Pittsburgh Steelers at Atlanta Falcons: 2014 Week 15 NFL Pick

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at Atlanta Falcons (5-8)

The Packers lost last week in Green Bay, but now they return home. The Falcons are 32-21-1 ATS at home (39-15 straight up) since Matt Ryan and Mike Smith came in back in 2008, as long as Matt Ryan is healthy, including 8-3 ATS as home underdogs, as they are here. The fact that they lost last week actually makes it more likely that they cover this week as they’re very good off of a loss in the Matt Ryan/Mike Smith era. They are 27-14 ATS off of a loss since 2008, including 18-9 ATS at home and 6-1 ATS as home underdogs.

The Steelers, meanwhile, have never been good in these types of games. They are 7-20 ATS since 2007 (when Mike Tomlin took over) as non-divisional road favorites. They always get caught off guard by these types of opponents and I definitely expect that to happen again here with the Steelers sandwiched in between a big upset win in Cincinnati and another very important game with the Chiefs next week that could be a playoff tiebreaker.

There are two reasons why this isn’t a bigger play on Atlanta. For one, Julio Jones is going to be at the very best less than 100% this week with a hip problem, which is an issue, considering how big of a part of their offense he is. Two, the Steelers are in their 2nd of two road games. Teams are 182-195 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.32 points per game, as opposed to 269-385 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.28 points per game. However, road favorites off of a road win as underdogs are just 32-28 ATS since 2002, so it’s not that powerful for a trend. The Falcons should be the right side, especially with the public on Pittsburgh.

Atlanta Falcons 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 20 Upset Pick +115

Pick against the spread: Atlanta +2.5

Confidence: Medium

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