No time for reasoned analysis again this year, I have too much to accomplish before settling down in front of the big game.
I was initially leaning toward the Cardinals, on the theory that nobody expected them to beat the Steelers, which makes them a mortal lock to do so. On further reflection, however, it seems to me that a large portion of the public does in fact expect the Cardinals to beat the Steelers, probably based upon some version or another of the exact same train of thought; such a state of affairs turns the underdog into the favourite, and the upset into an expected event.
I feel confident, therefore, that this will not happen: Steelers 23, Cardinals 10.
(Also, it seems to me that everyone knows that the Cards can’t run the ball at the best of times, while the Steelers are the best in the league at stopping the ground game. That moves the battle on to well-defined, easily predictable territory – through the air. The Steelers should be able to plan routes to pressure the quarterback and disrupt the Cards’ passing attack, and should have plenty of opportunity to use those schemes, with Arizona frequently facing third-and-long. Lots of short Arizona drives should leave the Steelers with a relatively short field and – injuries to Hines Ward notwithstanding – a chance to build a lead, further enhancing the pressure on the Cardinals to abandon any semblance of a running game. If the Steelers lose, I think special teams play on the part of the Cardinals will have played a huge role in the game – turnovers forced on kick coverage, kicks run back for a score, etc.)
Update: Right result, wrong score, closer than I thought. Ben Roethlisberger did not have a very good game and the Steelers benefited, I thought, from some generous calls by the officials. Exciting game, though.