Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Heading into week seven, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals find themselves in tougher positions than they expected. Pittsburgh is behind Baltimore and tied with Cincinnati in the tough AFC north. Arizona is 3.5 games back of the surprising 49ers. Both teams could use a win for different reasons. The Steelers are -4 point favorites over the Cardinals with an over/under point total set at 41.5.
Pittsburgh is coming off an unimpressive 17-13 victory against the hapless Jaguars at home. It was an old-school performance by the Steelers. The ground game carried the day on offense and the defense was as stingy as ever. Rashard Mendenhall was the offensive star with 146 rushing yards, and the team as a total rushed 32 times for 185 yards. On the other side, the defense racked up five sacks and surrendered just over 200 total yards.
It wasn’t all positives for Mike Tomlin’s team though. They continue to be inconsistent, which could cost them in a division that’s more competitive than expected with the emergence of the Cincinnati Bengals. It was puzzling to see a team thrash the Titans last week and squeak past a poor Jags team the next week. It’s no secret that Pittsburgh has offensive line issues. The constant pressure has affected Ben Roethlisberger, who completed barely over 50% of his passes against the Jacksonville defense.
Arizona would take any win it can get in a division that may be wrapped up by week ten. The 1-4 Cardinals were mercifully given a bye in week six after getting waxed by a one-win Vikings squad the week before. Now they have to face the team that denied them the Lombardi Trophy in the franchise’s first and only Super Bowl Appearance.
With Tim Hightower and Steve Breaston leaving in the offseason (and Kevin Kolb acquired as the starting quarterback of course), the Arizona offense has some different faces but the same [poor] results. Beanie Wells has had a career year thus far, but this team is still trying to regain the offensive mojo it had when Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin were formidable trio.
Fitzgerald is the only one of those players left, but he will likely take a back seat to the rushing attack of Beanie Wells and co. this week. The Steelers defense has been uncharacteristically poor against the run and strong against the pass. If they generate pressure from LaMarr Woodley and the pass rush, Kolb will likely cough the ball off. The question for the Arizona defense is can they take advantage of the Pittsburgh offensive line and get pressure of their own? I think the Cardinals hang around here. They have played well at home and could give the Steelers trouble if they run the way they have thus far. Pittsburgh is the better team, but I think their inconsistency plagues them this time as Arizona covers.
Arizona Cardinals +4 Pittsburgh Steelers