Steelers In Danger of Losing Fourth Straight Game at Heinz Field

If you had told me coming into a Week 5 matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers that their combined records would be 2-5-1 SU and 2-6 ATS through eight games, I would’ve asked, “who got injured?” Well, the only thing hurt right now is bettors’ bankrolls when backing these two would-be contenders as each team is falling short of expectations when it comes to betting records and postseason aspirations.

The Steelers opened as 3-point favorites at Heinz Field although home-field advantage may seem hollow considering they’ve dropped three straight games in Pittsburgh, including last year’s playoffs.

  • The Steelers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 home games as favorites.
  • The Falcons are allowing 30.5 points per game, which ranks 29th in the NFL.
  • The total has gone OVER in seven of the Steelers’ last nine games at home.

Falcons vs Steelers Game Center

Heinz Field Is No Longer a Safe Haven for Steelers

If there was ever a point where the Steelers felt they needed to get Le’Veon Bell back in the lineup, it was after their game vs the Ravens in Week 4. The Steelers were tied at 14 going into the half but for the remaining 30 minutes of play, they could not put a drive together or convert a third down. Pittsburgh is a shell of itself with its rushing attack as it averages 72 yards per game (ranked 29th) on the ground with James Conner, who is not fitting the bill so far in his young career. To his credit, it would help if the Steelers didn’t have to abandon the run game so early in games as they spotted the Chiefs and Ravens a combined 35 points at home before getting on the scoreboard.

Heinz Field is a historic site of football tradition and a winning culture but for Steelers backers, they know that isn’t the case lately. Pittsburgh has lost three straight games at home (including last year’s playoffs) for the first time since 2012 and the Steelers don’t have the excuse this time of Ben Roethlisberger being hurt. Going back to last season, the Steelers are a woeful 0-6 ATS in their last six games as home favorites. Now, they welcome a Falcons squad that is crushing opposing secondaries and Pittsburgh allows an ugly 305 yards passing per game, which ranks 29th in the NFL.

Luckily for the Steelers, their passing game looks on point through four games and they can exploit a banged-up Falcons secondary that is allowing 284 yards per game (ranked 25th). Where Pitt can trip itself up, though, is on third down as it ranks 28th in the league in third-down conversion rate. That stat is the reason why the Steelers miss Bell the most because he’s a running back who can chew up yards and put them in better positions to convert. Although I tend to disregard historical trends when it comes to teams in different conferences, for what it’s worth, the Steelers have owned this matchup as they’re 11-1-1 SU in their last 13 games vs the Falcons and 6-0-1 when these teams clash at Heinz Field.

Disappointment = Atlanta

For a team that has so much talent on both sides of the ball, no team is more frustrating to wager on lately than the Atlanta Falcons. Since the 28-3 meltdown in Super Bowl 51, the Falcons are 12-10 SU and 9-13 ATS in 22 games (including playoffs). That record looks more like it should belong to a lower-level franchise like the Raiders or Buccaneers but this is a team that has been a darling among NFL analysts who peg the Falcons as contenders.

This season, their offense has looked explosive at times as they rank sixth in points per game in the NFL (29.0) and are keeping drives alive by ranking fourth in third-down conversion at 48.1 percent. But as good as the offense has looked, the defense has been on the opposite side of the spectrum, ranking 29th in points allowed per game (30.5). A troubling stat for Dan Quinn’s defense is that Atlanta has yet to force a fumble through four games and has caused a total of just four turnovers. That’s a recipe for disaster for a team that needs its defense to step up and to stop putting so much pressure on the offense to convert.

The way this game is shaping up, it seems like the only way for Atlanta to win this game is to outscore Pittsburgh and that could be a daunting task when its defense doesn’t want to show up. At this point, I may stay away from the spreads altogether as neither team can be trusted to close the deal.

Poor Defenses Should Lead to OVER

The total opened at 57.5 in this matchup, the highest total for Week 5 games, and while that number seems overwhelmingly daunting, it may be the best play. The OVER has hit in five of Pittsburgh’s last six games and seven of its last nine games at home with an average combined score of 60.5 points per game. I expect another shootout in the Steel City with the loser eventually missing the playoffs.

My Pick is…

To take the OVER. This may be a gut call but these defenses have looked terrible through four weeks and couldn’t stop a high school offense from throwing the ball on them. I think this is the marquee game in Week 5 and expect an offensive explosion.

The Steelers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 home games as favorites.home The Falcons are allowing 30.5 points per game, which ranks 29th in the NFL.away The total has gone OVER in seven of the Steelers’ last nine games at home.home
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