The Atlanta Falcons have outplayed their opponents for large stretches of their first two games of the season. Despite dominating the Saints for three quarters of Week 1, and fighting back from a 28-3 deficit against the defending Super Bowl champions in Week 2, the Falcons remain winless entering their Week 3 matchup in Seattle.
Obviously, there’s plenty of blame to go around for the team’s 0-2 start, but quarterback Marcus Mariota deserves his share. The former No. 2 overall pick had the ball in his hands with a chance to close both games and came up short.
In defense of Mariota, however, both the Saints and Rams have quality defenses and the Falcons were clear underdogs entering each game. While Atlanta is again the underdog this Sunday, the Seahawks aren’t nearly as stout on defense and are just 2.5-point favorites.
Seattle’s defense is allowing over 400 yards on offense through the first two games, which ranks 24th in the NFL. They also have the third-worst defense when it comes to stopping opposing offenses on third down.
The Falcons haven’t necessarily been a bad team on third down, but they went just 3-10 on third-down conversions in Week 2. With that being said, Sunday feels like a make-or-break game for Mariota. If he struggles early on, it could be the perfect time to give Ridder a look as the starting quarterback.
Week 3 is also the start of a run of favorable games for Atlanta that features a Deshaun Watson-less Browns team, a winless Bengals team, the Panthers twice, and a 49ers team that is starting a QB the front office has been trying to get rid of for two seasons.
The Falcons defense has been better this year to a degree, and while we have seen some improvement along the offensive line, this group’s performance in Week 3 will be telling on how well the team could perform in the weeks that follow.
If Mariota falters again Sunday against Seattle, it might be time to hand the keys over to Ridder and see what the third-round pick can do in a regular season game. In Ridder’s preseason debut, he threw a game-winning touchdown pass against the Lions.
Falcons fans would be happy with a similar outcome in Week 3.
Stealing our hearts
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 13, 2022