The Atlanta Falcons' preseason continues Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in their penultimate contest of the exhibition portion of the schedule. Atlanta has lost its two prior outings by a combined seven points, so it's not as though it's been outclassed. Nonetheless, the Falcons face a tough test versus the Steelers, the reigning AFC champions.
Dave Choate of The Falcoholic believes Pittsburgh is "the best challenge the Falcons could hope for in the pre-season, when the team is trying to tune up for a tough regular season." Given that both teams are likely to play their starting units for at least the first half, Choate concludes "this is the first pre-season game [...] where the team's performance genuinely matters."
Behind the Steel Curtain details the Steelers' depth chart, and who's battling for which spots, in this marathon post. Steelers fans will surely be focused on some of these battles, particularly between running backs Jonathan Dwyer and John Clay.
Long term, Pittsburgh is worried about retaining six-time Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu, whose contract expires following this season. It's likely the Steelers will apply the franchise tag to him.