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One Falcon To Watch: Matt Ryan

The obvious choice? Maybe.

Scott Cunningham

Normally I'd be inclined to list a running back, because Michael Turner has eaten the Carolina Panthers alive for years now. You could also suggest the defense, which will be tasked with bottling up Cam Newton.

Personally, though, I'm going to be keeping an eye on Matt Ryan.

The reasons for that are plain enough. Ryan has had the worst three game stretch of his season thus far, completing a robust 65% of his passes but also throwing two touchdowns against six interceptions. If you saw him play against the New Orleans Saints, you got the picture of a tentative Ryan who made a few bad throws and struggling to handle the pressure coming at him up the middle.

The next few games will be important for Ryan, who wants to help the Falcons win a playoff game this year. The last three games have torpedoed his MVP chances and left many wondering if he's floundering late in the season or if it's just a lack of time to throw, the latter being the theory I support. You have to figure the Falcons are going to figure out new ways to protect Ryan and get him back to his slinging ways.

Of course, Ryan's floundering (aside from that unlucky/horrible Arizona game) still looks pretty decent. I think he'll wind up blowing the doors off the Panthers today.

Who will you be watching?