Any Given Sunday: Steelers Over Cardinals
by Andrew Healy
Will the real Arizona Cardinals please stand up? For two-thirds of the season, we have seen the juggernaut Cardinals. Arizona has four of the 13 performances this season where a team had a single-game DVOA over 60.0%. Cincinnati has two such dominant wins; nobody else has more than one. As weird as it is to think of the Bengals dominating teams, it's even more out of character for the Cardinals. From the year they moved to Phoenix in 1988 through 2014, the Winter Olympics happened more often than Arizona blowout wins. The Cardinals won a total of six games by 25 points or more during those 27 seasons. Through Week 6 this year, the Cardinals already have three such victories.
But for the second time this season, the Cardinals followed a blowout win with a loss, continuing a long pattern for the franchise. After Sunday's loss, the Arizona Cardinals are a remarkable 1-7 following wins by 25 points or more since 1988. More relevant for the present edition of the team, Bruce Arians' Cardinals fell to 1-3 in the games following scoreboard blowouts.
We know from previous history that the Cardinals' very strong performance across four blowout wins and two relatively close losses matters the most for predicting the rest of the season. But Carson Palmer made some throws that might worry a Cardinals fan going forward. We'll get to that and to the surprisingly promising situation in Pittsburgh sans Roethlisberger after breaking down the advanced stats from Sunday.
By the Numbers
Going into the game, the Cardinals narrowly trailed the Patriots for the top spot in our DVOA rankings. With the Steelers not as good as their DVOA given that they were starting Michael Vick at quarterback, ever-savvy bettors backed the Cardinals, pushing the line up a couple points to 5.5 before kickoff.
|PIT DVOA||ARI DVOA||Score||Line||PIT Pre-game
|18.5 (5th)||51.5% (2nd)||25-13||PIT +5.5||34.1%|
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