As Super Bowl rematches go, this one isn’t quite so super.
The Steelers edged the Cardinals 27-23 in 2009 in one of the more memorable NFL championships, with Santonio Holmes’ tightrope-walking act in the back corner of the end zone giving Pittsburgh the winning score and its record sixth Super Bowl crown. That catch ended Arizona’s stunning and sensational run to its first shot at a league title since 1948 _ when the Cardinals lived in Chicago and were blanked 7-0 by Philadelphia in the championship game.
Neither team has resembled a threat for the crown thus far. Although Pittsburgh is 4-2, it hasn’t been particularly impressive on either side of the ball. Yes, the Steelers are first in overall defense and against the pass, but they have been sloppy and injury prone on D despite those yardage rankings.
The offense has scored 29 points fewer than division rival Baltimore, and the Ravens have played one fewer game.
Still, Pittsburgh is a 3 1/2 point favorite at Arizona, which is 1-4, has 11 giveaways and comes off a bye that followed a distressing 34-10 flop against previously winless Minnesota.
Making the Steelers a favorite on the road is dangerous business. They are 1-2 away from Heinz Field, and the victory was a close one at weakling Indianapolis.
“It’s very obvious we’ve performed to a winning level at home, we haven’t done so on the road,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ve got to perform better on the road than we have.”
Arizona has lost four straight overall since an opening win against Carolina. Here comes No. 5.
Baltimore (minus 7 1/2) at Jacksonville, Monday night
Ravens have looked like the AFC’s best team so far. Jacksonville isn’t its worst, but is close to the bottom.
BEST BET: RAVENS, 23-6
Denver (plus 3) at Miami