Super Bowl XLIII is scheduled to get under way at 6:00pm ET on February 1st. The battle for the Lombardi Trophy between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida and will be broadcast live on NBC. Current Super Bowl odds at Sportsbook.com have the Steelers holding as a -7 against the spread favorite.
The Steelers mowed through their regular season schedule to finish 12-4 and in first place in the AFC's North division. They never lost two games in a row in their 2008 campaign, and their march to the Super Bowl was highlighted by a five game winning streak that included wins over San Diego, New England, Dallas, and Baltimore.
Pittsburgh, who has won three games in a row entering Super Bowl XLIII, is averaging 29 points per game in the post-season while allowing 19 per contest in return. Mike Tomlin's squad is also plus five in playoff turnover margin.
Counter to Steeler tradition, the offense has survived mostly on the passing game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, sporting a 90.8 post-season passer rating, has led the passing attack to an average of 200 yards per game in the playoffs. The Black and Gold ground game has produced an average of just 3.1 yards per carry against the Chargers and the Ravens.
Arizona had high hopes entering the regular season, and they managed to somehow meet them and squelch them at the same time. They wrapped up the NFC West title early by jumping out to a 7-3 start in the talent strapped division, but they promptly squashed the playoff expectations of their fan base as well as the media by coasting to a 2-4 finish. Luckily for Cardinals fans, the team turned it back on when the post-season kicked off.
The Red Birds enter their showdown with the Steelers on a season long four game winning streak. The competition has been anything but feeble as Ken Whisenhunt's underdog unit fought its way past playoff opponents Atlanta, Carolina, and Philadelphia by averaging 31.7 points per game. They allowed those teams 20.7 in return, but also neutralized them quite effectively with an opportunistic brand of defensive football (+9 playoff turnover margin).
Arizona has been a pass first offensive unit all year and they have not changed their strategy in recent weeks; however, they have increased their average rushing yards per game from 73.6 in the regular season to 111 in the playoffs. The Cardinals former Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Kurt Warner, has completed 66.3 percent of his passes in the team's three post-season games, while throwing eight touchdowns to just two interceptions.
Pittsburgh Steelers -7 (-105), Over 46.5 (-110), -250 (Money line)
Arizona Cardinals +7 (-115), Under 46.5 (-110), +210 (Money line)
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