If there’s one statistic that is all over the map for Matt Ryan, it’s his yearly touchdown totals. For whatever reason, this stat ranges from 16 (his rookie year) all the way up to 38 (his MVP year) with a lot of variance in between. With guys like Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst all running routes for him this year, there’s reason to believe Ryan can hit the higher side again. Let’s break it down.
Over his career, Ryan has averaged about 27 touchdowns per year. Since 2012, those totals have been 32, 26, 28, 21, 38, 20, 35, 26. While he’s only hit 30 or more 3 times in that span, he’s only dipped below 26 twice - both were his first year under a new coordinator (Shanahan in 2015 and Sarkisian in 2017). Given that his lifetime average is 27 and he’s pretty consistent about hitting 26 or more, we’re going to set the baseline at 28.5. He hit 26 last year having missed a game, so this seems like a very reasonable target for Dirk Koetter part 2.
The case for the over
While Ryan has only hit 30 or more touchdowns three times, he has been in the mid-high 20s for most of his career. In his 12 seasons, he has hit 26 touchdowns or more 8 times. Outside of his rookie year and the new offenses mentioned above, his only other down season was 2009 - where he missed 2 games due to injury. That’s consistent productivity and there’s no coordinator change coming in 2020. Getting 29 or more touchdowns seems reasonable if he plays all 16 games
The case for the under
While Matt Ryan is more than capable of tossing a boatload of TDs, the team signed Todd Gurley to come in and reignite the running game. Gurley should see a considerable number of red zone rushing attempts and that could definitely dip into the TD total for Ryan. Additionally, two of his favorite targets in the red zone - Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu - are both gone. Will Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst fill those roles completely? That remains to be seen, but this season does have question marks in the passing game - particularly where touchdowns are concerned. If you’re also a believer that the Falcons defense will be improved, they could be protecting leads later into the game, reducing the passing touchdown opportunities as well.
This could be an interesting season for Ryan. The change in his receiving corps and the addition of Gurley could really disrupt the flow of the offense. It’s clear that Dan Quinn wants to run more effectively and that could eat into Ryan’s stats. However, Dirk Koetter has never met a running back he couldn’t make irrelevant. Do you think Ryan breaks the 28.5 target we’ve set?
Over/Under: 2020 Ryan TDs
This poll is closed
He’ll get 29 or more
Give me the under