On Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons the Pittsburgh Steelers are poised for an offensive explosion. Since coming out of the bye week the Pittsburgh Steelers offense has been slowly putting it together.
In their first game out of the bye, the Steelers run game got going against the New Orleans Saints. In their second game back, in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals, their passing game had its best performance of the season. And on Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers had their best offensive performance of the season with the run game and the pass game both being the most effective it has been all season.
With momentum building in all phases of the offensive game, the Steelers now get to take on a bad Falcons defense. How bad? The Falcons are ranked 29th in total defense and are the worst passing defense in the league. They cannot generate any pressure, being dead last in hurry % and pressure %. They also aren’t very good against the run, ranking 24th and allowing 4.4 yards per carry.
Pittsburgh’s passing attack is finally starting to get going and that is the way the Steelers should look to attack Atlanta. The Falcons two starting cornerbacks are A.J. Terrell and Darren Hall. Terrell has allowed five touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 119.9 this season while Hall has allowed two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 125.3.
Pickett is starting to build more chemistry with his receivers, specifically George Pickens who played his college at the University of Georgia. He will be looking to put on a show and he has continued to see more targets, and has been great as a deep threat this season.
Pickett should have a ton of time to sit back and pick apart the weak secondary of the Falcons, and with his accuracy continuing to improve he shouldn’t have too many problems finding receivers with a clean pocket. After a while, someone will get open even if the Falcons decide to drop a lot of defenders into coverage.
The Steelers can’t only throw the ball, as there needs to be balance. The Falcons don’t have a great run defense either, and the fact that they rarely blitz can allow blockers to get to the second level quickly. Even if the Steelers are without Najee Harris this weekend, they should be fine running with Jaylen Warren who is on pace to come back Sunday. Warren is a downhill runner who is a perfect fit to go up against the Falcons. When a hole opens up, and it will, he just hits it and barrels forward.
Finally, the last reason Pittsburgh will have their best offensive performance of the season is the fact that Atlanta struggles getting off the field on defense. The Falcons have allowed opponents to convert on third down 47% of the time which is third highest in the NFL. It just so happens the Steelers are finally being able to convert third downs. The Falcons simply won’t be able to get off the field allowing the Steelers to have long drives most possessions, tiring out the Falcons.
Pittsburgh could not be facing a better team for their offense to continue to improve. Before a divisional matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, this is a great game for their young offense to gain more confidence in themselves in preparation for a rivalry game.