While the Atlanta Falcons still have control of the NFC South things could quickly flip with a loss this weekend. If Tampa Bay wins the records between the two teams will be tied and the season matchups will be split. New Orleans is likely to tie with the two teams as well considering they are facing the one-win Panthers.
This game has huge implications for the division going forward and Atlanta isn't going to be close to fully healthy for the matchup. We already know that the Falcons have ruled out Nate Landman, LaCale London, Kaleb McGary, and David Onyemata.
These are huge losses for a Falcons team that is built to win by dominating the trenches. Games played with Jarrett and Onyemata haven't been pretty for the Atlanta Falcons defense. Landman has stepped up after the loss of Troy Andersen and will be missed greatly as well.
Atlanta could be without a number of other key contributors as well with A.J. Terrell, Jeff Okudah, Mack Hollins, Drew Dalman, and Mike Hughes all questionable heading into Sunday. The team could be without six starters on Sunday potentially in one of the biggest games of the season.
A lot of pressure is going to be put on Desmond Ridder to keep his offense on the field and carry an injured defense. This is especially going to be the case if Atlanta is without both of their starting corners.
What will help Atlanta is the fact that the middle of Tampa's defensive line is dealing with injuries as well. The Bucs are a team that you can run the ball on and will give the Falcons the chance to play keep away. This should be Arthur Smith's approach knowing the number of players likely to be out in yet another game with a playoff feel.