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Matt Ryan: Playing on Thanksgiving is what you dream about

Matt Ryan and the Falcons will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday night to take on the New Orleans Saints for a Thanksgiving Day showdown.

This will be second consecutive year the Falcons (3-7) and Saints (9-2) have played each other on Thanksgiving night. The Falcons are hoping for a different outcome this time around as they fell to the Saints 31-17 on Thanksgiving last year.


"Everybody is watching," Ryan said of playing on the holiday. "It's a great stage for us to be on, a lot of fun. This is the stuff you dream about when you're a kid, playing in these games on Thanksgiving night. It's going to be a lot of fun and a great atmosphere."

Hopeful to get 'dynamic' Freeman back

The Falcons have been without their starting running back for the last two games as Devonta Freeman has been dealing with a knee injury.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he expects Freeman to return to practice this week in a limited fashion.

Freeman's availability for Thursday's game will be decided later on in the week, but Ryan and the rest of Atlanta's offense is hoping he can return.

"He's a dynamic player and does a lot things for us," Ryan said. "We'll see where he's at later in the week but any time you have the opportunity to get a player like that back it helps you. He's able to create plays for us in the run game and pass game and has the ability to create those explosive plays any time."

Freeman has 107 carries for 317 yards and zero touchdowns for the Falcons so far on the year.

Confident offensive line will 'bounce back'

The Falcons' offensive line played one of their worst games of the season in the 35-22 loss to the Buccaneers.

Ryan was sacked a season-high six times and Atlanta was unable to establish anything in the run game. The Falcons mustered just 57 yards on the ground. With just a few days to recover, Ryan believes his offensive line will rebound and play "really well."

"It happens in this league … there's good players all over the place," Ryan said. "You're always a week away from getting humbled. That's something I learned when I was young. My thing is, stay confident and those guys will. You bounce back, you flush these things out of your system as a professional and you move on. [You] have confidence that you will play well next week and those guys will."

Quarterback Matt Ryan agreed to terms on a five-year extension Thursday, ensuring that his mark on the franchise and history books will continue. Take a look back at some of our favorite photos from Ryan's career.

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