Familiarity breeds content, and no two teams hate each other as much as these two AFC Northern Division Rivals. Both times these two played each other in the regular season, the Steelers won close nail bitters, winning in overtime 23-20 on September 29th, and then winning 13-9 on a controversial touchdown with one minute left in Baltimore on December 14th. Expect this game to be just as close as a trip to Super Bowl XLIII is on the line. There first meeting was marred by allegations of a player bounty for hitting the Steelers Hines Ward, and that will set the tone for the AFC Championship Game, because these two ferocious defenses love to hit, and fans of hard nosed football should be in for a treat. Don’t expect much scoring and don’t expect the Steelers to cover their six point spread as they are too closely matched for any team to blow the other one out. In the end like the other two games the Steelers will find a way to win by a field goal, as they are used to winning tight close games in the fourth quarter.
In the history of the NFL, no team has symbolized ineptitude quite like the Cardinals. Dating back to their days in Chicago and St. Louis the Cardinals, and heading into this postseason, had won just two postseason games, and had not hosted a playoff game since 1947. In nearly 90 years the Cardinals have won just two NFL Championships, with their one in 1925 prior to the modern era being disputed. The other one in 1947 came at the expense of the Philadelphia Eagles whom they also met during a blizzard in the 1948 Championship Game won by the Eagles. The Cardinals were the only team other then the Houston Texans, born of expansion in 2002 that had not played in a Conference Championship during the Super Bowl era. In between the Cardinals have collected losing season after losing season, they have not had a ten win regular season since 1976, and have been to the playoffs a total of seven times including this year. Any way you slice it the Cardinals have never been good, and now they stand one win from the Super Bowl with a game at home. However, the team in their way is the hottest team in the NFL, as the Eagles have lost just once since Donovan McNabb was benched in the second half of a 36-7 loss to the Ravens on November 23rd. Four days later on Thanksgiving they hammered the Cardinals 48-20. The game won’t a blowout this time, but the Eagles overall are a better team, as the Cardinals shocking run to the NFC Championship will end with a loss.