The Arizona Cardinals have long been referred to as 'Pittsburgh West'. Hard not to agree with the label considering the incredible number of coaches and players who spent time in the steel city and now call the desert home. The Cardinals will be traveling to Pittsburgh in 2015 which will be a reunion of sorts for Bruce Arians and company as they face the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.
2014: 11-5 (2nd place NFC West), 3-3 within the NFC West, 8-4 within the NFC
2014 vs. the Steelers: Did not play
Pending Free Agents: LB John Abraham, LB Sam Acho, LB Marcus Benard, CB Antonio Cromartie, RB Jonathan Dwyer, G Paul Fanaika, TE Robert Housler, DT Tommy Kelly, LS Mike Leach, DT Dan Williams.
2015 NFL Draft: 24th selection
The Arizona Cardinals have one solid head coach, and it just turns out to be the same offensive coordinator the Steelers' fired, excuse me, forced to retire in 2011. Bruce Arians has done a tremendous job with the Cardinals and in more ways than one. His work in 2014 with multiple quarterbacks after starter Carson Palmer was lost for the season with a knee injury was anything short of miraculous. Nonetheless, the Cardinals ended their season 2nd in the NFC West and lost in the NFC Wild Card round to the Carolina Panthers.
The goal for the Cardinals as they enter the 2015 offseason are thoughts of winning the NFC West and advancing beyond the Wild Card round in the NFC playoffs. Those hopes can be pinned solely on the health of Palmer and the rejuvenation of WR Larry Fitzgerald who just received a hefty new contract which will likely keep him in the desert till his time to retire.
The Cardinals and Steelers have quite the history. Whether it is the players and/or coaches who used to be on the opposite sideline, or the memories of Super Bowl 43 where the two teams faced off on the biggest stage and the Steelers won their 6th Lombardi trophy.
How this game shapes up in 2015 is anyone's guess. The Steelers' offense is primed to take the next step forward in their evolution, while the defense hopes to tighten up some loose screws and become a unit capable of winning games when the offense isn't up to par.
The Cardinals also possess a solid offense and a defense which has shown signs of brilliance on the back end. The Steelers and Cardinals will be a game very evenly matched and could come down to who makes the big play at the right time. Both teams possess the play makers to achieve that goal, but on paper this game certainly seems like a toss up, even with it being played at Heinz Field.