In what already was bound to be a big four-week stretch, the Atlanta Falcons' remaining regular-season schedule grew in significance with the report concerning head coach Arthur Smith's future. Smith is expected to stay on as the team's coach in 2024 barring a late-season collapse, according to ESPN

If nothing else, the 41-year-old Smith has been consistent during his two-plus-year run as Falcons coach. The team went 7-10 during each of his first two seasons. The Falcons enter the final stretch of the 2023 regular season with a 6-7 record. Atlanta is currently in a three-way tie for first place in the division. 

Smith inherited a Falcons team in 2021 that had not made the playoffs since 2016, which was also the last time the franchise posted a winning record. The Falcons won seven, seven and four games the three seasons prior to Smith's arrival. 

A former offensive coordinator in Tennessee, Smith's current offense is just 24th in the NFL in scoring. While the running game has been one of the league's best, Atlanta is just 21st in the league in passing and 25th in touchdown passes. Desmond Ridder, who was benched earlier in the season, has thrown as many touchdowns (9) as interceptions (9) this season. 

Ridder does have a 6-5 record as the Falcons starter, which is the reason why he was reinserted in the lineup over Taylor Heinicke, who lost both of his starts. 

Desmond Ridder
ARI • QB • #9
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While Ridder is still a work in progress, the Falcons already possess some of the NFL's best young skill players in rookie Bijan Robinson, tight end Kyle Pitts and wideout Drake London. Robinson already has over 1,100 all-purpose yards and is the team leader in touchdown catches. Pitts is second on the team in catches, yards and is tied for second in touchdown catches. London paces Atlanta in catches and receiving yards. 

Defense, though, has been the main reason for the Falcons' success this season. The unit, which brought in several notable names this past offseason that includes Jessie Bates III and Calais Campbell, is ninth in the NFL in passing yards allowed, second in touchdown runs allowed, third in red zone efficiency and second in red zone efficiency. 

Smith's team enters the season's final month currently in 10th place in the NFC standings. The Falcons would vault up to fourth place, however, if they are able to dethrone the Buccaneers as NFC South division champs. The Falcons' remaining four games are at the 1-12 Panthers, at home against the 7-6 Colts, at 5-8 Chicago and at 6-7 New Orleans, the other NFC South team that is vying for the division.