Saturday, November 4, 2023

Atlanta Falcons Week 9 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 9 roundup for the Atlanta Falcons in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 18

It's a work in progress at this point. Desmond Ridder started the first eight games and was a mixed bag. He showed improvement in Weeks 5-7 with three straight 250-yard passing days, but he also had seven turnovers. The Falcons sat Ridder at halftime against Tennessee this past Sunday -- Ridder cleared concussion protocol, but Atlanta held him out because coaches thought something was "off" with Ridder -- and backup Taylor Heinicke replaced him. Smith said Monday the starter for Minnesota will be determined by Wednesday, at least in part due to Ridder's health. -- Michael Rothstein -- Rank: 17

Desmond Ridder's exit to be evaluated for a concussion opened the door for Arthur Smith to make a permanent change to Taylor Heinicke, even if Smith said after Sunday's loss to the Titans that Ridder wasn't benched for performance. The 23 points Sunday were the most Atlanta has scored since Week 2, though; previously, Ridder's penchant for turnovers (he had another one Sunday before leaving) have limited the Falcons' scoring opportunities. Ridder led Atlanta to three first-half points, while Heinicke guided four scoring drives in the second, totaling 20 points and giving Atlanta a chance to win after being down multiple scores. On top of all that, the loss of DT Grady Jarrett to a torn ACL rips a hole in the defense at a spot where the Falcons are most thin. Back to the drawing board.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 19

They have a quarterback problem. Desmond Ridder was benched, which means it could be time for Taylor Heinicke to take over.

USA Today -- Rank: 18

Congrats to rookie RB Bijan Robinson, who notched his first NFL rushing touchdown Sunday. Now as to why he only got 11 touches in a five-point loss in Nashville? Can't explain it.

The Athletic -- Rank: 16

Something scary (for them): A quarterback controversy

The Falcons really want Desmond Ridder to take control of the starting job, but Ridder committed his seventh turnover in the last three weeks Sunday and was taken out of the game after a halftime concussion evaluation. Ridder was cleared by the medical staff, but the Falcons stuck with Taylor Heinicke in the second half anyway. Heinicke led four scoring drives in six possessions. Ridder's eight possessions totaled 89 yards and three points. Coach Arthur Smith did not commit to a starter after the game.

FOX -- Rank: 15

The educated guess is that head coach Arthur Smith is going to stick with Desmond Ridder, and that's honestly fine. Ridder has shown enough flashes to justify that decision. But after watching Taylor Heinicke jump-start Atlanta's offense in the loss to Tennessee, it's fair to wonder how long Ridder's leash will be moving forward.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 17

Head coach Arthur Smith said the Falcons are going to be mindful of Desmond Ridder's health when determining if he can play this weekend. He left Sunday's game to be checked for a concussion, then never came back. Smith, to no surprise, is being vague about what exactly is going on. It leads to speculation that the Falcons are getting a look at Taylor Heinicke due to Ridder's performance as much as his health.

PFT -- Rank: 15

If they want to have a shot at the playoffs, they need to embrace the Heineke rollercoaster.

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