At 4-0 on the season, the Atlanta Falcons are proving themselves to be one of the most consistent teams in the National Football League. They have one of the best overall offensive units in the league and a steady defense that makes the big plays when needed. The offense is led by Matt Ryan, who with the new offensive scheme, has turned himself into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He isn't flashy like some of the other quarterbacks, but as he has shown during the first 66 games of his career that he is hard to stop.
Through four games, Ryan has led the Falcons with tremendous accuracy, lack of turnovers and of course, late game rallies. He is currently tied for sixth in the league in passing yards (1,162), second in completion percentage (69.4) and touchdowns (11), and has the best quarterback rating (112.1). His opening month performance was rewarded when the NFL named him the NFC Offensive Player of the Month.
During the first four seasons of his career, the Falcons looked to run the ball with Michael Turner first, and then let Ryan pass second. At times, that strategy worked, but as we all saw in the playoffs last season, running ball on fourth-and-one twice against a shutdown defense like the New York Giants isn't always the best way to go. Had Mike Smith and the Falcons trusted Ryan to run the no-huddle offense last season, who knows what could have happened.
With a 0-3 record in the playoffs and the media ripping on him, something clicked in Ryan. It is too early to tell what will happen should the Falcons reach the playoffs this season, but with his current mindset and the way the offense is clicking on every level, this may be the team to beat in the NFC and that is because of the former Boston College standout. Just like every other team in the league, his ability to stay healthy will be vital to their success, but with just two games missed thus far, that shouldn't be on the mind of the fans.
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Hobson Lopes is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons, thanks to Deion Sanders and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.