(honestly, it’s like a Sophie’s Choice between two derp face QB’s)
|—||Joe Flacco, confirming what I’ve suspected about Ray Lewis and his speeches for years.|
The NFL playoffs always come down to quarterback matchups. Let’s look at these guys head-to-head, starting with Peyton Manning vs. Joe Flacco, AKA Denver vs. Baltimore.
Saturday Night Live:
Home city role model:
Really good at:
By a 4-3 count, the matchup goes to Peyton Manning. It’s just science.
Ravens at Broncos: Legacies
Read an interesting stat tonight: in his playoff career, Peyton Manning is 0-3 in games below 40 degrees, with one touchdown and seven interceptions. Although, all three of them came on the road, and two of them were in Foxboro, so the competition might’ve played a bigger factor than the thermometer.
Take away his two Super Bowl runs (one resulting in a ring), and the underrated part of Manning’s career narrative in the post-season is that: he just hasn’t been that good. Not all the time.
But then you fold all of that into what’s happened this season. From four neck surgeries to a front-runner for MVP (in a world where Adrian Peterson didn’t have an even better comeback story), it almost feels like Manning’s season deserves more attention that we’ve given it.
He’s turned Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker into elite wide receivers, and the defense has strengthened as the season’s gone on.
The schedule? Not exactly a hard road to the post-season, so as you keep picking apart every detail behind Manning and his team, you can see why they might seem like a vulnerable one seed at home.
But the Ravens had their Super Bowl last week for Ray Lewis, and I’m not sure if Anquan Boldin is going to be a superhero every week in these playoffs. The defense made plays last week and flashed glimpses of their former self, but then you remember that Manning has won 9 straight games against this team, this defense.
Brain against brawn, and all that other stuff. When it comes down to it, I wish I could provide you with a complete breakdown of everything, but I really want to see Manning’s story end with a hometown Super Bowl game in New Orleans.
This is not just a playoff run for Manning. This is about legacy. Two Super Bowl wins would make elevate the conversation for Manning’s greatness. Funny how one of the greatest of all-time at his position is still chasing something more at this stage in his career, and doing so as the front-runner in the AFC.
Broncos win 28-10.
What does everybody think?
Colts at Ravens: The Intangibles Bowl
The main storyline was clear heading into the divisional round match-up between the Colts and Ravens: #CHUCKSTRONG.
It went from a hashtag, to a movement, to a full blown playoff rally cry for the Indianapolis Colts, who really did win 11 games this season. Curtis Painter, we barely remember you.
But by mid-week, with news that Ray Lewis will be retiring after the season, the whole intangibles meter swung a bit back to the home team. Here stands their leader, win or lose this week, likely playing in his final game in Baltimore.
Despite the inconsistency of the Ravens all year, and a defense that is more reputation than performance at this point, you have to figure that Lewis’ swan song and the home field advantage will matter.
Everyone’s excited for this one, except for Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who continues to just stare at something in the far distance, we’re just not sure what.
Speaking of legacies, welcome back to the spotlight Joe Flacco. He is elite, in a fleeting, once in a while type of way. He can amaze. He has amazed. But he’s incredibly frustrating as well. Which kind of describes the last decade of Ravens football. A few solid regular seasons, a couple of divisional titles (back to back AFC North champions), but whether it be the Steelers, their own kicker, or the Steelers again, that second Super Bowl appearance has eluded Lewis and crew.
But under John Harbaugh, they have yet to go one-and-done in the post-season.
The Colts have been a wonderful story, but they’re also faced one of (the?) easiest schedule of the season and been incredible in close games. I’m starting to sound like Bill Barnwell.
But it feels like this is what happens: Joe Flacco shows glimpses of being great again, the defense rises one more time, the rookie quarterback gets an important road playoff lesson for the future, and yes, Jim Caldwell will even crack a smile at the end of the game.
Ravens win 34-10.
It’s halftime at Foxboro and the Patriots are up 13-10 on the Ravens.
Surprisingly, the key to today’s game has been New England’s ground attack and Flacco’s passing.
How does it end!?
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
1. What do I do if I own anyone on the Baltimore Ravens?
Well, this week you’re going to play them. This Baltimore team is going to be mad after embarrassing themselves on Monday night. An angry Baltimore team comes home to face the Arizona Cardinals. They are going to use Ray Rice a lot after all that talk this week. Joe Flacco should hopefully get his act together but nobody can blame you if you benched him this week. They should show up big against the Cards, it’s been some time since the Ravens lost back to back games. Now, the following week… that’s a different story.
2. DeMarco Murray, real deal or one week wonder?
There is not a very large sample size to base this off of but how do you not like what you saw out of DeMarco Murray last week. Sure it was against a terrible Rams defense but he got something like the 9th most rushing yards in a game in history. And it’s not like the Cowboys offensive lines is none for being best in the league. Dude looks good you probably got to play him until Felix Jones comes back and he starts splitting carries.
3. Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow?
I hear ya, another miracle comeback. The Chosen One gets the Lions this weekend. A lot of fuss has been made about how teams can run on the Lions. It looks like that is true but with Willis McGahee out with a hand injury that leaves Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball. Do you see Moreno running wild? Meanwhile the Lions pass de has been pretty great. Combine the two and it doesn’t look like a good matchup for Tebow. With that said, how do you go against him? He’s not a good quarterback but he makes magic happen.
4. Do I give up on Chris Johnson?
In a word, yes. Chris Johnson is having a bad year. He’s gotta be out of shape, hurt, or his pockets are too heavy. He’s called out the offensive line so maybe that’s the issue. Javon Ringer isn’t lighting the world on fire but he seems to show more play making ability than Johnson. He has a great matchup this weekend against the Colts but even if he blows up this weekend and has a good game it’ll be one week. He’s not the guy you thought you were drafting. Unless you thought you were drafting a guy who would put up under 10 fantasy points each week. I’m with you. He’s on my team too, we need a support group.
5. What do I do with Philip Rivers?
Not sure what Cry Me a Philip Rivers deal is. Living on the East Coast I don’t get to see many Chargers games. What I do know is that Phil is having the worse season of his career. Or maybe worse since his first season as the starting. He can’t be this bad. If you have him you probably have to stick it out unless you have a decent replacement. You’re not going to be able to pick anyone up of the wire that you’ll play over him. On the flip side, if there is an owner in your league that is sick of his shenanigans and you think he can be had, he’s gotta be worth the pickup.
Ravens fans, between me and you, it must’ve crossed your mind tonight that it might not have been a bad idea to bring back Tony Banks.
Joe Flacco < Shane Falco
In only one half of work against the Dallas Ropers (to make the playoffs mind you) Shane Falco brought the Washington Sentinels back from an 0-17 hole. He threw for +/-200 yards and three touchdowns. Also worth mentioning, he rushed 32 yards for what would have been a game winning touchdown off a fake field goal if not called back for flag.
In four whole quarters against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Joe Flacco only threw for 305 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and a fumble. He also rushed for -1 yard and had a goal line QB sneak. Pathetic.
Joe Flacco is no Shane Falco.