IRVING, Texas –The Dallas Cowboys have spent a lot of time talking about trying to "establish a home field advantage" at Cowboys Stadium. That is not something that Matt Ryan has had to worry about since he's been in Atlanta.
Going on his fifth season as a Falcon, Ryan has a staggering .878 winning percentage playing in the Georgia Dome, his actual home record being 29-4. Since he took the reins as the starting quarterback in 2008, Green Bay, New Orleans and Denver are the only three teams to go into Atlanta and leave with a victory.
On Thursday, head coach Jason Garrett talked about the challenge of trying to win in Atlanta.
"Certainly their home field is an advantage to them," Garrett said. "Playing in that dome, it can get loud. And when they're playing well, it can get that much louder. So that will certainly be a challenge for us."
With 17 touchdowns and just six interceptions, and as the quarterback of an undefeated team, Ryan is one of the leading MVP candidates this season. While he has managed to win in every stadium he has played in this year, his career home record puts him in an elite class of quarterbacks. Actually, in terms of his home record, it puts him above an elite class of quarterbacks.
Ryan's home winning percentage is higher than that of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. It is true that Ryan is still in the early stages of his career, but four and a half years is a large enough sample size to warrant credibility. Twenty-nine wins and four losses is no fluke.
His 21-15 record on the road is respectable as well, but certainly implies that Ryan and the Falcons have a significant advantage when playing in Georgia.
Ryan's higher home record is an interesting contrast compared to Tony Romo, who is going into Sunday's game with identical home and away records. Romo is 25-17 in front of his own crowd and opposing fans.
In order to beat Ryan in Atlanta, the Cowboys may have to play their best game yet. Ryan has the most dangerous combination of receivers he has ever had, perhaps the most effective receiving corps in the NFL.
But Garrett has always preached that the Cowboys have to be prepared whether they are playing at home, on the road, "in the parking lot or on the moon."
"We've played in some loud stadiums, in terms of crowd noise, already this year," Garrett said. "We have to make sure we handle it well."