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Why the Falcons are about to run away with the NFC South

Admin By Admin Nov27,2023

The Atlanta Falcons leaned on their running game in their statement 24-15 win over the division rival Saints in Week 12. With the offense figuring out a winning formula and a soft schedule directly ahead of it, Atlanta is about to run away with the NFC South.

The Falcons exposed the weak link of New Orleans defense by thrashing them with 228 rushing yards, negating the Saints’ advantage in the secondary.

Quarterback Desmond Ridder remains fool’s gold. He tried to give New Orleans the win with a pair of interceptions, reminding everyone why he shouldn’t be trusted when the Falcons face tougher competition. Better teams than New Orleans (5-6) won’t lose that game. 

But head coach Arthur Smith wisely adopted a run-first approach against the Saints, Atlanta’s best path to a division crown. 

While Ridder isn’t a threat to get the Falcons past the wild-card round, he should be able to manage Atlanta (5-6) to the playoffs.

The Falcons go on the road to play the New York Jets (4-7) next week and follow that with games against the Tampa Bay Bucs (4-7), Carolina Panthers (1-10), Indianapolis Colts (6-5) and Chicago Bears (3-8) before their regular-season finale in New Orleans.

Indianapolis is the best team Atlanta plays the rest of the season, but it has its own struggles stopping the run. The Colts have allowed over 100 yards rushing in eight of their 11 games, including 125 rushing yards and 6.6 yards per carry to a terrible Tampa Bay rushing attack in Week 12.

The Falcons are poised to go on a run over the next month to put the division away. Of course, Atlanta had a perfect opportunity before its bye to distance itself in the division by facing rookies Will Levis, Jaren Hall and a 1-8 Arizona team in consecutive weeks but went 0-3 instead.

Nothing is a given when it comes to the Falcons. However, if Smith follows the blueprint he laid out against the Saints – run the ball and keep it out of Ridder’s hands – Atlanta might finish first in the division no one wants to win.

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