Atlanta Falcons need Matt Ryan to find MVP form

If the Atlanta Falcons have any hope of upsetting San Francisco and forcing their way back into the wildcard Matt Ryan must improve in the final four games of the season. Ryan has struggled this season and has been unable to maintain his early impressive production down the stretch.

It hasn’t hurt Atlanta over the last three weeks as they have been able to lean on their run game and win two out of their last three contests. However, if Atlanta is going to find any success in their final four games they are going to need their veteran quarterback to improve his play.

Over the last five weeks, Matt Ryan has tossed 5-interceptions and tossed only 2-touchdowns in that stretch. To make matters worse Ryan has only gone over 200-passing yards only once in five weeks, simply put that isn’t great.

The Atlanta Falcons are winning right now without a lot of support from their veteran quarterback

A lot of the blame lands on an offensive line that has allowed Matt Ryan to take the most punishment in the league. There is also a fair amount of blame that should be placed at the feet of the front office that has refused to address the team’s issues at the receiver.

However, Ryan remains culpable in what has been one of the worst stretches of his career. The yardage is understandable when you look at his lack of targets but the turnovers have been consistent and frustrating.

Even though he didn’t throw a pick in a win over the Panthers there were at least three early balls thrown that easily could have gone the other way. Two, in particular, stand out, a forced flea flicker into double coverage and a forced throw to Russell Gage.

Two plays that Ryan and the offense cannot afford going forward. They were lucky against a seemingly collapsing Carolina Panthers team but they cannot expect the same results going forward. Ryan must make better decisions in the final four weeks and hope the production from his run game continues.

Matt Ryan’s problems this season have been about a lack of protection, targets, and Ryan forcing a play that isn’t there. Right now the only thing Ryan can solve is the last issue he must accept the team that he has and not force the ball trying to make a play.

We have seen this through Ryan’s career when a game is tight he forces the ball and lives with the result. When you had Roddy White, Julio Jones, or even Calvin Ridley this mentality was an understandable one when the receiver on the other end could make a game-changing play.

That isn’t the team Atlanta has anymore and Ryan must realize this and know his most important job in the final four weeks is making smart decisions and protecting the football. Atlanta has very winnable games left on the schedule facing the Saints and Lions who are both struggling to put it mildly.

Atlanta needs Ryan to check the ball down and use play action to his advantage taking care of the football and trusting a defense and rushing attack that are both improving.

Ryan’s degree of difficulty has never been higher during his time in Atlanta he has the worst weapons and arguably the worst offensive line of his career. Still, the veteran must find a way to put an end to his recent skid and be the MVP he has for this team for over a decade.

If he can play at the level he did earlier in the season this is an Atlanta Falcons team that will win a surprising eight games and perhaps have a chance at upsetting the Bills or the 49ers. If either of those upsets were to happen Atlanta has a great chance of finding their way back into the playoffs.