By the Numbers stats preview: Falcons vs. Steelers

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    Week 5 is here Youth Jake Matthews Jersey , and the Falcons are in a really tough spot. Sitting at 1-3, Atlanta’s playoff chances rest on this week’s road matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1). Both of these teams are in desperate straits, and both appear to be suffering from the same issues: a defense that is losing them games despite elite offensive production. The winner of this game keeps hope alive—for now—while the loser likely has to re-evaluate their season.Let’s take a closer look at how Atlanta and Pittsburgh matchup statistically on offense and defense heading into Week 5.OFFENSEStatisticFalconsSteelersStatisticFalconsSteelersThe Falcons have been among the NFL’s best offenses in 2018, but that hasn’t translated to many wins thus far. Atlanta is 6th in total points, 7th in total yards, and 4th in yards per play. In the passing game, the team is 6th in yards, 3rd in yards per attempt, and T-8th in passing TDs. On the ground, the Falcons are 21st in yards, T-19th in yards per carry, and T-6th in rushing TDs. Atlanta has been great on third down, converting 48% of their attempts (good for 4th). The team has also protected the football well in 2018, and has a +2 turnover margin through Week 4.Pittsburgh is in a very similar situation to Atlanta: a very good offense that hasn’t been able to overcome a terrible defense. The Steelers are T-11th in total points, 6th in total yards, and 10th in yards per play. Through the air, the team is 3rd in yards, 12th in yards per attempt, and T-11th in passing TDs. In the ground game, Pittsburgh is 29th in yards, T-25th in yards per carry, and T-6th in rushing TDs. The Steelers have really struggled on third down, converting only 31% of their attempts (28th). They’ve also struggled with turnovers, carrying a -2 margin into Week 5.Advantage: FalconsDEFENSEStatisticFalconsSteelersStatisticFalconsSteelersAtlanta’s defense has been an absolute trainwreck outside of Week 1 due to an unprecedented string of injuries. The Falcons are 30th in points allowed, 28th in total yards allowed, and 24th in yards per play. Defending the pass, the team is 25th in yards, somehow T-8th in yards per attempt, and T-24th in passing TDs allowed. Against the run , Atlanta is 26th in yards, 29th in yards per carry, and 31st in rushing TDs allowed. The Falcons’ defense has been abysmal on third down, allowing a ridiculous 51% of attempts to be converted (31st). They’ve also been below average at generating sacks, with only 8 on the season (T-22nd).The Steelers’ defense looks about the same as Atlanta’s—except they don’t have any injury excuses to fall back on. Pittsburgh is 26th in points allowed, 30th in total yards allowed, and 25th in yards per play. In the passing game, the team is 29th in yards, T-25th in yards per attempt, and 31st in passing TDs allowed. On the ground, the Steelers are T-22nd in yards, T-18th in yards per carry, and T-7th in rushing TDs allowed. Pittsburgh has played well on third down, allowing only 37% of attempts to be converted (13th). They’ve also generated a lot of sacks, with 13 through four weeks (T-4th).Advantage: SteelersAnalysisThis looks like the perfect setup for another shootout. The schedule makers did Atlanta no favors with this early stretch of games, and this injury-ravaged and inexperienced defense has been eviscerated by the likes of Drew Brees and Andy Dalton. Now they get Ben Roethlisberger and the loaded Steelers’ offense on the road. The Falcons’ defense isn’t likely to make much headway in this game, but they’ll have to find a way to make just enough plays to help Atlanta come away with a road win.We can count on Ryan and the offense putting up points against a Pittsburgh defense that is hemorrhaging almost as many points and yards as Atlanta’s. But when you get into these types of back-and-forth shootouts, you learn the cold hard statistical fact that one-score games are often coin flips. The Falcons have come up tails twice in a row now, but that luck should turn around at some point. Will it be on Sunday against the Steelers? If you have any desire to see Atlanta competing in the 2018 playoffs, you’d better hope so.This game really is a coin flip. Both of these teams will be playing for their playoff lives, with the Falcons sitting at 1-3 and the Steelers at 1-2-1. The winner keeps hope alive for at least one more week, while the loser gets an early start to #DraftSzn. I love the draft as much as anyone, but can we put it off for