X-factor: Ryan is 9-16 against the Saints

120620 ATLANTA: Matt Ryan completes a pass under pressure against the Saints during the 4th quarter in a NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Atlanta.  “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
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120620 ATLANTA: Matt Ryan completes a pass under pressure against the Saints during the 4th quarter in a NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

FLOWERY BRANCH -- In recent matchups, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has struggled against the Saints.

Ryan and the play of the offensive line will be the X-factor when the Falcons (3-4) face the Saints (5-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Caesars Superdome in general manager Terry Fontenot’s first return to his old stomping grounds.

Ryan, who will be without wide receiver Calvin Ridley (personal matter), had his lowest passer rating (67.8) of the season in the 19-13 loss to Carolina on Sunday.

It was his lowest since he had a 48.5 in a 24-9 loss to the Saints on Nov. 22 last season. He had another sub-100 passer rating against the Saints in the 21-16 loss Dec. 6.

Overall, Ryan has completed 616 of 958 passes (64.3%) for 7,353 yards (294.1) and 44 touchdowns and 18 interceptions against the Saints. He has a cumulative passer rating of 95.1 against the Saints.

In 12 of the matchups, Ryan has passed for at least 300 yards.

If Ryan passes for at least 300 yards in this game, he would tie Philip Rivers (73) for the fourth-most games with at least 300 passing yards in NFL history.

Ryan is 9-16 against the Saints over his career. He missed one game against the Saints in 2009 with a severe turf-toe injury.

He has a great deal of respect for Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

“He’s a good player, physical, does a great job getting hands on guys, disrupting releases, has good ball skills, can run,” Ryan said. “He’s a good player.”

In the Falcons’ past four wins over the Saints, Ryan has been sacked only four times. In the past six losses, he’s been sacked 34 times.

“They do a great job in their front four, front seven of creating pressure and getting home,” Ryan said. “Those guys play aggressive on the outside.”

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Atlanta Falcons Schedule

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Next Four Games

Falcons at Saints, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7

Falcons at Cowboys, 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14

Patriots at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18

Falcons at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28

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