Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan should be playing with a chip on his shoulder all season.
When it comes to most consistent players under center, Matt Ryan is in the top tier, but the two people he’s chasing are now each in his division. And this may be his last chance to make a case against them.
There’s no secret to why Atlanta Falcons’ fans call Ryan “Matty Ice.” The man is as clutch as they come. He’s had 38 career game-winning drives, with four of them coming his rookie year. That’s eighth all time. But of the active players with more, two of them are in his division. The other being Ben Roethlisberger up in Pittsburgh, who Ryan has yet to beat.
Tom Brady is arguably the greatest to ever play the position, the Michael Jordan of the NFL if you will. (Yes, this comparison was made because of ESPN’s Last Dance documentary). And Drew Brees is probably the first-ballot Hall of Famer. So what better time to make your case against two of the best to do it? Ryan will get four chances to do so and if he can come up clutch in games against them, there will be little else to say about him deserving a gold jacket.
Ryan has already dispatched Aaron Rodgers in clutch moments. Those two have had some great battles but when it mattered the most, NFC Championship in 2016-17, Ryan showed up. He also edged him out for the MVP that year. He’s shown he can outduel Rodgers on any stage, home or away, regular season or playoffs. And he’ll see him again this year.
Same with Russell Wilson who Matt Ryan has beat in the playoffs multiple times, most recently 2016-17 too. The only thing that separates Ryan from these four is a Super Bowl ring. One that he will undoubtedly capture before he retires.
But the unique thing about the Falcons schedule is Ryan will also get a chance to see some of the new talent coming in the league and make a statement against them. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears, and a rematch on the road against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. (Yes, he already beat Prescott once, but that was without Ezekiel Elliott on the field).
Don’t forget the veterans too, Matthew Stafford with the Lions and Kirk Cousins in Minnesota. Ryan could secure a solid win against both of them.
This season will be one of Matt Ryan’s best chances to put hall of fame worthy wins on his resume and continue to rack up wins against some of the top competition in the league. Ryan will come with heat this season, he just needs the rest of the Falcons to bring it too.