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A few Falcons can still push their way up the NFL leaderboards with three games to go

Julio Jones, Matt Ryan and...Robert Alford are among those who can go

Atlanta Falcons v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Falcons don’t have much to celebrate right now, but they do have some players making a little history the rest of the way, and I thought some of you might appreciate taking a closer look at that. So, um, here’s your history in the making.

Matt Ryan

With a great three game stretch, Ryan has an outside chance to jump up to 11th in the all-time passing yardage leaderboard, just behind Hall of Famer Warren Moon and just ahead of Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton. If he’s merely mediocre, he should still make it to 12th, as he’s #14 right now and under 400 yards back on Vinny Testaverde and Carson Palmer.

Ryan could make it to 12th on the passing touchdowns leaderboard, too, as he’s currently at 15. He needs just three touchdowns to pass Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas, four to pass Moon, and seven to pass Palmer.

For all-time passer rating, Ryan’s in a dead heat at #9 with Kirk Cousins, which should change over the last three games, however slightly.

As you’ll note, Ryan’s closing in on the top ten all-time across the board. His Hall of Fame case is going to be an absolute slam dunk if he gets a ring, but if not, it’ll be a question of how much the inflated numbers of the current era and his sustained excellent weigh out.

Julio Jones

Julio’s at #49 for receptions with 679, and needs just 11 over the final three games to move to #48 and pass another great Falcons receiver, Terance Mathis. A total of 20 will get him by Gary Clark and 23 will get him by Joey Galloway, but he’s unlikely to snag the 32 he’d need to get past Marques Colston at #45. No matter.

Jones is at 10,483 receiving yards, good for 41st all-time. He’ll pass Keyshawn Johnson with 89 yards—seems like a slam dunk—and can get by former Patriots great Stanley Morgan with 234. Gary Clark and Roddy White (!) are probably out of reach this year at 10,856 and 10,863 yards, respectively, but Julio should finish the year top 40.

He’s way back at a tie for 142 in receiving touchdowns, of course, with quality players like Mark Carrier, Dwight Clark, and Drew Pearson. One more gets him into a tie at 131 with Eric Moulds, Ernest Givens, Laveranues Coles and Jeremy Maclin, two gets him to 123 with Ben Coates, Haywood Jeffires and Wes Welker, and three gets him to 117 with Lynn Swann and James Jones. If you want to be really bold and predict he’ll get four, he can rise as high as 113. From there, it’s a little more uphill heading into next year, but he can try to start making up ground on Demaryius Thomas (62), A.J. Green (63), and Antonio Brown (71).

Julio remains the most productive receiver ever on a per-game basis by yardage, and that won’t change over these final three games.

Matt Bryant

He’s nursing a back injury, so it’s not 100% clear whether he’ll get a shot to keep kicking over the final weeks. If he does, though, he can also make headway on the all-time leaderboard.

Bryant’s at #21 all-time in extra points attempted, one behind Al Del Greco, three behind Mason Crosby, and 16 behind at Leahy. The only active kickers above him besides Crosby are future Hall of Famer Adam Vinatieri (843), Stephen Gostkowski (633), and Sebastian Janikowski (595).

The ageless wonder is 12 overall with 383 field goals made, lurking just three behind the excellent David Ayers. He’s not going to catch Janikowski at 10 (432), Phil Dawson at 8 (441), or Vinatieri (577) at #1, but he’s in line to be one of the great kickers of this era, as you might have suspected.

Oh, and field goal percentage? Money Matt is #8 all-time at 86.06%, lurking just behind Nate Kaeding (86.19%), Dan Bailey (85.33%), and Mike Vanderjagt (86.47%). He could make the top five if he keeps kicking next year, and he’s close enough to the likes of Stephen Hauschka (86.98%), Stephen Gostkowski (87.29%) and Robbie Gould (87.5%) to move all the way up to #2. Justin Tucker, who has nailed a frankly insane 90.48% of his kicks, is way out in front.

Robert Alford

What is he doing here, you demand loudly. Alford’s always been great at piling up defensed passes, a relatively new stat for the NFL’s tracking, and he can cruise further up the leaderboard if he has a solid couple of games at the end of the year.

Alford’s currently tied for #92 overall with 82 career passes defensed, and needs just one to tie Ray Buchanan, two to tie Derrick Brooks and Karlos Dansby, three to tie Sex Boat legend Fred Smoot, and four to get to Malcolm Jenkins and Darius Slay. It’s a reminder that Alford’s done some very good work over the years, no matter how bad his 2018 has been.

Trufant is at #146 with 68 passes defensed, in case you were wondering.

So there are your Falcons making splashes, however small, on the career leaderboard at their positions. Let us know if we missed anyone.