Matt Ryan’s keys to beating Eagles: Falcons’ run game, offensive line changes, Philadelphia’s defense 

Matt Ryan addressed the media ahead of Sunday’s prime-time game against the Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a team Ryan and the Falcons (0-1) are very familiar with.

The Falcons and Eagles have played each other four times since Dan Quinn took over as head coach. Atlanta is 1-3 in those meetings and in the past three games, the Eagles have limited Atlanta’s offense to 12 points a game.

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Here’s what Ryan said the Falcons have to get their first win of the season:

Stay ahead of the chains

The key to success against Philadelphia’s defense is staying on schedule on first and second downs, Ryan said. If the Falcons are able to effectively move the chains, they’ll be able to extend drives and stay on the field longer. Against the Vikings, the Falcons were 2-of-8 on third down.

“More so than anything, I think we have to stay on schedule on offense,” Ryan said. “Stay in front of the chains, make sure that we’re getting first downs on first and second down and believe in ourselves in good third down situations. I think that’s the key to being successful against these guys.”

Be more efficient in run game

The Falcons can’t afford to get off to another slow start. Atlanta’s mistakes early on against the Vikings changed how it would have to attack for the remainder of the game. Dirk Koetter wants a balanced attack between the pass and run game and getting down three scores in first half against Minnesota limited Atlanta’s ability to run the ball.

And that’s not what they want.

“We have to stay ahead of the chains as we’re playing games, and we can’t get behind like we did the other night in order to run the football in the way that we wanted to,” Ryan said. “I thought when we did, we had a couple of nice runs, some things that we did well. We just didn’t have enough opportunities. That’s going to be key for us this Sunday too, is to stay in front of the chains, make sure we’re productive first and second downs so that we keep all of the plays that we have on the table for us.”

Confidence in new right guard

Falcons first-round pick Chris Lindstrom was placed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury against the Vikings. Jamon Brown, who lost the starting left guard job to James Carpenter, will start in place of Lindstrom at right guard.

Ryan is confident in Brown’s ability to step in and perform at a high level.

“I think JB [Jamon Brown] will be good,” Ryan said. “He’s a guy with a lot of experience in this league and has done a nice job for us all throughout the off season. During training camp, he played a lot for us. He’ll be ready to go, I’m sure of that. I know Chris Morgan will do a nice job of getting all of our guys up front prepared and ready for Sunday.”

Preparing for ‘aggressive’ Eagles defense

The Eagles have had the Falcons number in the recent meetings and Ryan is preparing for another battle.

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has a number of talented players to work with starting with Fletcher Cox in the middle of the defensive line and edge players Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett.

Ryan believes this game is going to come down to being physical and controlling what they can control.

“They’re an aggressive defense,” Ryan said. “They play really hard. They play with great effort. I think that’s been a staple of Jim Schwartz’s defenses my entire time in the league. That’s kind of always what he’s gotten out of those guys. It’s just going to come down to us playing physical, being on top of our assignments, making sure that we don’t have mistakes that we don’t need to have and staying on schedule.”

To celebrate QB Matt Ryan, here are a few images of him fired up through the years.

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