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NHL Power Rankings: Week 16

Steelers, Cardinals ‘Touch Down’ In Tampa

by: AnthonyP On  Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Total Pro Sports – With both teams settling into their new homes in Tampa, Florida, they will endure a week of media attention and all the festivities that come with a Super Bowl. For many of these players it is the first time they have reached the grandest of stages and for others they have been here and done all this before. If at any time you want to establish a legacy this Sunday would be the ideal time to do it.

We have come up with a list of 5 players that should or could have the biggest impact for their respective football teams. Let us take a look at these guys and remember they are open to deliberation

James Harrison1. James Harrison : An undrafted player out of Kent State, Harrison was recruited by a number of major colleges including, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Nebraska. Until an incident in his senior season of high school led to criminal charges laid against him. Pittsburgh signed him as an undrafted player in 2002 but Harrison did not see much playing time in fact he did not even give 100% on every play. This year he won the Defensive Player of the Year Award and broke the Steelers single season sack mark. Harrison could be the key to applying pressure on Kurt Warner, and if the Cardinals give help to that side of the line it may free up his star bookend LaMarr Woodley.

Troy Polamalu2. Troy Polamalu : He and Ed Reed have redefined the safety position, with his ability to rush the quarterback from just about anywhere on the field he is a weapon in Dick LeBeau’s scheme. He also defends the pass quiet well and is one of the most physical safeties in the game today. He is a big play threat as he showed that last week in his game clinching interception return against the Ravens. At just 27 years old Polamalu could be one of the greatest safties of all time barring injury. This Sunday Dick LeBeau probably has some special schemes in store for Kurt Warner and we can bet it will involve a heavy dose of Troy Polamalu.

3. “Big” Ben Roethlisberger : The under-appreciated quarterback has had one of the greatest starts to a career. Pittsburgh has always been known as a run first team and so the accolades for Ben have been put on hold. In his rookie season he led the Steelers to a 14-1 record (including playoffs) and a 13-0 regular season record. In 2005, he led the Steelers to a Super Bowl and is now back to try and do it all over again. He will face a defense that looked pretty good in the first half of the NFC Championship Game but got too comfortable in the second half. It will depend on the score whether Roethlisberger will be active throwing the ball, but if the Steelers are down he will like always make the big plays for them.

Kurt Warner4. Kurt Warner : The key to the Cardinals success falls in the arm of Kurt Warner he must be able to move the chains and they must be able to convert on third downs against a Steelers defense that was ranked #1 in opposition 3rd down conversions (31%). Warner has Thurstan been the head of the Cardinals offense and has been here twice before but neither time did he face such an intimidating defense. It will be interesting to see what kind of strategy the Arizona has for this game, we feel that the key will be the running game, Arizona must keep the Steelers guessing but this strategy will be indicative of the score, if they fall behind quickly it could be a long night for the Cardinals.

Larry Fitzgerald5. Larry Fitzgerald : What more can be said about this guy, with the recent actions of Anquin Bolden, Fitzgerald has taken over as the team best receiver. He has already accumulated 419 receiving yards in three post season games which already stands as an NFL record. Larry will be the go-to receiver and could really use Anquin Boldin to relieve some of the pressure that will be applied to his side of the field. Fitzgerald will have to be physical especially at the line of scrimmage because these Steelers corners do not sit back and wait to be beaten, they will bump and run and they will make you pay for catching the ball over the middle of the field.




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