Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Benches Struggling Quarterback Desmond Ridder for Second Time This Season

The Atlanta Falcons have made a tough decision to bench struggling quarterback Desmond Ridder in favor of backup Taylor Heinicke for the second time this season. The Falcons have a losing record at 6-8, making their chances of winning the NFC South slim. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints both have a 7-7 record, with the Bucs currently in first place in the NFC South.

According to a recent projection from Upshot, the Falcons have a 5% chance to win the division and a 7% chance to advance to the playoffs. Head coach Arthur Smith is determined to find the best option at quarterback to keep the team in contention for a division title or an NFC wild-card spot.

Ridder had started 4-4 at the beginning of the season before being benched to revitalize the offense. He returned as a starter in Week 12, but the team’s performance deteriorated, leading to a soul-crushing loss against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15. Ridder’s 14 fumbles and six red-zone turnovers, ranked first in the NFL, have contributed to his struggles this season.

Heinicke, with his previous record as a starter for the Washington Commanders, has been given another opportunity to lead the Falcons. Despite losing both his starts by a close margin, he has shown potential with a completion percentage of 55.4% for 498 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.

The Falcons’ upcoming game against the Indianapolis Colts is crucial, as they need to win all of their remaining games to stay in contention for a playoff berth or a division crown. The team is currently a pickā€™em to a -1.5 favorite against the Colts in the betting market, with the Colts having a better betting record for the season. The Bucs are currently favored to win the NFC South, with the Falcons considered a long shot at +750 odds.

In terms of making the playoffs, the Falcons are seen as underdogs with +600 odds to make the postseason and a -900 odds favorite to miss out. Their chances of winning the Super Bowl are even slimmer, with odds set at +20000.

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