WATCH: Matt Ryan, Drew Brees both returning in time to extend longest-running QB matchup

Dave Holcomb

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan returned to practice Wednesday. Although he was limited with the team still calling him day-to-day, all signs point to Ryan returning this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Last Sunday, Saints signal caller Drew Brees returned from a thumb injury that kept him out for five games. He dazzled in his return with 373 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Both quarterbacks are back just in time to meet each other for a record 22nd time. No other two signal callers in league history have squared off more than 18 times.

While each quarterback has dealt with injuries this season, the health of Ryan and Brees over the years can receive the most credit for this record. Ryan hadn't missed a game since 2009 before two weeks ago, and Brees had sat out only once due to injury with the Saints before Week 3 of 2019.

Ryan's toe injury in December 2009 was the last time either of these two signal callers missed a game against each other. Assuming both play this weekend and then can suit up again in 18 days on Thanksgiving, Ryan and Brees will have started every Falcons-Saints game of the decade.

That means after this Sunday, Ryan and Brees will have faced each other more this decade than any other quarterback duo has in NFL history.

Brees leads the all-time series against Ryan 13-8. Entering as nearly two-touchdown favorites, it would be a huge surprise if Brees doesn't earn his 14th victory against Ryan on Sunday, but even so, NFL fans everywhere should be able to enjoy this quarterback matchup.

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