Atlanta Falcons facing another must-win in tight division race

Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets
Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The Atlanta Falcons might have a one game lead in the NFC South, however, this week could shake things up dramatically if Atlanta doesn't beat their division rival. Tampa winning would muddy the waters for Atlanta pushing them into a potential tie with Tampa and New Orleans.

Tampa and Atlanta would be tied on the season at 1-1 while the Falcons would hold the direct tiebreaker over the Saints for the time being. New Orleans is playing the Carolina Panthers and very likely to come away with a win. The Panthers have only one win on the season and clearly are lost right now on both sides of the ball.

If we make the safe assumption that New Orleans is going to win this week that means the Falcons need a win to avoid a tie between three teams. A win over Tampa makes the road for the Bucs winning the division close to impossible and keeps New Orleans at arm's length.

A loss puts the season, Arthur Smith, and the entire direction of the franchise back into question. It is a huge potential swing that makes this game a "must win" in the division race. Atlanta winning this game keeps the tiebreakers over Tampa and New Orleans with a game lead and matchups against the Panthers, Bears, and Saints still looming.

Desmond Ridder mentioned this team's inability to win three in a row so far this season. That is a hurdle they must get past if they are going to save Arthur Smith's job and hold onto their playoff spot this season.

Tampa was underwhelming against the Carolina Panthers but found a way to get it done leaning on Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans. The health of Atlanta's corners should be a huge concern as we get later in the week against a team that clearly has the best talent at the position within the division.