Image credit to Midway Illustrated
With their latest acquisition to bolster up their “W” column last Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons are now 11 and 1, and looking solid with four games left to go.
Since Ryan’s rookie year in 2008 up until Thursday, Brees and Co. have proudly waved their banners as they’ve defeated their rivals in seven out of the last nine battles. Matt Ryan though, who’s record at the Georgia Dome stands tall at an unreachable 32 wins and only 6 losses, made 82.4% sure that their arch-nemesis would mutually understand: that they weren’t leaving with a win.
(“I was there two weeks ago, five interceptions isn’t really the greatest feeling,” Ryan sympathized”)(false quote example)
Falcons fans know better not to celebrate prematurely, after all, a lingering, bitter Matt Ryan effect has grown over the years and proven nothing but 3 disappointing endings to great regular-season finishes. It’s safe to ask the question that surfaces in the minds of many around this time of year: is the Irish 26-year-old ready to win his first-ever playoff game?
Yes, general public, yes he is.
(“I overheard Drew in the pregame huddle that this was their division,” Ryan nonchalant, “Not true.”)(false quote example)
The Falcons are actually stronger than they appear. In plain sight, their near-perfect record doesn’t showcase how much adversity that they’ve truly overcome.
“Entering Week 13 the Falcons have had the lowest strength of schedule in the NFL by a wide margin and the third-lowest strength of victory in the NFC. Only two of their 11 games have been against teams that currently have a winning record (Broncos and Buccaneers).” (http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/tag/_/name/matt-ryan)
After injecting their reality-shot in New Orleans, many believed that the Saints had exposed the flaws of the mighty Falcons. If a 4-5 team could exploit their divisional rivals, hold their ball-carriers to a measly sum of 44 yards on the ground, (46 if you include Ryan’s 2), then that just might have to be the formula for every team to use in order to stop them from winning. Right?
Wrong. The resurgent Falcons guaranteed never to lose to an inferior team again. The team sloppily overcame some unexpected pressure visiting from Arizona. In a bout of two Angry Birds, the Cardinals intercepted Matt Ryan five times but couldn’t heed the recipe that the Saints had written a week before. They couldn’t hold Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers to less than 44 yards running–instead let them maneuver their way around the turf for a total of 72. The phenomenal aspect of this game was the fact that Matt Ryan was picked off 5 times and the team rallied, put him on their shoulders and rotator cuffs to win the game. A week later the birds migrated to the land of the Buccaneers, a squadron who were heading into the game off a four-game winning streak. The Falcons reapplied what they learned: not to lose to inferior teams. Matt Ryan was too accurate, completing 26/32 passes and most importantly, showed flashes of chemistry by hooking up for a long touchdown pass down the rail with his third favorite receiver, Julio Jones. The Falcons won again, this time running for 66 yards total (79 including Ryan’s 13).
For their next upcoming games before entering the postseason, the Falcons should be projected to win all four with ease. They play at Carolina and at Detroit, and host the Giants and the Buccaneers in their final showdown. If they finish, hypothetically 15-1, they’ll clinch a first-round bye and the shortcut to the Super Bowl will be through the sharp turf blades of the Georgia Dome.