Wednesday, October 19, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals (Week 7, 2011-12)


The Arizona Cardinals have numerous connections with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also need a win if they have any chance of competing in the NFC West. Will the Cardinals give the Steelers a small piece of payback after that Super Bowl?

The early spread on this game is Steelers (-3.5). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for in pick ’em leagues. All lines from Y! Sports and injury reports from CBS Sports as of October 19, 2011. Always update yourselves with injury lines because they’ll change throughout the week.

Current Personal Picks Record (Straights Only)
Arizona Cardinals 5-0
Pittsburgh Steelers 3-3

Key Injuries
S Kerry Rhodes (Out), G Daryn Colledge, T Brandon Keith, TE Todd Heap, WR Mike Wallace, NT Chris Hoke, NT Casey Hampton, DE Aaron Smith, C Doug Legursky, LB James Harrison (Out)

Keys to the Game
  • How much will injuries hurt the Steelers?
  • Can the Steelers contain Beanie Wells?
  • The Cardinals have had two weeks of preparation and rest for this contest
  • Which team can create turnovers?
  • Can the Steelers contain Larry Fitzgerald?
  • Can the Cardinals contain Mike Wallace? Will he be available?
  • Third-down offense

Summary
The Steelers are the better team. However, they just don’t seem to be playing well unless they have a chip on their shoulder. They’ve responded well after losses. They haven’t responded well against wins. They almost blew games against the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Steelers’ defense is susceptible in a few areas. Larry Fitzgerald is possibly the NFL’s best receiver. Their run defense has also been shredded on a couple occasions this season. They have a large quantity of injuries in their front seven.

I still have too many concerns to go with the Cardinals. The Steelers have a 49% to 34% advantage on third-down conversions. I’m also concerned over the Cardinals’ ability to contain Mike Wallace. They’ve allowed the third-most plays of 20+ yards.

Watch the injury report for the Steelers. Wallace and their injured defensive linemen are key. Troy Polamalu should play.

This is how I’m making the pick: The Cardinals have only held one opponent to fewer than 20 points. The Steelers have only allowed one opponent more than 20 points this season. I’ll take the points but I’m taking the Steelers straight.

Final Predictions:
Against the Spread: Arizona Cardinals (+3.5)
Straight: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Arizona Cardinals 21

Stat sources:

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