Matt Ryan will be on the field Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons face the Saints in New Orleans, head coach Dan Quinn announced on Friday. Ryan, the Falcons’ veteran quarterback, saw his 154-game consecutive starts streak snapped in Week 8 after sustaining an ankle sprain during Atlanta’s Week 7 loss to the Rams

After being forced to watch the Falcons’ Week 8 loss to the Seahawks from the sideline, Ryan spent the Falcons’ bye week working on his recovery. Ryan, the league’s MVP in 2016, currently leads the NFL with a 70.9 percent completion rate. He also has a 15:8 touchdown to interception ratio. 

“I feel good,” Ryan said earlier this week, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m feeling a little bit better every day. That’s what you do when you have something like this, you just try and focus on daily improvement and try to get back to yourself as fast as possible. I’m feeling pretty good.”

Sunday’s game will feature two of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history in Ryan and Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards. Brees, who is also third all-time in career touchdown passes, returned to action in Week 8 after missing five games with a thumb injury. Brees threw three touchdown passes in his return, a 31-9 win over the Cardinals as the Saints improved to 7-1 entering their bye week. 

While Brees is trying to lead the Saints back to the NFC Championship Game, Ryan, who is 11th all-time in both career passing yards and touchdown passes, is trying to help the Falcons snap their six-game losing streak. While the Falcons’ offense has had their issues (they are currently 21st in the NFL in scoring and 29th in rushing), Atlanta’s defense has been arguably the worst in football trough eight games. Entering Sunday’s game, the Falcons’ defense is 30th in the NFL in scoring, 32nd on third down and 31st in the red zone. 

Slow starts have also plagued the Falcons, as Atlanta has been outscored 144-50 in the first halves of games this season.  

“It’s a daily thing, and when you do it over and over, it becomes a habit,” Ryan said about how the Falcons can overcome their slow start. “When you have good habits you produce good things. To me, it has to become habitual for us, and we have to do a great job of focusing and getting locked in day-in and day-out.”

A division rivalry that is typically close doesn’t profile to be in Week 10 of the 2019 season.

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