1. Bench Marcus Mariota and start Desmond Ridder
You aren’t winning this game as long as Marcus Mariota is in the starting lineup. The quarterback turns the ball over and misses his receivers consistently and the Bucs aren’t going to miss on extra opportunities. After being dominant during the first three weeks of the season the Tampa defense was picked apart and embarrassed by Patrick Mahomes last Sunday.
This is going to be an angry and motivated group that will have no problems taking advantage of Mariota’s propensity to give the ball to the wrong team. Unlike Jacoby Brissett or Geno Smith, Tom Brady will take every Atlanta turnover and turn it into seven points.
Atlanta’s only chance in this game is to do something unconventional and catch the defense off guard. Putting Ridder into the starting lineup is a risk against this defense for his first start, however, it is also Atlanta’s only path to beating the Bucs.
If Marcus Mariota is the starter in this game and Brady doesn’t self-sabotage this game is Tampa’s and there is nothing Atlanta can do to change that. Putting Ridder in the lineup is a risk but if the Falcons want to win this game it is the right decision.