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It’s HOT out there in the desert

January 19, 2009
LB Karlos Dansby takes NFC Championship trophy from team owner Bill Bidweel while team president Michael Bidwell looks on. Photo courtsey of Arizona Cardinals.

LB Karlos Dansby takes NFC Championship trophy from team owner Bill Bidweel while team president Michael Bidwell looks on. Photo courtsey of Arizona Cardinals.

And I’m not talking about just the weather!

I’m mainly talking about Larry Fitzgerald.  I have to admit, I have a little football crush on the guy.  Football crush you ask?  It’s not about getting a date, it’s all about how this guy just seems to have “stick-em” all over his hands and is an amazing football player.  No matter where he is, where the ball is thrown, it doesn’t matter…if it’s just in his vicinity he’s going to catch it. Not only does he catch, but then he drags any defenders with him for a gain of additional yards.  He’s amazing.

In yesterday’s NFC championship against the Philadelphia Eagles he had 3 TD’s before the end of the first half.  Let’s really take a look at this team, is it really so crazy that the Cardinals are the team the Steelers need to beat to win their 6th Championship?

First, Larry Fitzgerald really is no joke  (and I really do have a HUGE football crush) he has 1,431 yards receiving and 12 TD’s this season.  But he’s not the only weapon Kurt Warner has up his sleeve, he’s also got Anquan Boldin who is also no joke with 1,038 yards and 11 TD’s.  The slouch of the weapons, and I use that loosely, really loosely, is Steve Breaston with only 1,006 yards and 3 TD’s this season.  Not only do they have a passing game, but they have a decent running game that really seemed to come to life in the post-season.  Edgerrin James has 133 carries this season for 514 yards and 3TD’s.  And let’s not forget about Tim Hightower who has nearly 400 yards rushing this season and 10 TD’s. In fact, the interesting thing about the Cardinals is that they really gelled right when it counts – playoffs. I think the Steelers will be able to shut down the running game or ate least make them really work hard for yards, but it’s the passing game that is more the worry.

You’ve got a veteran QB in Kurt Warner, nothing’s going to shake him.  Yesterday he completed 21 of 28 for 279 yards and 4 TD’s.

The Cardinals look really, really good.  So good, in fact, that they basically manhandled the Eagles in yesterday’s NFC Championship with a 32-25 victory.  The Eagles were my pick this week but in the back of my mind, I was thinking about the irony of the Whisenhunt/Grimm vs. Mike Tomlin match-up.  I don’t think it was any surprise that both Steeler coordinators wanted the Steeler head coaching job.  There was a lot of debate (between me and SteelerDad anyway) about the choice of Tomlin but at the end of the day, I think the Rooney’s made the right choice.

With the way the Cardinals offense plays, I think this game will be a good test for the Steelers #1 defense.  How do you shut down the multi-dimensional Cardinals?  I guess pass-rush will really have to be in full-effect.  Push Warner out of the pocket.  The problem with Warner is that he gets rid of the ball pretty quickly which means first the secondary will have to keep the WR’s covered, forcing Warner to hold the ball a little longer than he is used to.

Either way, for real football fans, this may not be the grind it out defensive battle we had yesterday with the Ravens (post on that coming) but it will be a true test of our teams.  Both have really come together and played well when it counts,  Super Bowl XLIII here we come.

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