Cardinals keys to victory: 1. BOTHER BIG BEN:They need to put pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. They did a nice job of this during their near-miraculous comeback vs. the Ravens last week.
Cardinals keys to victory
1. BOTHER BIG BEN: They need to put pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. They did a nice job of this during their near-miraculous comeback vs. the Ravens last week.
2. KEEP THE EDGE: Running back Edgerrin James needs to stay close to his 4.6-yard average or else the Steelers can concentrate on the Cardinals’ potentially explosive passing game. The health of Anquan Boldin, who has a sore hip, is a concern.
3. tIME FOR SOME TURNOVERS: They need to come up with some turnovers. They’ve only forced three so far this season. That’s not enough.
Doubtful: WR Anquan Boldin (hip), T Levi Brown (ankle).
Probable: DT Alan Branch (hand), C Al Johnson (knee).
Out: WR Hines Ward (knee).
Doubtful: CB Ricardo Colclough (back), TE Matt Spaeth (quadriceps). Probable: T Trai Essex (ankle), C Sean Mahan (knee).
The Steelers want to establish themselves as the team to challenge the Patriots in the AFC. The Cardinals want to establish themselves as a playoff contender. A 2-2 start would be outstanding, considering the first four games make up the toughest part of their schedule.
When the cardinals have the ball
They may try to pass more than usual, as in their game last week vs. the Ravens, because the Steelers are so tough against the run. The Steelers’ pass defense, like that of the Ravens, isn’t as strong. Kurt Warner’s experience figures to be invaluable; Matt Leinart needs a decent game to quiet a budding QB controversy.
Key matchup: The Cardinals offensive line vs. the Steelers front seven: The Cardinals need a push against the No. 2-ranked defense or they’ll be suffocated. In particular, look for center Lyle Sendlein vs. nose tackle Chris Hoke and whoever plays right tackle (Levi Brown or Elton Brown) vs. Nick Eason.
When the steelers have the ball
The focus of their offense is Willie Parker, the NFL’s leading rusher. He has the speed to go outside and the power to mix it up in the middle. With defenses focusing on him QB Ben Roethlisberger has been able to bounce back from his poor 2006 season. On Sunday, though, he apparently will be missing star receiver Hines Ward, who is listed as out with a knee injury.
Key matchup: Running back Willie Parker against the Cardinals’ linebacking corps: The Cardinals need to keep Parker within reason. Parker has been over 100 yards in all three games this season, while the Cardinals have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher. Something’s got to give.
Scouting the steelers
Nobody has even played a close game against them. With Roethlisberger playing well this season, their only seeming soft spot might be their defensive backfield.
Kickoff: 1:15 p.m.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale
TV/Announcers: Ch. 5; Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
Radio: KTAR (92.3 FM)
Records: Steelers, 3-0; Cardinals 1-2
Series: Steelers lead all time, 32-22-2, including 14-17-2 on the road.
Line: Steelers by 6
Tickets: Sold out