Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan insists that his team “has to start winning this week” when they take on the Detroit Lions at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After a promising 2-1 start to the year, the injury-hit Falcons have lost four games in a row to fall to 2-5 on the season but remain within touching distance of the 3-3-1 Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.
Pro Bowl quarterback Ryan told BritViewNFL: “We’re at a point in the season where we’re going to have to win. We feel like we have to start winning this week.
“In our division, there is reason to be optimistic. As bad and as ugly as it has been in the past couple of weeks, we’re still right in the mix and that’s one of the reasons why I feel there is a lot of optimism and energy within our building.”
Despite sending five key offensive linemen to injured reserve this season, the Falcons remain a dangerous offense. They are ranked fifth in the NFL in passing yards and seventh in total offense. Sunday’s ‘Wake up to Wembley’ encounter with Detroit should provide quite a challenge as the Lions boast the NFL’s top-ranked defense.
Ryan said: “Detroit are very good defensively. Statistically, they are among the tops in the league in pretty much every category. Their front seven is really good – they’ve even had some injuries at the linebacker position but have replaced some of their starters with good players.
“Some of the premier defensive linemen in the game are on their team. Ndamukong Suh is a very good player and is playing at a high level. We’re going to have to be solid up front, we really are. We will have to put together a good plan to work out where those guys are and that’s what we’re working on right now.”
Despite hitting a rough patch with consecutive losses to Minnesota, New York Giants, Chicago and Baltimore, the Falcons are in high spirits while practising in the UK, according to their team leader and starting quarterback.
Ryan concluded: “Our guys have the right mind-set and now it’s time to go out and play like we’re capable of in all three phases. We’ve played well at different times of the season but we’ve not put it together consistently. Offensively, we need to play better than we have.”