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Falcons 2021 over/under: Matt Ryan touchdowns

Will the veteran quarterback see an uptick in touchdown passes in 2021?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Thirteen seasons within the National Football League has guided veteran quarterback Matt Ryan to 10th all-time in touchdown passes. With his established pace, he is definitely expected to surpass former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning this upcoming season for 9th overall on the all time list. In four of the past five seasons, Ryan has thrown for 26 or more touchdowns, and even with obvious offensive changes this offseason, Ryan is likely to have an equally productive year in that department.

That's assuming some improved offensive line play and a clean bill of health, of course. The “over/under” series by the Falcoholic crew rolls on as we determine what range of touchdown passes Ryan may possibly reach in the 2021 season.

The baseline

For most if not all of his career, Ryan has been able to be a consistent touchdown thrower, all while playing with a number of play callers and schemes. Ryan played about half of the 2020 season without his top target in Julio Jones and had to navigate the offense without a lot from the run game, yet still was able to toss for 26 touchdowns. For the 2021 season, we will set the over/under baseline at 30 passing touchdowns.

The case for the over

I know for some it may be difficult to overlook the departure of Jones to the Tennessee Titans. But once you filter through the smoke a little bit, you will notice that there are a number of weapons at Ryan’s disposal this season that makes the passing element of this offense fairly intriguing. Of course, the lead receiver in the room, Calvin Ridley, is expected to take a step forward this season. So far in his career, he has demonstrated the ability to be a consistent playmaker and will be called upon more frequently by Ryan. There will be an athletic tag team at tight end in Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst, who will provide a collection of talent at the position that Ryan has not had at one time in his career.

Now with Arthur Smith roaming the Falcons sidelines on game days, be mindful of the fact that the Titans were eighth in the NFL last season in touchdown passes with 33. Hold on to the nugget that the Titans were a run dominant offensive unit last season that was second in the NFL in rushing attempts, and even without Derrick Henry, they should be at least improved in Atlanta.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The case for the under

Picking up where I left off, this newly installed scheme has a foundation largely built on the run game to elevate an efficient passing concept. In the last nine seasons for Ryan, he has eclipsed 600 total passes in seven of them. Smith’s two seasons as offensive coordinator for the Titans has netted rankings of 31st and 30th, respectively, in passing attempts. It’s fair to focus on the idea of Smith leaning on the veteran Ryan and the number of weapons at the receiver and tight end spots and believing that the passing game will take on a little more importance. While it may, I don’t foresee Ryan chucking the ball that many times over the course of the season, which may help limit his touchdown passes.

Poll

Will Matt Ryan go over or under 30 touchdown passes in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Over
    (221 votes)
  • 27%
    Under
    (85 votes)
306 votes total Vote Now