Atlanta's 2019 Schedule Could Point to Matt Ryan and Falcons Outperforming Their Expectations

Dan Israeli
New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons / Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a disappointing 2018 season, finishing 7-9 and missing out on the playoffs. The team is now two years removed from their heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl LI, in which they blew a 28-3 third quarter lead to the New England Patriots.

The team will be hoping for a bounce-back year in 2019, and one thing particularly working in their favor, for both betting and fantasy football purposes, is their dome-heavy regular season schedule.

The Falcons will play a staggering 13 games indoors this season, which could result in very positive results for Matt Ryan and his offense. Ryan has played significantly better indoors over his career, which includes his home games currently being played under the dome at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (which has a retractable roof).

Ryan has a higher QB Rating, passing yardage per game, completion percentage and yards per attempt while playing indoors, over the course of his 11-year career. In addition to playing 13 games indoors in 2019, the Falcons three outdoors games will be played in warm-weather locations (Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Carolina), meaning Ryan could avoid the cold all season long.

With the very favorable schedule ahead of them, the Falcons are primed to exceed a lot of projections for the 2019 season. They currently have an over/under of just 8.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook, with odds for the over listed at -135. The Falcons are also underdogs to win the NFC South at +320, trailing the favored Saints (-170).

For fantasy football purposes, Matt Ryan is currently the QB6 according to average draft position (ADP), despite finishing last season as the QB2. In addition to playing a wide majority of his games indoors, Ryan will also benefit from an extra year with breakout rookie WR Calvin Ridley, as well as the return of starting RB Devonta Freeman from injury.

There are even more reasons for optimism, as the Falcons will welcome back some key players on defense who dealt with injury in 2018, including Deion Jones and Keanu Neal. The team also stocked up at offensive line in April's NFL Draft and in free agency, and have the all-around weapons to make some serious noise in the NFC South, and possibly beyond, this year.

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