It is no secret that Matty Ice has not been playing well lately. In his last three games Ryan has only managed four touchdowns. Meanwhile, he has tossed up seven interceptions. His poor play mostly has to do his response to pressure in the pocket.
Matt Ryan has proven he can be forced into making mistakes if the opposing team’s defense can get pressure up front. The Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints both proved that in their wins over Atlanta. Another team who knows this is the Giants. Last season, in the playoffs, the Giants were able to lay a nice beat down on the Falcons because of the pressure they were able to get against Atlanta’s offensive line. Bearing that knowledge in mind, Ryan has to know has to make better decisions this Sunday.
Of course, this would not be such an issue if Atlanta’s offensive line would protect their quarterback better or if Ryan was more mobile. Either way, it is an issue the Falcons need to fix before the playoffs begin because teams are going to continue to pressure them up front, especially the Giants.
The Giants are coming into the Georgia Dome with a banged up secondary and have been playing a lot of cover three to make up for their inability to properly cover opposing teams’ receivers. Atlanta has one of the best wide receiver corps in the NFL with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, so Ryan’s offensive line has to give their QB space and time. On the flip side Ryan needs to release the ball quicker to keep the Giants offense at bay.
Atlanta can expect more pressure as the season closes and against whoever they face in the post season but if they cannot begin to fix it against the Giants this Sunday, they can expect another early exit in the playoffs.