Cardinals' Preseason Preview

One of the most anticipated games of the preseason is the Super Bowl rematch between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. After a disappointing and what some would call controversial loss to the Steelers, the Cardinals are looking to prove they belong amongst the league's best once again. Josh Sarkisian takes an early look at Thursday's matchup.

One of the biggest storylines from last year's Super Bowl was the Arizona Cardinals resurgence in the second half. Arizona scored 16 of their 23 points in the fourth quarter. If the Cardinals have any hope of avenging last year's loss, albeit in the preseason, they are going to need to score earlier to keep the pressure on the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, scoring against the Steelers' defense is never easy.

Pittsburgh's defense is coming off arguably one of the most dominating seasons in recent years. Big names like Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, and LaMarr Woodley return for the Steelers' defensive unit this year. But let's not forget about Pittsburgh's more than capable offense.

QB Ben Roethlisberger comes in off a 2008 season where he produced a modest 17 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 80.1. Roethlisberger did managed to rack up over 3,300 yards passing thanks in large part to wide receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes. The Cardinals' defense will need to work hard to contain Roethlisberger, much like they did last February.

Arizona's defense should match up well with the Steelers' skill players. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, LB Karlos Dansby, and FS Antrel Rolle have their work cut out for them, but expect them to perform well as they are all healthy and ready to play. The Cardinals' offense will have a much more ominous task.

In their previous game, the Steelers controlled Arizona's explosive offensive attack for three quarters. QB Kurt Warner and his three-headed monster of a wide receiving unit – Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston – could be hard pressed to reach the endzone. RB Tim Hightower will attempt to be productive on the ground, forcing the Steelers to respect the Cardinals' running game. If that scenario takes place, look for it to open up the passing game for Warner or backups Matt Leinart and Brian St. Pierre.

The stage is set for an intriguing preseason matchup between last year's Super Bowl representatives. No matter the outcome, several questions will be answered and more questions will arise following Thursday's preseason opener.

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