Marcus Mariota Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Commanders Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons News

Steelers vs. Falcons Preview and Prediction

The Atlanta Falcons (5-7) will be back at home this week to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7) in Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 1 p.m. EST. Both teams have been struggling a bit as of late and will look to get back on track this week. 


The Steelers are coming off a 24-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts and will look to continue this momentum this week.

Rookie-quarterback Kenny Pickett leads the Steelers offense. Predictably, he has struggled this season. Pickett has completed 66% of his passes for 1,600 yards and three touchdowns for a total QBR of 46.1.

As a unit they average 313.2 yards of total offense a game; 199.5 passing yards per game and 113.6 rushing yards per game

Rookie-wide receiver George Pickens has been really good this season in an overall poor-passing offense.. He has hauled in 36 passes for 510 yards and two touchdowns including nearly 200 yards the last three weeks. 

Running back Najee Harris has been disappointing in his second season. He’s rushed for 585 yards and four touchdowns after rushing for 1,200 yards as a rookie.

The offensive line has been fine, according to Football Outsiders they are the 16th ranked offense line in the league. 

The Steelers defense has not been playing up to the standards that we are used to seeing. Prior to last year, the Steelers had four-consecutive seasons in the top-six. Ths season they give up 367.7 yards of total offense a game; 263.7 passing yards per game and 104 rushing yards per game. That ranks them 25th in the NFL.

The Falcons are coming off a game that was “tipped” away from them and will look to remain in the race for the NFC South.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota has led the Falcons offense that has been remarkably efficient. As a unit they average 315.3 yards of total offense a game; 155.3 passing yards per game and 160 rushing yards per game which is 27th in the NFL, but at 22.7-points per game, they are 14th in scoring.

Mariota has completed 62% of his passes for 2,052 yards and 14 touchdowns for a total QBR of 57.2, but his passing numbers have declined as the season progresses.

Rookie-wide receiver Drake London has seen his production dry up in recent weeks. London has 41 receptions for 438 yards and four touchdowns, but he has just 132-yards receiving the last six games (22-yards per game).

The backfield continues to play great; last week Atlanta rushed for 167 yards on 29 attempts. The offensive line has been playing very well, according to Football Outsiders they are the third ranked offensive line

Defensively the Falcons have not been very good. As a unit they give up 383.1 yards of total offense a game; 255.6 passing yards per game and 127.5 rushing yards per game. The Falcons give up the 28th-most yards in the NFL, and they’re 25th in scoring defense. 


Offensively the Falcons should be able to take advantage of this weak Steelers defense. In my opinion, this is the last week Mariota has to prove himself that he should be the quarterback for this team going forward. 

If Mariota isn’t able to perform against this defense, Arthur Smith is going to have a tough decision on his hands. With that being said, this offense should be able to dominate. The backfield is facing a unit that gives up over 100 yards per game, expect to have another exceptional performance from Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, and Caleb Huntley. 

Once again the Falcons will be undermanned in the receiving department.London has been disappointing these past couple weeks. He will see matchups of William Jackson and possibly Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Olamide Zaccheaus has also proven himself to be a viable option, hauling in five passes for 91 yards last week against the Commanders, both team highs.

The offensive line has been playing solid, but this week they face a talent they haven’t had all year in T.J. Watt. Watt can single handedly change this game. The three-time All-Pro missed the first half of the season with injury but has been back the last three weeks as he works his way back to form. 

It’s simple, contain TJ Watt and the Falcons win. 

Defensively the Falcons matchup well with the Steelers. The Steelers do have a talented receiver corps, but the production hasn’t really been there with a rookie quarterback. 

The matchup to look out for is cornerback A.J. Terrell vs. Pickens. The defensive line will most likely be getting rookie Arnold Ebiketie back this week, which will be a huge help. 

The Steelers could be without running back Najee Harris this week. Harris suffered an abdominal injury in the first of last week’s game against the Colts. NFL insider Ian Rapoport said the injury wasn’t significant, but his status for this week is “up in the air”.  Harris hasn’t been very productive, but this would still be a huge blow to the Steelers offense. 

Offensively the Steelers are going to try to throw the ball. With Harris possibly being out, they don’t have many options in the ground game and will have to lean on the receiving core. 

Pickens has been very good this season, but he is facing Terrell. Diontae Johnson and tight end Pat Freiermuth will have to step up if the Steelers want to win this game. 

The offensive line will have their work cut out for them this week facing Grady Jarrett and Arnold Ebiketie. So far this season the Steelers have given up 32 sacks.

Defensively the Steelers will have to focus on stopping the run. With Watt now being back, the chances of them stopping the run go up. They’ll also have to focus on Drake London and Olamide Zaccheaus, who have proven to be dependable targets for Mariota. 

The biggest factor for the Steelers defense this week is how their front seven plays. If the Steelers aren’t able to stop the run, the Falcons will control the clock and not allow Pickett and the offense to see the field.


A battle of two struggling teams, the Falcons could be in for another amazing rushing performance. The defense could be in for their best game of the season as they are facing a very weak and undermanned offense. 

The Steelers will have to lean on their talented receiving corps and the arm of Kenny Pickett. Watt and the defense will have to be on their ‘A’ game or else Atlanta will easily take this game. 

Score Prediction: Steelers 17 Falcons 31

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