I think even the most dour Falcons fan expects the Atlanta offense to be pretty great this year, if indeed they get to play. Matt Ryan will be the key to the whole thing, given that he’s the one throwing the ball, and Dirk Koetter loves to throw the ball.
That’s why it’s not stunning that Ryan is going to be expected to be one of the NFL’s better passers in 2020. After all, he often is. What is stunning is that oddsmaking outfits have his over/under for passing yards at 4,500...tied with Patrick Mahomes for the highest projection in the league.
Pete Watt at OddsChecker explained Ryan’s somewhat surprising odds:
“It’s clear that the books have looked at the Falcons addition of Todd Gurley and his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, as a boost to Matt Ryan’s hopes this year.”
There’s actually nothing all that controversial here. Matt Ryan was 5th in the NFL in passing yards a year ago and has Dirk Koetter coming back, and the team’s addition of Todd Gurley will hopefully make the offense more efficient but isn’t going to dent the offensive coordinator’s love of throwing a ton of passes. Of the players who finished ahead of him, Philip Rivers is a year older and headed to a new team, Jameis Winston is a backup for New Orleans, and lord only knows what Jared Goff will do this year, leaving Dak Prescott as the only sure bet to finish top 5 again. A fully healthy Mahomes is obviously the best bet in the NFL to lead any number of passing categories, but the fact that Ryan’s in the conversation speaks volumes about the perception of this offense, the value of his weapons, and Ryan himself.
Passing yards don’t guarantee success—the Falcons were bad a year ago with a high-volume attack—but a more efficient passing attack that gets plenty of yards will do wonders for Atlanta. Let’s hope Ryan’s up there with Mahomes in 2020.
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