Official Super Bowl XLIII Prediction Thread

The moment every TSR reader has been waiting for is finally here: It’s time for me to hand out my Super Bowl pick.

I know, I know – you guys have been dying for this blog to come out since the Super Bowl XLIII matchup was set, but I wanted to take my time. I decided to go back and re-watch every single Arizona Cardinal and Pittsburgh Steeler game from this season in order to figure out each teams’ tendencies and therefore make the ultimate prediction.

But when I turned on my DVR to begin re-watching all the games I saw I had a couple of “Reno 911” episodes saved and I got lost in all the hilarity. (That Jim Dangle is one funny S.O.B.)

Needless to say, I didn’t re-watch one game, didn’t find one tendency and therefore my “ultimate prediction” is just going to be a flat out guess. Either way…

This is how I see Sunday’s big game playing out. The game will be tight for almost the entire first quarter, with both defenses playing well earlier on. The Steelers will strike first with a touchdown, then add a field goal to go up 10-0 midway through the second quarter. But thanks to the “don’t prevent the score” defense that every team seems to use right before halftime, Pittsburgh gives up a score right before Bruce Springsteen starts warming up, which in turn gives the Cardinals hope.

Your halftime score: an uneventful 10-7 Pittsburgh lead.

But the second half is where the action starts to heat up. All of a sudden the Steelers begin drumming up pressure and Kurt Warner has zero time to throw. Pittsburgh’s front seven starts suffocating Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower, all the while moving the pocket back so Warner can’t step up and deliver passes in a timely manner.

This leads to multiple sacks for the Steelers, which they turn into great field position. The Arizona defense, which in the first half had played damn near perfect football, starts to cave. Willie Parker starts finding open running lanes, which opens up the passing game for Ben Roethlisberger, who converts several third down conversions that essentially takes the life out of the Cards’ defense. Pittsburgh strikes twice for touchdowns in the third quarter, taking a 24-7 lead into the fourth.

Early in the fourth, Arizona offensive coordinator Todd Haley takes advantage of an overly aggressive Pittsburgh front seven and the Cardinals start attacking the edges and seams of the Steeler defense. All of a sudden, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breatson start to make plays in the open field and Warner gets into a rhythm. The Cards reach paydirt on a 1-yard James touchdown run and with still 11 minutes to play in the game, ‘Zona is still very much alive at 24-14.

Thanks to the offensive resurgence, the Cardinal defense forces a three and out and with the Pittsburgh defense still tired, Warner hits Fitzgerald on a reverse, pitch-back bomb to get the score within a field goal at 24-21 with seven minutes left to play.

But that’s as close as the Cards get to victory. Thanks to Parker, the Steelers drive into Arizona territory, eating up most of the clock. Big Ben then finds Heath Miller in the back of the end zone on a broken 3rd and 7 play to put Arizona away.

Super Bowl XLIII Final: Steelers 31, Cardinals 21.

Not that it matters because everything I just wrote will happen exactly as I laid it out, but feel free to post your score prediction for the game. Remember, only the people who don’t post a prediction are wrong…and those who predict the losing team to win.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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