So who wins? As a long suffering Falcons fan, it is not usually the Falcons. This year is a bit different. Atlanta has easily the strongest offensive line they've had this century. The roster feels stacked, which is something so foreign to me it almost sound Greek. And the Falcons are far and away the best performing offense in the league. As as a vocal critic of Kyle Shanahan, it hurts my pride to say Shanahan has Matt Ryan firing on all cylinders.
The Falcons are likely to rely on their strong run game against Denver's surprisingly soft run defense. But can Jake Matthews even slow down Von Miller? That's no knock on Jake, just respect for Miller. Shanahan should provide plenty of help blocking, disguise the play, and all of that.
What hasn't been talked about as much? Matt Ryan's quick delivery against the Carolina Panthers. Black and Blue Review broke down 12 passes from last Sunday and Ryan gets rid of the ball lightning quick. Their summary of the record breaking offensive display?
Lack of a pass rush from the front four + blitzers not getting to Ryan + inevitable growing pains in the secondary = these 12 completions.
Ryan has five-step drops and fires off a pass in 2.23 seconds, 1.82 seconds, 2.33 seconds, 2.00 seconds, 2.02 seconds, 2.23 seconds, and three-step drops in 2.08 seconds, 1.92 seconds, 1.73 seconds. There were a few longer drop backs, likely thanks to a lack of pressure, but even including the stats from all 12 passes, the results are awesome: six blitzes, nine five-step drops with an average of 2.44 seconds to throw, and an average of 20.4 yards in the air.
/wipes sweat from brow
/takes cold shower
The main concern Sunday will be Miller. He's usually in the running with J.J. Watt for best defensive player in the league, and we saw in the Super Bowl what happens when he plays against a quarterback that holds onto the football too long. Like way too long. Ryan's quick decisions will hopefully limit Miller's impact on Sunday, thanks in part to these lightning quick throws. If successful enough, Atlanta should be able to balance out their rushing attack and come away with their 4th win.