Atlanta Falcons: One weird factor that could lead to an MVP season for Matt Ryan

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Matt Ryan is the greatest quarterback to ever play for the Atlanta Falcons franchise. As a result, expectations are astronomical heading into the 2019 season now that the team is healthy. The veteran gunslinger is coming off perhaps his most impressive year to date in which he was 20 yards and three TDs away from matching his MVP season in 2016 behind a sub-par offensive line – and I say that nicely.

Stars Aligning

Looking ahead to this season; the stars are aligning for Matt Ryan, and they are pointing at another run towards the MVP award. As we all know; while MVP seasons are unique, they typically always involve two things: monstrous stats and winning. With a revamped offensive line, a healthy RB1 returning, young receiving weapons emerging, and a defensive unit that is hungrier and more talented than ever; Ryan has everything needed to allow him to fill both criteria. However, most MVP seasons carry at least one unique trait. In Ryan’s 2016 campaign, he broke the record for most touchdowns thrown to different receivers. This season, he could join elite company thanks to one noteworthy factor.

Numbers Don’t Lie

Take a look at the Falcons schedule with me. On top of the eight home games to be played in comfy Mercedes-Benz Stadium; does anything else stand out about the away games? Minnesota, Indianapolis, Houston, Arizona, and New Orleans all play indoors, just like the eight at home. So, 13 of 16 games will take place inside this year. Now, I know you’re thinking, “what’s the big deal?” Well, the deal is; numbers don’t lie. Scott Barrett of Pro Football Focus reports, “Throughout his career, 26 of Ryan’s 37 highest- scoring fantasy games (70%) have come in a dome. Last year he averaged 23.8 fantasy points per game in a dome but only 20.1 fantasy points per game when playing outdoors.”

I know some of you may not be “fantasy football heads,” but anybody who has followed the Falcons knows just how dominant Ryan is playing in a dome, and how much he has struggled in the past when playing on grass. The numbers concur; the eye test concurs; which means we could be in for a historic season from the Falcons quarterback considering all the weapons he has around him. If this offensive line can keep Ryan clean, he has a fantastic chance of throwing for 40 TDs for the first time in career, and he’s been one of, if not, the best quarterbacks at protecting the football over the last three years. Only two QBs have thrown for more than 40 touchdowns with less than ten interceptions: Aaron Rodgers in 2011 (45 TDs and 6 INTs) and Tom Brady in 2007 (50 TDs and 8 INTs). With a little luck, Ryan could join the future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks on the way to his second MVP.

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