrible weather against a nasty Baltimore defense two weeks ago.
I am not buying into all they hype around the Cardinals. The Steelers are too athletic on defense and too focused to lose this game. I think they’ll be able to run the ball successfully against Arizona much like they did against the Cardinals.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 27 Arizona 16
Some other stat predictions:
MVP: Fast Willie Parker - 27 carries for 121 yards, 1 TD
LaMarr Woodley - 2 sacks
James Harrison - 1 sack
Aaron Smith - 1 sack, FF
Ben Roethlisberger - 14/21 for 210 yards, 1 TD 1 INT
Nate Wasington - 3 catches for 72 yards, 1 TD
Larry Fitzgerald - 9 catches for 99 yards, 1 TD