Atlanta (0-1) at Pittsburgh (1-0)
When: Sunday, August 20th 2017
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 4:00 ET | TV: NFL Network
Opening Odds: Pittsburgh -3/42
The defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons will take to the road for the second straight week to battle the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Week 2 preseason matchup on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. The Falcons were losers on the road in Week 1 in Miami 23-20 while the Steelers won a 20-12 decision in New Jersey against the New York Giants. Both teams are expected to play some of their stars, but you won’t be seeing either teams’s top running back. Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman is suffering from a concussion, while Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell is still in a contract holdout.
2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan was a perfect 3-for-3 for 32 yards and a touchdown in last week’s loss in Miami and is expected to have his top target, Julio Jones play on Sunday. Ryan and Jones will look to get on the same page with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Third-year running back Terron Ward stepped in for Freeman last week and produced 48 yards on 11 carries including a touchdown. Matt Simms saw the most action after Ryan went out, completing 10-of-20 for 104 yards, while veteran Matt Schaub was 2-for-2. Dan Quinn is 5-4 (.555) in 3 preseasons and the Falcons are just 2-13-1 all-time against Pittsburgh.
The Steelers will be missing two pieces of their offense on Sunday. With Bell in a contract dispute and Ben Roethlisberger probably sitting this one out, the Steelers will look for depth to improve on coach Mike Tomlin’s 23-20 preseason record. Tomlin started out 19-6 in his first six years in Pittsburgh, but has since gone 4-14 including last week’s victory over the Giants. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant will play against Atlanta after being re-instated by the NFL. The Steelers did not generate much offense last week behind quarterbacks Joshua Dobbs (100 yards) and Bart Houston (24 yards). The star in Week 1 was rookie T.J. Watt, who had 2 sacks and 3 QB hits against the Giants in his debut.
Atlanta will trot out more of their stars for this game including their potent QB/WR combination of Ryan and Jones. The Falcons also seem to have better depth at running back which should carry their offense in the second half. The Steelers have nobody to back up Big Ben and Bell. I’ll take the road favorite here.
Pick: Falcons -3
- Falcons are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 road games.
- Falcons are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games on grass.
- Falcons are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Steelers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
- Steelers are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Over is 16-4-1 in Falcons last 21 games overall.
- Over is 3-1-1 in Falcons last 5 road games.
- Under is 10-4-1 in Falcons last 15 games on grass.
- Under is 7-3 in Steelers last 10 games on grass.
- Under is 16-7 in Steelers last 23 games overall.
- Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings