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Matt Ryan has a winning record against most 2020 opponents

It’s an encouraging note in what has been, thus far, a very discouraging year.

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Let’s start off with a disclaimer: This is not a spirited argument for using the QB win statistic, which is too often used as a weapon when we know wins and losses are not often solely on the shoulders of the man under center. This is really about the Falcons, and Matt Ryan just happens to be one the one common denominator from 2008-2019 that helps us share something that might make you cautiously optimistic about the season ahead.

That out of the way, let’s talk about that encouraging statistic. Hat tip to Matt Karoly, who rounded these records up:

Ryan currently has a winning record against all but two of the team’s 2020 opponents, which is to say the Falcons have fared well against everyone but Minnesota and New Orleans over the past decade-plus. Those records against Carolina and Tampa Bay are pretty killer, and those are going to be critical games to win this year.

What this tells us is that an up-to-snuff Falcons team can beat these opponents, especially when you consider that Chicago, San Diego, Las Vegas, Denver, and Carolina are all looking like they’ll be weaker opponents in 2020. Even wins against those five teams gets the Falcons in decent shape for the year, and Ryan has also held his own against the Seahawks, Cowboys, Packers, and especially the Lions. If this team even makes incremental improvements—and I believe they have—history suggests they’ll be in pretty good shape this year.

Of course, history is one thing, what’s actually happening today is another. The reality is that Kansas City is a juggernaut with Patrick Mahomes and that feels like a likely loss, the Buccaneers may be far better with Tom Brady, and Green Bay and New Orleans are fresh off stellar seasons, if disappointing postseasons. The history here is encouraging but the actual quality of those teams in the year 2020 is likely to be different enough from even recent meetings that it won’t mean much. Except for the Bucs. The Falcons will always own Tampa Bay.

What are your expectations for 2020, and do these records move the needle at all for you?