3 Reasons the Atlanta Falcons will win the NFC South in 2023

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2. Desmond Ridder

What Desmond Ridder is or isn't has been the battle of the off-season between Atlanta Falcons fans. What is lost in the constant debate is no matter which side of the discussion you find yourself on Ridder is clearly a superior passer in comparison to Mariota.

The Falcons have an easier schedule, an improved roster, better coaching, and a quarterback capable of completing the basic passes. Even if you don't believe Ridder can develop into a franchise quarterback it isn't hard to believe Desmond is capable of consistently giving Atlanta a chance in a conference where Kirk Cousin, Jalen Hurts, and Geno Smith are the standard.

Ridder had an underwhelming first four games but made many plays that Mariota simply couldn't and will continue to improve with a full off-season and camp of reps with the first team. Atlanta is going to be a far better offense with a quarterback capable of forcing the defense to respect the pass.

Toward the end of Mariota's tenure as a starter, the opposing defense was daring Mariota to throw it knowing it was unlikely to result in a positive play. Ridder may not be the star quarterback a portion of Atlanta's fans hoped for, however, he is a capable one and a clear improvement from what Atlanta had for the majority of the 2022 season.