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Colts will face Falcons QB Taylor Heinicke as starter during upcoming Week 16 game

The Colts won’t be traveling to face Desmond Ridder at starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons after all...

Atlanta Falcons v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

According to their head coach Arthur Smith, the Atlanta Falcons will be starting Taylor Heinicke, not Desmond Ridder, against the Indianapolis Colts during Week 16:

The 30-year-old well-traveled veteran quarterback has completed 41 of 74 pass attempts (55.4%) for 498 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and 2 interceptions during 3 games (2 starts) for the Falcons during the 2023 campaign.

Of course, Heinicke is a familiar NFC quarterback face for the Colts, as he started during Week 8 against Indy last year, then as a member of the Washington Commanders. In that start, Heinicke completed 23 of 31 pass attempts (74.2%) for 279 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception in a narrow 17-16 Washington win.

Neither starting quarterback option appears to be all that of an appealing one for Atlanta (currently 6-8), but they’re hoping they can catch ‘lightning in a bottle’ with Heinicke and he’ll give them some much needed late season life offensively, just one game behind the leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the woeful NFC South.

As it stands, the Colts defense has been red hot as of late, at least from a pass rush and takeaways perspective—making this another favorable defensive matchup:

It’ll be interesting to see if the most recent change at starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons pays off, but it’s probably worth a shot given Ridder’s rather lukewarm play recently and with an outside chance of still winning their division.