After Saints loss Atlanta Falcons can claim NFC South lead

Oct 15, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) drops back
Oct 15, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) drops back / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

With the Saints losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night the Atlanta Falcons will be playing Tampa Bay on Sunday for first place. This isn't the way many pundits saw the division playing out at this point in the season. With Tampa seemingly in a rebuild and Carolina and New Orleans, both more interesting teams few could have predicted these division rivals playing for the lead in week seven.

Tampa Bay has an edge at the quarterback and receiver positions while the Falcons appear to have a better secondary, running game, and arguably defensive line. After last week's horrible Washington loss, it is a good test for Arthur Smith and Desmond Ridder in a meaningful game.

Smith is clearly going to stick with Ridder until there is no other choice. Atlanta fans have to hope the young quarterback can quickly figure it out and make needed adjustments. That will be Atlanta's biggest disadvantage this week playing a team with a quarterback that clearly is playing at a high level and in command of the offense.

Baker went from competing with Kyle Trask for a starting role to now being the clear best quarterback in his division. With Ridder, Derek Carr, and Bryce Young all struggling the race hasn't been particularly close seven weeks into the season.

Outside of Ridder's stellar game against the Texans, there hasn't been an argument for the Atlanta quarterback to even be in the conversation. Now in week seven Desmond has a chance to change that against a team that is obviously going to be focused on stopping the run and force Atlanta's passing game to move the ball consistently.

Atlanta has continued to be an average team since Arthur Smith has taken over this is a chance to turn the page and prove that this year is indeed going to be different.