Most analysts think the NFC South will be a race between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons, and as we inch closer to the season, that race is getting closer.
Speaking about the division contest this year, NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt singled out the Falcons as a team that will take the lead in 2019, all because of their quarterback.
“There is a strange thing in our league where there is some sort of Matt Ryan prejudice, I don’t know what it is,” Brandt said.
“Can we talk for a second about what Matt Ryan did last year? Matt Ryan is incredible. I think the Falcons are going to win the NFC South. You know how loaded they are? They went to the draft and said, ‘Let’s spend our first two picks on linemen.’ Because our weapons are so good, we can.”
Matt Ryan. pic.twitter.com/evqE1n7tJI
— GMFB (@gmfb) July 9, 2019
Ryan completed 69.4 percent of his pass attempts last season while amassing 4,924 yards in the air, scored 35 touchdowns passing, and was intercepted seven times. Two years ago, he completed 69.9 percent of his attempts for 4,944 yards passing, tossed 38 touchdowns, and threw seven interceptions.
The difference, of course, between now and then is that the Falcons did not have the kind of injury troubles they had last season back in the 2016 campaign.
Going into the 2019 season, Atlanta is hoping that they can keep their starting defensive players healthy and that they improved their pass protection in order to get something for all of Ryan’s efficiency.
Despite the Falcons finishing with their first sub .500 record under head coach Dan Quinn, Ryan finished in the top five of the NFL in most passing categories, throwing for the third most yards, tied for the most touchdowns, was fourth in completion percentage, and fourth in passer rating.
The 34 year old owns a bevy of Falcons franchise records, including passing yards, touchdown passes, attempts, and completions, including a dozen other categories for passing with Atlanta since entering the NFL in 2008 as their first round pick from Boston College.
Moreover, if Ryan plays up to his usual standards this coming season, there is every possibility he could move to No. 9 all time on the NFL list for career passing yards.
And can lead the Falcons back to the playoffs.