Which is what makes them so intriguing.
The good Falcons were on display Sunday in Atlanta. They played a riveting game with the Green Bay Packers that featured a superb quarterback duel between Ryan and Aaron Rodgers. It was Ryan who struck last, throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu with 31 seconds left to give the Falcons — after kicker Matt Bryant’s extra point — a 33-32 triumph.
Rodgers threw for 246 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception, on 28-for-38 passing for the Packers. Ryan threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns, without an interception, on 28-for-35 passing for the Falcons.
Jones was not at his best, with only three catches for 29 yards for Atlanta. So Ryan turned to Sanu in crunch time, and Sanu came through as the offensive focal point on the game-winning drive.
The Falcons reach the midway point of their season with a record of 5-3. They have a commanding lead in the NFC South, in which no other team has a .500 record. And they should be able to vie with the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings for NFC supremacy.
But with the Falcons, you never can be quite sure. They began this season with four victories in five games, then suffered consecutive defeats to the Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers. That called to mind their folding act of last season, when a 5-0 beginning gave way to a 3-8 finish. A loss Sunday to the Packers would have made a repeat performance seem entirely possible.
Ryan didn’t allow it to happen, however. He is having a magnificent season that puts him in the league most valuable player conversation. He and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan appear totally in sync, something that could not have been said last season.
These Falcons have some staying power.
Or at least that’s what it looks like this week.