GREEN BAY – When Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan take the field together, impressive quarterback play is the rule and not the exception.
So even with health questions at receiver for both teams heading into Monday night's matchup at Lambeau Field, it's a good bet Rodgers and Ryan and their three combined NFL MVP awards will put on a good show.
The two accomplished QBs have done so plenty dating all the way back to their inaugural meeting in 2008, Rodgers' first year as a starter and Ryan's rookie season. The Falcons pulled out a 27-24 nail-biter, in part thanks to a late interception thrown by Rodgers.
That result has held up as the one-game advantage Ryan still maintains in their head-to-head battles. He holds a 5-4 edge as Rodgers' most frequent non-NFC North quarterback counterpart throughout his career. Monday's 10th meeting, including playoffs, puts Ryan two games ahead of Seattle's Russell Wilson, who has squared off with Rodgers eight times.
By the way, Rodgers has thrown just two more interceptions in the succeeding eight games against Ryan and the Falcons since that initial meeting 12 years ago, just one of many statistics reflecting how good these two have performed as adversaries.
Here are the cumulative numbers for both quarterbacks through the nine games.
Ryan: 204-297, 68.9%, 2,313 yards, 20 TDs, 7 INTs, 104.4 rating
Rodgers: 241-348, 69.3%, 2,818 yards, 23 TDs, 3 INTs, 112.0 rating
Their completion percentages are almost identical. So are their yards per completion (11.3 for Ryan, 11.7 for Rodgers). Their passer ratings are both in triple digits.
It doesn't get much better, or much more even, than that, especially with such a large sample size.
Fittingly, the biggest stages have brought out the best in someone. The two playoff meetings have featured the best game for each QB against the other.
In the 2010 NFC Divisional playoff, Rodgers was simply spectacular. He dodged sacks, threw darts and carved up the Falcons by going 31-for-36, 366 yards and three TDs. His 136.8 passer rating that unforgettable night is not only his best ever against the Falcons, it's his best in 18 career playoff starts.
"That was a fun night for sure," Rodgers said this week, when asked to reminisce a little bit. "Personally I got into a rhythm and felt great inside the pocket and outside the pocket, and I just felt like it was going to be really tough to sack me that night. Made the most of multiple opportunities where it looked like I was dead to rights.
"It was just kind of a steamroll."
Ryan returned the favor, of course, in the 2016 NFC title game, shredding the Packers to the tune of 27-for-38, 392 yards and four TDs. His 139.4 passer rating that day is his best against Green Bay and ranks second in his 10 playoff starts behind only the ensuing Super Bowl, where his incredible 144.1 rating is long forgotten due to Atlanta blowing a big second-half lead and losing in overtime.
The similarities from those two playoff meetings are almost eerie. The passer ratings, 136.8 and 139.4, as well as the final scores, 48-21 and 44-21, nearly match. Rodgers' otherworldly performance was the prelude to the first of his two MVPs in 2011. Ryan's dynamite outing capped his MVP season of 2016.
And then there's the last time the two met on Monday Night Football, in 2014 at Lambeau Field, when the scoreboard lit up with 80 total points in a 43-37 Green Bay victory. Rodgers and Ryan combined for 702 passing yards and seven TDs for a collective passer rating of 120.0. Seemingly all in a night's work for these two.
So, what does the latest installation of Rodgers-Ryan have in store? It's certainly worth tuning in to find out. The quarterback play will be good. How good will determine how memorable meeting No. 10 becomes.