Sunday, September 12, 2010

Falcons: What are the Chances?

Today marks the return of “What are the Chances…?”, in which I predict the outcome of the current week’s game. Last year, I finished a mediocre 9-7, during a year in which the Steelers’ performance was wildly unpredictable.

The Steelers are a 2.5 point underdog at home against Atlanta this afternoon. That seems like an accurate assessment, as the Falcons have a huge edge at QB, starting Matt Ryan against third-year man Dennis Dixon, who will be making just his second career start. The Steelers have history on their side, as Pittsburgh is 11-2-1 vs. Atlanta all-time, and the Steelers have won eight straight openers. On the other hand, Pittsburgh lost its last meeting with the Falcons (a game at the Georgia Dome in which Ben Roethlisberger was concussed), and their next-most-recent-matchup ended in a 34-34 tie.

Expect Pittsburgh’s D to focus on shutting down Atlanta RB Michael Turner, leaving Ryan opportunities to attack via the pass. Nevertheless, I believe the Steelers can win, assuming Dixon can avoid turning the ball over more than once. But that’s a very big if.

I give the Steelers a 45 percent chance of winning.

For what it’s worth, “What are the Chances….” Is 48-20 all-time (71 percent).



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