Pittsburgh Steelers: Preview Of Arizona Cardinals Match-up


Michael Vick gets his third straight start on Sunday and by now Steelers Nation is hoping Ben Roethlisberger‘s temporary replacement understands the offense. It’s the 4-1 Arizona Cardinals that Vick and the Steelers will take on at Heinz Field.

A victory Sunday for the Steelers could be huge on a day that front-running  Cincinnati may very well lose in Buffalo. That scenario would bring the Steelers to within one game of the Bengals. The Cardinals will certainly present a challenge so Pittsburgh better bring their A game.

When the Cardinals have the ball: Led by ex-Bengal Carson Palmer, Steelers’ defense beware. Arizona is tops in the NFL in scoring averaging 38 points per game. Having thrown 13 touchdowns to date with only three interceptions, Palmer brings to the ‘Burgh a QB rating of 114.

The ever dangerous ex-Pitt Panther Larry Fitzgerald is once again, leading the Cards in receiving with 35 receptions and 490 yards. On the ground, remember former Titan Chris Johnson? Now he is with the Cardinals as their leading rusher with 405 yards on 79 carries.

The Cardinals only loss of the season was to the St. Louis Rams two weeks ago. For Pittsburgh’s defense, the secondary will get a big test defending against Arizona’s passing game and showing they can contain a good running back. Naturally, Keith Butler will be bringing the blitz but Palmer has been sacked only seven times in five games.

Pittsburgh’s defense will not be at full strength as Will Allen is out with a bum ankle and both Jarvis Jones (hip) and Cortez Allen (knee) are listed as doubtful.

Also out for this game is Ryan Shazier. It can be officially said now that Shazier may be soft as he misses his fourth straight game. Having missed multiple games last season Shazier simply can’t stay healthy.

When the Steelers have the ball: With Michael Vick behind center, expect another heavy dose of the running game. Antonio Brown must be past the point of total frustration by now with around just 10 receptions in the last two games and not having gone over 50 yards receiving in either. In practice this week, you can bet he was leaning on Vick plenty more to discover ways he could get the ball.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers /

Pittsburgh Steelers

Martavis Bryant should be back on the field Sunday but once again success will ride on Vick’s ability to lead the offense. For the Arizona Cardinals they are 11th overall in stopping the run yielding about 97 yards per game, and 13th against the pass giving up around 235 yards per game. Vick will surely try to pass but he will need to be more aware in the pocket and you can bet the Cards will bring the heat.

Intangibles: In the past, the Steelers have consistently played their best football when challenged. The Arizona Cardinals represent a stiff challenge playing some of the best football in the league at the moment. In front of a home crowd, the Steelers should play well despite the short week.

Prediction: Arizona is playing well…true. But I like the way Michael Vick finished the game last Monday night. The momentum will carry over. Pittsburgh 24 Arizona 21. Watch for Chris Boswell to kick a game winner.

Next: NFL: Picking Week Six Winners

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