Matt Ryan Carries NFL Postseason Record into Super Bowl

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffJanuary 31, 2017

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 22:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on January 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown for three touchdowns or more in an NFL-record four consecutive playoff games entering Sunday's Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots, per ESPN Stats & Information.

Ryan has tossed seven touchdown passes and no interceptions thus far in the postseason. Only six quarterbacks have tallied more touchdowns without throwing a pick, and each of them won the Super Bowl. Ryan last threw a pick to the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 4, attempting 212 passes since that turnover.

Thanks to Ryan's improvement this season, the Falcons led the league in scoring for the first time in franchise history. The club's 540 points represent the eighth-highest mark in league history.

The other side of the ball hasn't fared as well, however. The Falcons defense ranked 27th in defensive scoring this season, allowing 25.4 points per game. It's the second-worst total ever by a team reaching the Super Bowl.

The defense improved late in the season, allowing 21 points or fewer in five of its last six games. Over that span, the team has averaged 39 points per contest while posting a plus-12 turnover differential—13 takeaways and one giveaway.

While the Falcons enter Sunday's matchup riding a hot streak, they will have to overcome some statistical hurdles to win. The Patriots are one of two teams Ryan has never beaten. The signal-caller is 0-2 against New England in his career, last losing against the club in Week 4 of 2013. It is also the sixth time since the 1970 merger where the top scoring offense (Atlanta) will face the top scoring defense (New England). The top scoring defense won four of the five previous meetings.

In what could be one of the highest-scoring Super Bowls in NFL history, Ryan will look to lead Atlanta to the city's first professional championship since 1995, when the Atlanta Braves won the World Series.

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