By Ian S Palmer
One of the better NFL Week six matchups this weekend will feature the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers as they square off against each other at Heinz Field on Sunday, October 18. The Cardinals enter the game on top of the NFC West with a 4-1 record after pounding the Detroit Lions 42-17 while the Steelers are 3-2 and sit in second place in the AFC North following their 24-20 victory in San Diego against the Chargers. Both the Steelers and Cardinals rebounded last week after losing in week four.
- Pinnacle currently lists Arizona at -3.5 at +102 with Pittsburgh +3.5 at -113 with the over 44.5 points at -104 and the under at -106
The Cardinals bounced back last week after being taken down by their division rivals the St. Louis Rams the week before. Quarterback Carson Palmer led the offense against the Lions with three touchdown passes. However, he only went 11 for 14 for 161 yards in the air. The 35-year-old has now thrown for 13 touchdowns and has been picked off just three times as Arizona leads the league in points per game with 37 per outing. The running game is also in fine form as Chris Johnson carried the ball 11 times for 103 yards last week and is averaging close to 100 yards in his last three games.
Arizona’s defense did a good job against Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford as free safety Rashad Johnson intercepted him twice and cornerback Patrick Peterson picked him off once. The Cardinals now lead the league in interceptions with 11 on the year. Arizona will be hoping to create some turnovers against the Steelers, but Pittsburgh will be touch to breakdown since they’ve turned the ball over only twice this season.
Michael Vick played for the second game in a row last week as regular quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was still nursing an injury and his status is unknown for Sunday’s contest. Vick played a cautious match and didn’t make any mistakes with the fourth quarter being his best. The four-time Pro Bowl choice hit Markus Wheaton with a 72-yard touchdown toss to tie the game at 17 and then carried on with his fine play to help the Steelers earn a come-from-behind victory. Vick ended the game by completing 13 of 26 passes for 2013 yards with a touchdown pass. He was also picked off once.
Pittsburgh also got a good game out of running back Le’Veon Bell as he gained 111 yards on 21 runs. His yard-long touchdown won the game for the Steelers just as the game was about to end. Bell has been working well with Vick over the past couple of games and the club hopes he can keep it up when Roethlisberger is able to return to the lineup.
The Steelers’ secondary will need to be in top form to keep Palmer in check and make sure he doesn’t rule the airwaves with his passing skills. Pittsburgh allowed Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers to finish the night with a 73 per cent pass-completion mark against them last Monday. Rivers totaled 365 yards as well as a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Antonio Gates. Also, Pittsburgh’s defense has recorded just four takeaways so far this campaign. The Steelers have beaten Arizona four out of their last five meetings and the total has been over in all four wins.
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