Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (5-8 SU, 6-7 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date and Time: Sunday, December 14, 1:00pm EST
Where: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PIT -2.5/ATL +2.5
Over/Under Total: 55
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This Sunday in the Georgia Dome, the Pittsburgh Steelers come in to take on the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons. The Steelers come in at 8-5 overall, and the Falcons are 5-8, but we could very well see both of these teams playing in the post season. If the NFL season ended today, the Falcons would be hosting the Seattle Seahawks in the Dome, while the Pittsburgh Steelers would travel as the AFC’s top wild card team. Like many people say, it does not matter how you get into the postseason, just get there, and that is what Atlanta is trying to do. Both teams need to win this game, so I am sure it will be very competitive to the end.
The Steelers enter the Georgia Dome as the 2.5 point favorite over the Falcons, and the total points are set at 55 combined. Both teams have been up and down all season. The Falcons and Steelers both are 6-7 against the spread this season, and you never know which team will show up, especially in regards to the Steelers. Right now, 64% of the action is on the Steelers, but I could see this game being close to the very end.
It is insane to think, but we could quite possibly see a 6-10 team not only make the NFC playoffs, but host a home game. The Atlanta Falcons sit atop the NFC South with a 5-8 record, and it is mathematically possible to win the division by winning just one more game. I am not saying that will happen, but just the fact they still control their own destiny at 5-8 is puzzling. I am calling this now…if the Falcons beat the Steelers, it is over. The Dirty Birds will win the division. If they lose, it will come down to their match up with the Saints in New Orleans in a couple of weeks. Although the Falcons have a bad record, they are just a few plays away from having already clinched the south. They have two losses on last second field goals and in both of those games, they led until the kick was made. Both of those games are 100% on the coaching and bad clock management. That is why many of the Falcon fans are calling for the head of coach Mike Smith, and from what I hear, his fate is pretty much sealed and will not return for 2015, unless of course the Falcons somehow, someway, not only make the playoffs, but make a deep run. I do not see it happening. With that said, the Atlanta offense is finally clicking again. Matt Ryan just this past Monday night, passed for over 370 yards and four touchdowns, but he had a very costly pick in the first half that pretty much sealed their fate against the Packers. The downfall this season for the Falcons has been their defense. Atlanta ranks dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed, and they are not even in the top 20 in rushing yards allowed either. Matt Ryan and the offense knows that they must outscore every opponent, and teams with that pressure never win titles. In order to win this game over Pittsburgh, Atlanta must somehow slow down Big Ben and La’Veon Bell. If they let the Steelers get in the 30s, Atlanta will not win…they just wont.
The Pittsburgh Steelers need this win just as bad as Atlanta does. Both teams must win down the stretch in order to make this postseason. Pittsburgh has been a roller coaster of emotion for their fans all year. Pittsburgh always seems to show up against the “good” teams, but three of their five losses have come against teams with losing records. We keep talking bad about the NFC South, but the Steelers are 1-2 vs that division, and if they lose to Atlanta they will finish 1-3 against the worst division in football. The key to winning and covering this spread for Pittsburgh is to not make mistakes. We all know the Falcons defense is bad, so they cannot let Atlanta get easy turnovers. The Falcons will score points, but Pittsburgh cannot come in and lay an egg offensively.
This is one of the toughest games to predict. In years past, Atlanta has been tough to beat at home, but since the end of the 2012 season, they have not been too stellar at home or on the road. Not only can I not trust Atlanta, but I really do not like the Steelers either. I am going on a limb here. I think Falcons offense is back. I like Atlanta to sneak away with a 27-23 win over the Steelers. Call me crazy, but I feel it.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE ATLANTA FALCONS +2.5