Game Overview ::
By papy324 >>
- This game has a wide range of outcomes.
- The primary offensive pieces in both passing games are underpriced.
- The Falcons run the ball more than any team in the league.
- This game is likely to have too low ownership for its potential upside.
How Pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::
The 4-7 Steelers come into Week 13 off a narrow home win against the Colts. Down three games in their division and three games from the last AFC wildcard spot, the Steelers are only playing for the silliest stat in football, “Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season.” Tomlin has always been one of the league’s worst coaches, propped up by the Steelers laundry list of Hall-of-Fame coordinators (Tomlin has never called plays on either side of the ball), the best GM in football (recently retired Kevin Colbert), and extremely talented rosters (check out the Steelers draft classes the past 20 years) during his tenure. While most coaches come into a poor situation (the previous coach was fired), Tomlin inherited a team with a young Hall-of-Fame QB and an elite defense from a retiring Bill Cowher who was one year removed from winning the Superbowl. Going 8-8 with immense talent shouldn’t be considered a victory (coaches should be judged by how they perform against their team’s Vegas win total), but “never had a losing season” means a lot to Tomlin and he’s going to have the Steelers playing hard to finish the season.
The Steelers play somewhat quickly (11th overall in pace) but would like to play slower (16th situation neutral pace) and have been frequently forced to speed up later in games when they are chasing points (8th in second half pace). The Steelers pace doesn’t tell us much about their offense since they are essentially middle of the road in most situations, with the caveat that they will run more no-huddle if they are losing late in a game.
The Falcons have been pasted through the air (29th in DVOA) and demolished on the ground (25th in DVOA). As noted in prior Falcons Edge writeups, defense coordinator Dean Pees runs one of the most complicated defenses in football that often relies on few down linemen. Pees’ system has created a weakness in stopping the run due to the scheme, and a weakness in stopping the pass due to personnel. The Steelers O-line hasn’t been good overall (23rd ranked by PFF) but they have been strong pass blockers (8th in pass blocking efficiency) and they are facing a Falcons team that generates almost no rush (2nd lowest pressure rate), which means Kenny Pickett should have a clean pocket. Unfortunately, the Steelers offense is being run by Matt Canada who might be more inept than Tomlin. Their WR route trees consist of curl routes, go routes, and slants. Irrational coaches are harder to predict, and even though it makes sense for the Steelers to come out passing, it’s likely they try and stay balanced unless forced to be more aggressive.
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