After a rout of the Lions at Detroit, Bruce Arians took his Cardinals to a resort in West Virginia rather than head back to Arizona. With another road game in the East on Sunday at Pittsburgh, the travel itinerary seemed to make plenty of sense.
And with the Steelers coming off a gut-wrenching Monday nighter at San Diego that they won on the final play, well, Arians' bunch might be the more-rested squad.
Arians spent eight seasons in Pittsburgh, mostly as offensive coordinator, winning two Super Bowls before being exiled. He since has won two NFL Coach of the Year awards, in 2012 as an interim in Indianapolis while Chuck Pagano fought leukemia, and last season with the Cardinals. While he insists returning to the Steel City is no big deal and that he has done it before, others know better.
"Knowing him and how prepared that he is," Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown said, "I'm sure he's going to want to come in here and put on a show, being how many people counted him out and wanted him out of here."
He has the team to do it, too. Arizona (4-1) has scored a league-best 190 points and allowed 90; the 100-point differential is by far tops in the NFL.
The Steelers also have a potent offense — when Ben Roethlisberger, not Mike Vick, is at quarterback. He returned from a left knee injury to practice this week on a limited basis and is not likely to go Sunday.
"It's hard to watch when you really want to be out there," Roethlisberger said. "I'm just trying to be the best on-the-sideline guy I can be. I don't want to be overbearing because Mike's been doing this for a long time and he's a real pro. I'm just here to help him in any way I can."