Mere months after claiming the NFC’s No. 1 seed and earning the franchise’s elusive first playoff win with Matt Ryan under center, the Atlanta Falcons aren’t being treated by Vegas like either of these things just happened.
In January, Ryan responded to criticism about his play in the clutch — particularly the postseason, because he actually had been an incredibly “clutch” quarterback in key regular season games throughout his career — by leading Atlanta to spectacular late-game rally past the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round. The Seahawks (8-to-1) are now among three NFC teams receiving higher Super Bowl odds than Atlanta, joining the San Francisco 49ers (5-to-1) and Green Bay Packers (6-to-1) ahead of the Falcons’ 18-to-1.
Perhaps it’s the Seahawks’ younger core and seemingly superior offseason that gets them the bump. While Seattle brought in the likes of Percy Harvin, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril the Falcons swapped Michael Turner for Steven Jackson, John Abraham for Osi Umenyiora and lost their two most consistently good offensive lineman in center Todd McClure and Tyson Clabo.
However, if Ryan can perform all season like he did in the playoffs last year, Atlanta’s Super Bowl odds, regular-season win total line of 10 and division title odds at +110 all look rather enticing. No better time to do this for Ryan than in a contract year, especially if things aren’t resolved this offseason.
“Right now there’s nothing new on the contract,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told XM Sirius radio, as transcribed by Pro Football Talk. “Understand that he will be here. We will get this done and we would prefer to have this done sooner than later. … We have a very good working relationship with CAA (and Ryan’s agent Tom Condon) and I’m confident that this will, when the time is right, move expeditiously to get his done.”