Super Bowl picks: Our experts weigh in

Super Bowl experts' picks

Updated: February 1, 2009, 4:32 PM ET
ESPN.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- Can the Arizona Cardinals pull off the upset and complete another unlikely Super Bowl title run, as the New York Giants did last season? Or will the Pittsburgh Steelers' top-ranked defense lead them to an unprecedented sixth Super Bowl crown?

How do our experts see it? The Steelers are the favorites, but it's certainly far from unanimous. The only thing we know for sure is that everyone has an opinion on the game.

John Clayton: Steelers, 24-17

The premise that defense wins championships doesn't necessarily apply in a time when the past two Super Bowl winners didn't rank in the top 10 in scoring defense and when 21 defensive coordinators have been changed after the highest-scoring season since 1965.

What's historically true is great defenses win championships and this is a great Steelers defense -- particularly in stopping the pass. And the Cardinals' offense is dominated by the pass.

Jeffri Chadiha: Steelers, 31-23

The Steelers' defense is strong enough to control Arizona's vaunted passing attack. Pittsburgh will pressure Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, contain receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and create some big plays with its offense.

Mike Sando: Cardinals, 20-14

I see why the Steelers are favored, but how often does an NFC West blogger get a chance to pick the Cardinals to win it all? I'm not waiting 'til next time. Arizona wins if its defense rises to the occasion.

James Walker: Steelers, 21-17

Fitzgerald will need another out-of-this-world performance for Arizona to have a chance. "Fitz" will be good -- but not great -- against Pittsburgh's air-tight defense, and that won't be enough.

Pat Yasinskas: Steelers, 27-24

It's hard to pick against the Cardinals because they've played like destiny's team throughout the playoffs and Fitzgerald is in the kind of zone we haven't seen from any athlete since Carl Yastrzemski in the final few weeks of the Boston Red Sox's 1967 Impossible Dream season. But dreams are dreams and defense wins championships.

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