Cardinals RB James has fared well vs. Steelers in recent years...

How will the Cardinals cope with the Steelers’ tough run defense on Sunday?

You may hear some suggest that the Cardinals will all but abandon the run and go to a pass-heavy attack, but unless Arizona falls behind by a considerable margin early — think at least two TDs — I think the Cardinals are going to stick with the run. This strategy has worked well for them to this point. They are averaging 111 yards on the ground in the postseason, which reflects the success they have had as well as a general intent to have a more balanced offense.

There’s another reason for the Cardinals to keep running until they absolutely have to stop: RB Edgerrin James has performed well vs. the Steelers in past outings. In fact, James’ 124 yards on 29 carries vs. the Steelers on Nov. 28, 2005 as a member of the Colts is the second-most yards any opponent has rushed for vs. Pittsburgh in the Steelers’ last 91 games (including playoffs). (I omitted Fred Taylor rushing for 147 yards on 25 carries vs. the Steelers last season from my first calculation; my apologies for the mistake.) What’s more, only three backs — James, Jamal Lewis and Taylor — have twice rushed for 75 yards or more vs. Pittsburgh in the last four years. (James also rushed for 56 yards and a TD on 13 carries vs. the Steelers in the divisional-playoff round in the ’05 playoffs. Note that James rushed for 10-47-0 in the first half before the Colts, who were in catch-up mode in the second half, had to go away from the run.)

James racked up 77 yards and a TD on 21 carries in Arizona’s 21-14 win vs. Pittsburgh on Sept. 30, 2007. The yardage total isn’t as important as the number of carries. The Cards stuck with the run on that day, and don’t be surprised if they stick with that strategy in Super Bowl XLIII.