If the Arizona Cardinals want to win tomorrow’s game, play-calling on offense and in-game management are musts. But the defense must also hold up their end of the deal against a quarterback who has barely thrown all over any secondary this season.
For the Cards, this should be a sigh of relief, as they dramatically need a break after their secondary has given up 250 or more passing yards on four different occasions, or 33 percent of the time, in 12 games. However, the last time they faced a pair of pedestrian passers, which occurred in Week 10, they allowed just 70 passing yards.
Enter Kenny Pickett, who, while coming off a great game statistically last week, has not looked like the successor to Ben Roethlisberger that the Steelers were hoping he would be. And he has been below-average when the opposing pass rush has gotten to him.
Arizona Cardinals EDGE rushers can impact the Week 13 matchup
So far in 2023, opponents have sacked Pickett three or more times in four of the Steelers 11 games. In those four games combined, the Steelers scored just 40 points. Their opponents have combined for 83 points, or more than double what the Steelers scored in those games.
This isn’t to say the Cardinals will beat Pittsburgh by three scores if they sack Pickett at least three times. But it implies that they may hold Pittsburgh to 17 points or less, and it will dramatically increase the team’s chances of stunning the Steelers on their home field.
Pittsburgh is 1-3 in those aforementioned games, so if Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis have a sound game plan in mind tomorrow, it should involve finding ways to bring down Pickett. This will help keep the Steelers offense in check, and it may also set the stage for Kyler Murray and Company with manageable situations when they have the ball.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)