at least a few more weeks? Please, Falcons.Overall Advantage: PushWhat are your thoughts on the matchup between the Falcons and Steelers? Any particular position groups that you’ll be watching closely on Sunday?The Falcons replace the defense en masse in this week’s sacrifice It was Wednesday before Damontae Kazee noticed that anything was amiss.There had been worrying signs, in retrospect. Robert Alford had taken to wearing black tracksuits and motivational t-shirts, starting on Monday morning. Vic Beasley was listening to “Everybody” by Backstreet Boys on loop and Tweeting about Drew Brees. And Duke Riley had shaved off his trademark Louisiana waterfall, replacing it with a shaved head and sensible goatee. But it was only Wednesday that he heard the chants. When Dan Quinn entered the room to speak with the defense, they greeted him, their voices hollow and yet triumphant.“Good morning Mohamed Sanu Jersey , Coachlord!” they cried as Quinn greeted them with a grimacing flash of teeth. “Good morning, team!” he returned, his voice raspy and his cape sweeping seemingly across the entire room. “Today is another day, and our return to glory is nigh. I have every confidence you will play as you were born to do, as if you were forged in the flames beneath this very facility!”After his speech, Quinn blinked, long and slow.“I mean heck! The flames of heck!” Kazee blinked, too, but it was with suspicion and fear. A glance around the room showed his teammates swaying with dull red glows to their eyes, like Kroy Biermann’s contacts on a winter evening. When Quinn swept out of the room, and his teammates on defense sat dully around the locker room, Kazee decided to follow him. It was not hard to do, as the darkness seemed to gather around his head coach as he strode toward his office.When the great iron doors shut behind him, Kazee speared himself across the hallway and leaned his ear against the door. He did not take off his helmet. The voices he heard were muffled, but the words were still clear. “Your plan to sacrifice the entire defense, replacing them with clay homunculi fired in the forges of the Under Zaxby’s, was a stroke of genius,” Quinn muttered.“Of course it was! If you cannot prevent this defense from allowing more than 120 points in three weeks, I will take matters into my own wings,” boomed a voice in return, all metal-on-metal. “Are you not worried that despite their obvious discipline, these horrors-that-would-be-men will still struggle with tackling? I mean, they’re made of clay,” Quinn asked tentatively. “Oh, now you’re worried about tackling,” groused the iron voice. “Where was that concern last week? Or the week before that? Or the week before that? These creatures do not tire, do not slacken, and do not compliment Drew Brees on Twitter, for which you are quite welcome.” Kazee shifted at that Authentic Ryan Schraeder Jersey , and his helmet banged against the door with a reverberating boom. He hurried away from the door, but it slammed open and Quinn was gliding toward him on what Kazee swore was a cloud of shadows. “Don’t come any closer, Coach!” Kazee cried, head down threateningly. “I won’t be turned into one of your monsters!” “I still need you, Damontae,” Quinn said soothingly as he slid closer, his voice as soft and rustly as bat wings in sensible velvet evening wear. “Despite your penchant for tackling like Ralph Wiggum through a bay window, you are the steadiest defender we have besides Takk, who I believe is still engaged in hand-to-hand combat in the fiery pits below this facility. There is no need to replace you, and indeed, I would hope the need will never come.”Kazee warily looked up. “You’re not going to throw me into a pit of fire?”“No, no! This defense needs a leader, especially because it turns out that homonculi are very bad at freelancing. We must achieve results soon, and you will be counted on to ensure we do. Otherwise, our lives will all be forfeit,” Quinn said. “Anyways, have a great night! See you tomorrow.” At that, Quinn turned smartly and headed back into his office, leaving Kazee alone in the darkening hallway with his thoughts. “He’ll be trouble, I’d wager,” the Great Metal Falcon said, disapproving and steely. “If he is, he will be dealt with,” Quinn returned with a grim smile. “After all, for us, the answers are within our own locker room…or our own subsurface hellscape!” The resulting boom of laughter was so loud Kazee could hear it as he prepared himself to re-enter the locker room and the growing sounds of the Backstreet Boys.

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