Steelers vs. Cardinals: Five questions with Raising Zona


The Steelers return to Heinz Field from their home game out in San Diego on Monday night to face their former offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, and the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are coming off of destroying the Detroit Lions and are having a prolific offensive season so far.

Throughout the season Still Curtain will be taking you inside to get the dirt on the opposing team through the FanSided network. We’ll be interviewing the opposing teams’ site to get you the inside info on the opposition.

This week we have Scott Allen, editor of Raising Zona, FanSided’s Arizona Cardinals-themed site. Scott gives us the info on Carson Palmer’s shelf life and a prediction for the game with score.

Carson Palmer, at 35, seems to be on fire. How much does he have left in the tank and what’s the succession plan at quarterback in Arizona?

"Plenty left in the tank and he’s proving it.  People aren’t discussing the end of Tom Brady‘s career and he’s 38.  I think people believe since you are prone to get hurt, you are old in the NFL.  Yes, he’s had a few injuries but right now he is healthy and arguably playing the best football of his career.   I’m sure general manager Steve Keim has some plan in mind for the future but for this year and next, it’s Palmer.  The plan has not been shared.  Some thought it could have been Logan Thomas but he was really going to be a project.  The Cardinals tried the project thing and it didn’t work out so well.  I expect a QB to be drafted in next year’s draft.  Matt Barkley could also be the future but we are quickly approaching a deadline after week six if the Cards still have him on the roster, they trade a 7th-round pick to Philadelphia.  I think they are willing to part with the pick to see what Barkley has to offer down the road."

 Bruce Arians spent eight years with the Pittsburgh Steelers first as a wide receivers coach and then as offensive coordinator. Since his departure he’s won AP NFL Coach of the Year twice and the Steelers have changed offensive and defensive systems. Who has the advantage on knowing how the other side operates?

"I say it’s even.  Both sides know each other pretty well.  Also don’t forget Arizona is basically Pittsburgh West.  This year’s former Steeler to hit the roster is linebacker LaMarr Woodley.  It’s been several years now since Arians has been in Pittsburgh.  I really can’t see much of an advantage for either side."

 How has Chris Johnson been able to revitalize his career like he has so far this season with the Cardinals?

"It was easy.  He was told he would have a chance to get a lot of playing time.  He wanted to end up somewhere that would give him the chance to play a lot.  Arizona knew Andre Ellington was susceptible to injury and he proved that in week one and missed three games.  CJ already has two 100-yard rushing games.  The Cardinals had one as a team all of 2014.  Even if Ellington had stayed healthy, CJ is a proven veteran who carried the ball at a 4.4 yard-per-carry average last season.  Right now he is averaging 5.1 yards-per-game."

Pittsburghers can’t help but have love for Larry Fitzgerald, a product of the University of Pittsburgh. Who will end up with the better overall career at wide receiver, Fitzgerald or Antonio Brown?

"Very tough question.  No doubt Brown has the talent to be a future Hall of Famer much like Fitz has.  I think it will depend on what numbers you want to look at to compare.  If you look at overall receptions, you might say Fitz.  Yards?  Toss up.  Touchdowns, Brown might win that battle, although Fitz currently leads NFL receivers with six touchdowns this season.  I’m going to say the jury is still out on this one but there is no doubt the contributions Fitz has made to the franchise and the community."

What is your prediction for the game with score?

"Three times the Cardinals have scored more than 40 points this season.  I don’t think the Steelers defense will allow that much.  I keep waiting for the Cardinals to come back down to Earth and they sort of did a couple of weeks ago but that loss was more their mistakes than the Rams being the better team.  Steelers have looked better with Mike Vick than I expected.  It will be close in my opinion. Arizona 30 Pittsburgh 23."

There you have it, Steeler Nation. What would you have asked differently about the Steelers and Cardinals matchup?

Be sure to check out Raising Zona for my answers to Scott’s questions.

Here we go Steelers! Here we go!

Next: Steelers vs Cardinals: Coordinators Comments

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