3 Atlanta Falcons that must step up in pivotal divisional matchup

Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets
Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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2. Desmond Ridder

With the defensive injuries in mind, it is clear that an ugly game plan isn't going to work for Atlanta this week. When the defense is fully healthy the Falcons can sit back and rely on the run game. This takes the pressure off of a bad quarterback situation and shortens the game for a good Atlanta defense. This week, however, that plan simply isn't going to work. Atlanta is going to need to consistently score points and can't afford to lean on the run game alone.

Ridder has been a turnover machine anytime he has been leaned on heavily. The only exception to that was the Houston game in which Ridder carried the offense and played a mistake free game. If the Falcons are going to hold onto sole possession of first place in the NFC South this version of Desmond must show up.

Atlanta should still be able to run the ball considering Tampa's injuries but they must have a balanced attack to win this game with the shape of their defense. Ridder needs to have at least 250 passing yards and utilize his legs to help open up the defense and set an early tone.