Before I get into the meat of this pick, let me rewind the tape first. The Cardinals, have their doubters, and I can say I was one of them for awhile, but no more. they got here by beating a red-hot Falcon team, that finsihed the season 5-1, and handed them a loss by their largest margin since )ctober 26th. Most dismissed the game, saying the Cards are tough at home. They went on the road and beat a red-hot Carolina team, who finished 8-2 in their last 10, with the only setbacks coming in OT to the top seeded team in the playoffs, and last year’s Super Bowl champ, the New York Giants, and the other to the same Falcon team the Cards beat to open the playoffs. That Carolina loss was on the road in their division, where the home teams closed the season 27-5. The Cards go to Carolina, where they had been 8-0 on the season, and beat them by 20. Let’s not forget also the Cards went to Carolina in October, and lost by just 4. It would be the closest any team would play Carolina at home for the rest of the season, and the most points anyone would score on them at home the rest of the season. This is a Carolina defense that was a stonewall at home all season, allowing just 12.5ppg to all other teams if you exclude the Cardinals, who averaged 28 in the 2 games. The Arizona win was again dismissed as being an off day by Delhomme. Noone gave credit for Arizona scoring 33 against a team that allowed 12.5ppg at home, and held Denver to 10, and New Orleans to 7, and averaged allowing 283 yards per game. The Cards put up the most points, 2nd most yards, and most first downs. Was that an accident? The Carolina offense was scoring 31.7ppg in their last 6 at home, they got 13. Then there is the Eagles defense that had allowed no passing TD’s in their last 6 games. Larry Fitzgerald caught 3 in the first 26 minutes of the game, and for all practical purposes the game was over!. The eagles first 40 plays netted them 169 yards or 4.2 yards per play. WWhen the Cards played with a big lead, their defense softened, as we often have seen from teams with huge leads. Their defense is completely underrated. Michael Turner 18 carries 42 yards, deAngelo Williams 12 carries 63 yards, Michael Westbrook 12 carries 45 yards. That is 3 top backs, that gained 150 yards on 42 carries, 3.6ypc. The Ravens had a depleted secondary, yet Pittsburgh’s offense struggled. Arizona has been getting to the QB ibn the post-season with 8 sacks, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is really coming into his own, and Adrien Wilson is amongst the best safeties in the league. The Pittsburgh defense is very good, but so what. Ask yourself this question? Which defense was playing better in the last 6 games of the season, the Eagles or Steelers? If you need help, the Eagles allowed 0 TD passes their last 6 games, and noone topped 14 on them. The Cards had that mark passed in 27 minutes. The Eagle defense in those last 6 games were against 3 playoff teams, and 2 teams with a winning record, and held them to a total of 65 points. The Steelers defense is good, but look at what happened when they played QB’s with a QB rating in the top of the league like Warner. They faced Manning, #5, and Rivers #1. They threw for 548 yards 6 TD’s and 1 INT. Warner’s rating for the season was #3, and in the playoffs, he has topped all, at 112.1. There is another big ingredient at work here. Ken Wisenhunt, and Russ Grimm both came over to the Cards from the Steelers 2 years ago. This is a huge advantage, because they know the entire Steeler personnel, tendencies, and playbook. Last year as a big underdog, that carried the Cards to an upset win over the Steelers. Teams that have coaches that came over from the team they are playing covered 63% of the 19 meetings this season. When you consider the fact that of the 7 losses 2 were by the Lions, and the Raiders, and 2 more were splits 1 win and 1 loss in division games, all others were 12-3. The Cards had nothing at all to play for more the entire second half of the season, and it makes them look like a team that doesn’t belong here. The fact is, they are and have won, all of their meaningful games. The final nail comes from past post season experiences. Teams that have had the better post season ATS record, have gone 12-1 ATS in the last 13 Superbowls. (AZ 3-0, PITT 2-0). Since 1987-88 teams that needed 3 games in the playoffs to get to the Superbowl are 8-0-1 ATS. These are the teams that have come from nowhere to catch fire in the post season, and the Cardinals are the 2009 Superbowl ATS WINNER!!!