The Falcons' detractors usually argue they're not as good as their record. I have a hard time understanding that argument. The NFL is parity-ridden in 2012. The oft-repeated mantra "any given Sunday" is especially true this year. And let's be honest folks, you don't get to 7-0 by throwing a well-time wink at the refs.
That said, Matt Ryan is taking his team's success in stride. He knows what can happen if you peak during the regular season. He's playing to get in the playoffs. But he's also playing to succeed in the playoffs. Give this a read.
"You get caught up in all the 'what ifs' about what could happen and where you'll end up at the end of the season and it's all a distraction," Ryan acknowledged. "It doesn't actually help you get there and it takes away from your concentration. It's a cliché, but you find out that it's really true. If you just keep your focus, you're going to be fine."
You'd expect him to say that. It's a response front offices love. Project humility. Don't get ahead of yourself. Maintain professionalism.
Maybe I'm just a homer, but I really believe Ryan. I really really really do. Really. He's the leading MVP candidate, but all the credit he's garnered goes right out the window if we lose in the first round of the playoffs. Sure, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers stumbled around like Dave after free shots night at Chili's before eventually finding playoff success. But he's Matty Ice. He's the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. Much is expected of him. Or something like that [insert skeptical glare].
Look, I don't know why people expect so much from Ryan, just like I don't understand why Caleb obsesses over his Pokemon cards. It is what it is.
In any case, Ryan is up against it. Right now, everything is rosy. Right now, he's Alex on meatloaf night. Couldn't be happier. But he won't put that out there. He won't act like it's getting to him. Nay! Keep it cool. Keep it humble.