Although this season may be lost in terms of playoff hopes, things are looking up for the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7). Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is coming off putting together his third-straight promising performance en route to a 24-17 win over the Colts.
Pickett and Co. will hit the road to face the Atlanta Falcons (5-7), who, after a surprising 4-4 start, have dropped three of their last four. Calls are starting to come in for rookie Desmond Ridder to get his first career start, but Arthur Smith will ride Marcus Mariota for another week.
Can Mariota turn things around, or will Pickett put together another quality game and provide some light at the end of the tunnel?
Find out in our free NFL picks and predictions for Steelers vs. Falcons on December 4.
Steelers vs Falcons best odds
Steelers vs Falcons picks and predictions
Being an NFL quarterback is not easy, and watching the vast majority of rookie QBs struggle through their first stretch as one is a perfect demonstration of that. Through Kenny Pickett's first five appearances, many were already prepared to declare the first-round pick a bust.
Granted, Pickett was completing a fair share of his passes in a vacuum (his 67.9% during those five games would rank 10th on the year). However, Pickett was being dialed up layup pass after layup pass, sporting only 5.83 yards per attempt during that time. That mark would easily rank lowest of any QB that has played any appreciable amount of time in 2022.
Pickett has also struggled with taking sacks and turning over the ball. In his first five games, he fumbled the ball three times while throwing eight interceptions.
As the season has progressed, Pickett has slowly gotten accustomed to the speed of the NFL and is starting to push the ball a bit further downfield. He has a 6.38 YPA in those three games and has had zero interceptions or fumbles. As a result, the Steelers have won two of their last three, and their one loss was a one-score game to the Bengals.
Pittsburgh's defense is slowly coming around as well, mostly due to key players getting healthy. Star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick returned in Week 11 and has helped fill some dire holes in the secondary, while T.J. Watt has been an even bigger boost on the frontline since he came back in Week 10.
The Steelers defense may be too much for the Falcons to handle on Sunday. Atlanta has failed to score more than 17 points in three of its last four games, with the lone exception being against the Bears (arguably the league's worst defense).
And speaking of defense, Atlanta doesn't pose much of a threat on that side of the ball either. The Falcons rank 30th in DVOA, 27th in yards allowed per drive, and just 28th in points allowed per drive.
My best bet: Steelers +1 (+110 at DraftKings)
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Steelers vs Falcons spread analysis
The spread opened with the Falcons as -1.5 favorites. Currently, several books have either team being favored by a point, depending on where you look.
Atlanta's 7-5 record against the spread is actually good for the 10th-best mark in the league, and the Falcons are 4-2 at home ATS as well. However, they have failed to cover in three of their last four games.
Pittsburgh is 5-5-1 ATS and has covered in four of its last six. The Steelers have also covered in both instances as a favorite or underdog of less than a field goal.
Steelers vs Falcons Over/Under analysis
The total opened at 43 and has moved just a smidge down to 42. The Steelers are 6-5 to the Under, while Atlanta is an even 6-6 in regards to the O/U this season.
The Steelers have gone Over in three of their last four but were 6-2 to the Over prior to that, which is possibly a reflection of Pickett's progress. The Falcons have gone Under in three of their last four, despite starting 5-3 to the Over.
Steelers vs Falcons betting trend to know
Kenny Pickett has not thrown an interception in three straight weeks despite being favored to do so in each of those games. Find more NFL betting trends for Steelers vs. Falcons.
Steelers vs Falcons game info
|Location:||Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA|
|Date:||Sunday, December 4, 2022|
|Kickoff:||1:00 p.m. ET|
|Opening odds:||Falcons -1.5, 43 O/U|