On Monday night, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons entered true contender territory. Oh sure, they kind of hit that target in 2010, when they finished atop the NFC’s regular season standings. And, yeah, they were in the playoffs last year. But, right now – tonight – the Atlanta Falcons are for real.
Real, you say? Oh, they’re real. And they’re spectacular.
Matt Ryan has been a gunslinger since he joined Boston College, but Monday night saw Tony Gonzalez take over when Julio Jones or Roddy White couldn’t. Monday night saw the Falcons tame a very capable Denver Broncos offense, and embarrass Peyton Manning. He is still one of the best in the game, regardless of his neck, and Atlanta made him look like a rookie. At least, early on.
But, the impressive thing about Atlanta was their resilience on defence. Ryan, for all his ability, was only able to muster 219 yards, but the other half of his team stepped up in ways they never have before. Seriously. Never. The Falcons are historically allergic to defending, but 2012 appears to be different.
On Monday, the Atlanta Falcons climbed to 2-0, leaping without hesitation to the top of NFC South.
They’ve been convincing, unlike the 2-0 Arizona Cardinals, who we’re all waiting on like they’re Vancouver’s housing market. Pop, pop, pop?
The 49ers have undoubtedly been the best we’ve seen so far, but questions remain around every other challenger. The Giants, Packers, and Bears? All three are 1-1. All three have looked mediocre and then wicked at the same time.
The Eagles? Sure, they’re 2-0, but it didn’t come easy. Not like it has for Atlanta, after all. 9 turnovers? Yeah, right.
The Saints? Forget about it.
The Vikings? Just kidding. Start thinking about Matt Barkley, Minny.
Face it: San Francisco and Atlanta are the best two teams in the NFC right now. And, really, that makes them the best two teams in the National Football League.