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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Matt Ryan to Julio Jones looking like winning combination

Many fantasy football experts had Matt Ryan and Julio Jones ranked highly entering the NFL season, and the predictions are looking clairvoyant through the first week of the season.

Jones, a first-round pick last year whom the Falcons traded several picks to draft, scored Atlanta’s first two touchdowns of the season on passes from Matt Ryan. The second-year wide receiver was targeted four times on the team’s opening drive and caught three passes for 39 yards, including an 8-yard TD. He was quieter on the team’s third drive as Roddy White caught three passes, but he scored a 14-yard TD.

Jones led the Falcons with 108 yards and two touchdowns in Atlanta’s 40-24 win, and he tied Roddy White for the team lead with six receptions. Ryan went 23/31 for 299 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also ran for 25 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons passed 31 times and only ran it 23 times (including Ryan’s scrambles), which is the type of pass-heavy offense many anticipated for Atlanta this season.

Jones had 54 catches for 959 yards and 8 touchdowns last season, so he already has a quarter of the TDs he scored last year. Jones displayed elite playmaking ability last season, but he was bothered by nagging leg injuries that slowed him. He still managed five 100-yard receiving games and scored in each of the team’s final four games, including two multi-touchdown games. Now that he’s healthy entering the new season, he looks like a difference-maker for Atlanta.

One game is too early to make conclusions about teams or players, but this was a great start for Atlanta. Sure, they were going against Kansas City’s secondary that lost Brandon Carr in the offseason and may have a weak pass defense, but Atlanta’s aerial attack looked strong. I don’t think they’ll be able to score at will against elite defenses, but the Falcons appear to have a passing attack that can light up many defenses.



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