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Week 1: Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh Preview & Pick

Falcons vs Steelers Week 1 NFL Betting Preview & Predictions

Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter

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Date/Time: Sunday September 12- 1:00 PM
Venue: Heinz Field
Atlanta Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Lines
MoneyLine: Atlanta (-135) Pittsburgh (+115)
NFL Betting Favorite: Atlanta -2
Over/Under: 37.5
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Atlanta

The Atlanta Falcons were 9-7 in 2009, after an 11-5 season in 2008. The Falcons were the breakout team of the year in 2008, but they disappointed a bit last year. They have the pieces in place to be even better again in 2010, if they can stay healthy.

Matt Ryan’s numbers dropped off a bit in his second year as a starter, but he did battle a turf toe injury almost the entire season. Ryan is still clearly an emerging NFL star that has all the necessary tools to lead his team extremely effectively. Michael Turner had a disappointing year in 2009, and the Falcons will definitely need him to come back to his 2008 form if they are going to make a deep run. Tony Gonzalez gives Matt Ryan a great target over the middle of the field. The offense looks ready for a nice year.

The defense was solid against the run last year, but the pass defense was very poor. The Falcons ranked 28th in the NFL against the pass in 2009, and that was one of the biggest reasons they disappointed a bit last season. Dunta Robinson was brought in from the Houston Texans to shore up the secondary. Robinson is a great shadow defender who should help out right away for Atlanta. The next order of business is increasing the heat on opposing quarterbacks. Last year, opponents had far too much time to sit back and carve up this Falcons secondary.

The defense should be a bit better in 2010. Sports Betting at Sportsbook.com

Pittsburgh

Unless you have paid zero attention to the sports world you have certainly heard that Big Ben won’t be available in the first four weeks for the Steelers. Mike Tomlin announced earlier this week that Dennis Dixon will be the starting quarterback this weekend. Can the Steelers be successful without Ben?

The Steelers offense will be made or broken by the running game. If they can get back to being a team that runs the football well consistently then they’ll be tough to beat once again. Last year, the Steelers finished the season ranked 19th in the league in rushing offense. The loss of Santonio Holmes leaves a void at the wide receiver spot, so they’ll need Mike Wallace and Hines Ward to have big years in 2010. Heath Miller will likely have an increased role in the passing offense as well, and he should do very well in that role. The offensive line is a little below par, and they’ll need to step up this season for this team to get to where they want to go.

The defense badly needs a healthy Troy Polamalu. Last year was a perfect example of just how much they miss him when he is gone. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are still here, which means Pittsburgh has the best outside linebacker tandem in football. Jason Worilds and Thad Gibson were great draft picks that should contribute by getting after the quarterback this year. The secondary got a nice boost by the acquisition of Bryant McFadden and Ike Taylor is a very solid corner. The pieces are in place for this unit to be dominating once again.

The Pick:

I don’t think that Pittsburgh will have the personal to take advantage of the Falcons weakness in the secondary. It is tough to pick against Pittsburgh at home, but I think Atlanta -2 is the play here.

Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh Score Prediction: Atlanta 21 Pittsburgh 17

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Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Check out his plays today.

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About Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Totals are Kyle's specialty, so look for a lot of totals picks from NBA, NCAAF, & the NFL. Check out his plays today.


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