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Matt Ryan speaks out on facing Buccaneers, Tom Brady in NFC South

Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Falcons, Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become a real threat in the NFC South. In a Zoom interview, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan discussed how adding Tom Brady impacts their matchup with the Bucs and the division as a whole.

“It’s going to be a tough division, no question about it,” Ryan said, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Tom is a great player. Anytime you add a guy who has won that many championships, won that many games, you know he’s going to be tough to beat.”

The Falcons ended 2019 with a 7-9 record. It was a tumultuous campaign that saw them lose safety Keanu Neal for the majority of the season.

Despite making the Super Bowl in 2016, the Falcons have struggled the last couple of years. After making it to the playoffs and to the the Divisional Round in 2017, losing to the Eagles, the Falcons have had two straight years of 7-9 ball.

The Buccaneers had a forgettable year last season, also finishing 7-9, with Jameis Winston going from on-top-of-the-world to seemingly the worst quarterback in a stretch of just a few games. He was the first quarterback ever to throw both 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a single season.

The Buccaneers hope that Brady’s consistency and football IQ will help them get over the hurdle into the playoffs.

Interestingly, Ryan thinks that could be the case.

“Their team was tough last year,” the Falcons QB said. “Their defense was really, really good. Real tough to go against. I expect them to be really good (and a) tough competitor. Same with New Orleans. Same with Carolina. The division has been tough for a long time.”

The NFC South has been one of the best and most competitive divisions in recent years, sending three of the four teams to the playoffs in 2017. Ryan thinks this could happen again this season if the Falcons can improve.

“I think it’s about us, though,” Matt Ryan added. “The mindset is that we have to have, is that we (must) have ourselves prepared and be ready to go.”

“I have the belief that we are right there with all of those teams. They have to deal with us as well. We create a number of issues for these teams to go against. If we play our best, we can go toe-to-toe with anyone, any week.”