When the Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh to take on the extremely hot Steelers, they'll be underdogs. In fact, for most of this season the team will be considered the underdog, no matter the opponent. That is, until the team comes together and jells -- and we put this "quarterback controversy" behind us.
The Steelers are a top-notch team. Their offense is led by Willie Parker who averages 120 ypg, but Ben Roethlisberger has been formidable this season. Perhaps it's because Mike Tomlin has been able to keep Big Ben's attempts down in the 20s. That's been the Achilles heel of that offense for some time now: if Roethlisberger is forced to throw a lot of passes, there's a good chance he'll make mistakes. No doubt our goal going in should be containing the run and forcing Roethlisberger to test the secondary.
That said, there's no way we win without offense. Their greatest strength is their stingy defense which allows a mere 8.7 points per game.
Whoever plays at quarterback -- Leinart will start the game, but if one certainty could be drawn from last weekend's game, it's that there are no certainties -- will need to drive the offense downfield. The Steelers stop the run. A lot. In fact, they allowed one 100 yard rusher over the past 50-odd games. Whisenhunt is going to challenge them by feeding James the ball, but success through the air is vital.
It's going to take some great play to contend in this game. Leinart will need to be on top of his game and he'll need to make smart throws. And at 1-2, this game is very important if the postseason is in our future.
Prediction: 20-13, Steelers