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Friday, December 12, 2014

Who I like, Atlanta version

First things first, I do not expect Julio Jones to play for the Falcons in this game, not that he won't want to.

But Atlanta's path to the playoffs is a simple one. If the Falcons win their final two games, they will be the NFC South champions.

If they beat the Steelers and lose the following week at New Orleans, they likely won't.

Because of that, I expect the Atlanta coaching staff to sit Jones.

That certainly helps the Steelers, but the Falcons have enough other dangerous offensive players that they can beat Pittsburgh.

But I don't expect that to happen (I know, I wrote here Sunday night that I wouldn't pick the Steelers again this season, but I have to follow my gut).

Atlanta's defense is, well, horrible. The Falcons are the only defense in the NFL allowing more than 400 yards per game. It's only saving grace is that it does force some turnovers - 24 this season.

But if the Steelers take care of the football, they'll be fine.

While Atlanta's offense is explosive, the Steelers' has been better this season. And Pittsburgh's defense, for all of its flaws, is better than Atlanta's as well.

Yes, the Steelers have stubbed their collective toe a few times this season - I don't want to hear about past losses against poor teams. Anything that happened before this season is ancient history.

But the Jets had a defense that could challenge the Steelers. And New Orleans had a future Hall of Fame quarterback and an emerging running game.

Only the Tampa Bay loss is completely inexcusable. And had the Steelers worked things a little differently in the fourth quarter, they win that game.

Matt Ryan is not Drew Brees. He's a good but not a great quarterback - one that's a lot closer to Andy Dalton than he is Tom Brady.

And the Falcons don't have a running game to compliment Ryan as the Saints did with Brees.

The Steelers should score plenty in this game - Vegas agrees, the over-under in this game is 56 1/2 - and so should the Falcons.

But I like the Steelers, whop are favored by 1 1/2 points, to pull out a 41-34 win.


LexingtonLegend said...

kiss of death dale

Dale Lolley said...

All joking aside, I've been right more than wrong about them this season.

Anonymous Brian said...

I'm 8-5 this season with my picks, and have also done poorly in the games against bad teams. Hmm. They should let me play, I was great in touch sandlot in 1983 or so.

Falcons - 37 Steelers - 31 OT

Fourth straight game v. Falcons in overtime. Remember Hines's one-shoe outrunning of DeAngelo Hall in the last one?

But then they win the next two, get wild card at 10-6.

Anonymous said...

The fact this Pittsburgh Steelers football team has stuggled with bad football teams,especially on road football games, cannot be overlooked. But I have a feeling in this football game the Steelers will get a pass rush on Ryan to disrupt the football passing game. If your football team's secondary cannot stop football teams that like to throw the football the next best thing is to get pressure on the QB and force him to throw bad footballs. I look for the Steelers to run the football and kill clock, thus keeping Atlanta's offense off the football field. As long as Pittsburgh doesn't turn the football over I see them winning this National Football League football game 27-21

Anonymous Brian said...

The last one in Atlanta, I mean...

Anonymous said...

Award for using the word football the most in a single paragraph goes to this guy. ^^^^

Anonymous said...

That was my imitation of coaches,broadcasters and talking heads who annoy me by constantly reminding us what sport we are watching. Try the Phil Simms drinking game. Have a sip every time he says football. You'll be plastered by the second quarter.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. I was hoping it was something like that. Next try working "meow" into all of your conversations.

InDaleWeTrust said...

Seriously. "Defenses wins championships"....Is there a superbowl in this team?

Anonymous said...

Here's my impersonation of Phil Simms:

"Seattle is winning this football game. Why? Because to this point they have scored more points than St Louis. Why? Because more of their drives have resulted in scores that St Louis. Why? Because St Louis has turned the ball over and punted more than Seattle? Why? Because Seattle has been better at being efficient and possessing the ball. Why? Because when they have the ball they score more often than St Louis and don't turn the ball over as often. I say that and Seattle just fumbled. Yep, replay clearly shows ball is out before his knee is down.

<"After further review, the runner was down by contact prior to losing control. Seattle maintains possesion.">

Good call. That's the right decision.

Steve-O said...

Should we expect to see more of Ryan Shazier or is he still easing his way back?

mv7267 said...

It will come down to which defense quits first. Atl is a lot like Cinci, they can score bunches in a hurry. But they can/will give up more. The Steelers need to score TDs every first half possession & the defense has to force 2 punts and get one TO. The Falcons will fold up shop much like the Bengals did.

Simple formula. be better than they are at their style of play. Then you choke the will out of them in the 2nd half.

38-13 Steelers

Anonymous said...

The Steelers have collapsed and blown chances to get to the playoffs for what, two years in a row? I don't see why fans should expect anything different this year.

Dale Lolley said...

Two years ago they were 6-3 and Roethlisberger got hurt. Clearly wasn't the same when he came back. But yes, technically, they collapsed, finishing 2-5.

Last season was hardly a collapse. Started 0-4, 2-6, finished 8-8. They had over 20 new faces on that team.

As for Shazier, they're not going to just give him the spot back now. The other guys are playing pretty well and he missed a lot of time. He'll ease in.

Anonymous said...

Roethlisberger hasn't always brought his A game against bad opponents. Conditions are just too favorable (and the game is too big), for that to happen again. I think he executes and they win convincingly.

The defense might be coming together a bit too. I was pretty impressed last week. Some early scoring would've made their job easier, but they held these in check well.

Z in Tempe

DEL jzc said...

Every time you think you turn the corner with this team and feel some optimism, they pull the rug out from under the fan base.

Notice all the optimism again? Lots of Steelers picks on a 50-50 game.

This team fails to make any sense. If Roethlisberger gets super hot for the rest of the year, I could see a Super Bowl appearance. But I could just as easily see them lay an egg this weekend and even possibly lose out.

They are an enigma.

Anonymous Brian said...

Ben's play at the end of 2012 was because of his injury v. the Chiefs?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the idea that Ben doesn't try against bad opponents. It's the only explanation for the offense just bottoming out against bad defenses but play lights out against good teams. He thinks he can just show up and be "Big Ben". That worked when we had a top 5 defense and even average offensive production could save us. Nowadays that doens't work anymore.

Unknown said...

All I know is, they better be prepared for the hurry up offense. Atlanta is going to run it until we show that we can defend it.

Dale Lolley said...

He doesn't try? I would strongly disagree with that.

And yes, his play at the end of 2012 was because of the injury.

Anonymous said...

I mean his practice and preparation likely isn't the same for bad teams. It's pretty clear Ben will do anything to win during the game.

Anonymous Brian said...

I don't see how those two interceptions in the Bengals game had anything to do with the injury.

And there were stretches (garbage time v. San Diego, most of the Dallas game, 3 TDS / 0 ints v. Browns) where he threw it really well. So inconsistent, which is not unusual.

What about the beginning of 2013? He was healed by then. (Although one of my favorite Ben games was vs. Minnesota in London. Getting killed, so tough, played incredible given the circumstances, IMO, almost pulled it off at the end, too...)

I'm surprised because you're not reluctant to criticize his play when he's off.

Patrick said...

Steelers 33-23, just enough to cover my over bet