NFL PLayoffs – Wild Card Weekend 2015

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It’s that time again and while my beloved Giants did not make it this year, I am excited to see if my keen sense of what makes a winning team can make accurate picks this year.  This could come back to backfire, but this is one of those years, where it all seems to add up to me.

Arizona @ Carolina

Probably the most boring of all the match-ups this week, I expect Carolina to pull this one off.  Arizona was on a role at the beginning of the year and despite the injuries at QB, had a defense that could still keep them in the game.  Despite the good defense, they still found it hard to win their last 8 and only pulled of two of them.  On the other side of the coin, let’s face it, Carolina is only here because no one else in the NDC South wanted it more.  It’s a shame that they don’t even have a winning record and they get home field advantage in the first round.  I guess that’s also what makes the NFL great.  The one good thing going for them is the 4 game winning steak that got them here.  Let’s face it, the competition wasn’t all that great in those last games, but then again, Arizona’s offense is no better.  The defense might keep them in this game, but I expect Carolina to eventually pull it off.    Arizona 13, Carolina 20 

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

It’s true, team’s who have squeaked into the playoffs have done well.  It’s true, the Ravens have a decent track record in the playoffs.  It’s true to Ravens looked better in the second half of Week 17s Browns game.  The cold hard reality of it though is the Ravens are still not a good football team.  The last time they beat a team with a winning record this year was Week 2.  Incidentally, it was the only time.  Put that together with the fact that they struggled to beat the teams with bad records and I just cannot feel good about this team.  The good news is that team they did beat in Week 2 was Pittsburgh and the history has always shown you can throw what’s on paper out when these two meet.  For Pittsburgh, the loss of Bell will hurt, but not many teams could run efficiently on the Ravens anyway, so as long as Pitt can show the run well, I don’t think that will be as big of factor as perceived.  I also think Pittsburgh knows this and decided to rest Bell for what could be upcoming, when they do need him.  Big Ben has had some great games this year, but also has struggled.  I think neither team has a great defense, but I believe home field advantage and past performance this year gives Pittsburgh the upper hand.  Expect a physical, slow game to start, eventually turning into a shootout.  Ravens 24, Pittsburgh 31

Cincinnati @ Indy

Tough call here – Indy looked better over the second half of the season, but was it just a product of the weak teams they played?  There defense looks better on paper, but I have always felt Cincy had a better D.  Luck, when on, can make you look stupid, but has he really looked good recently?  Bottom line, this is one of the tougher games to call, but I don’t think Cincy has enough of a pass rush to ruin Luck’s day and given the fact Indy has home field and AJ Green might not play, I think Indy pulls this off.  Cincinnati 21, Indy 24  

Detroit @ Dallas

This is my reach pick.  I’m going off the beacon path here and not because I am an ant-Dallas fan.  True, I am not a big fan of Dallas, but even if I liked them remotely, I would be worried here.  Have they exceeded expectations in all realms this year – yes.  Is Romo at his best – probably.  Murray healthy and looking unstoppable – yep.  So why do I think it ends here – because they are due for a letdown and Detroit has what it takes to hand it to them.  Stafford and Johnson at their best can beat anyone and Dallas does not exactly have a lights out secondary.  Detroit’s defense, is better and I think they can hold Murray and company in check.  Will Dallas put up points – yes, but so will Detroit and now that everyone already has Dallas going to the Super Bowl, they have everything to lose.   Detroit 34, Dallas 28

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Ricegate 2014 – Lets not lose sight of the real issue

This Ray Rice incident is getting me infuriated! Not because we are prying into the private lives of the Rices. Not because we didnt’t follow the normal protocol of sweeping it under the rug, but because some people are missing the main point behind all of this – someone did something really bad, his superiors tried to cover it up and everyone in the end got caught.  As a result, we are now trying to set a new precedent that might actually make us a morally better society.

You see, thanks to social media these days, you cannot just sweep anything under the rug.  The power today, is in the hands of the people. The common person now has a venue to voice their opinion and actually get it across, especially when the offending party knows they are doing wrong. This was the catalyst that finally helped move this terrible incident in the right direction. Rice is out and paying for his terrible actions. The NFL is taking harsh actions against other players with similar offenses. Eventually Executives will fall. You see – this is the way it should be. You get paid to play/manage a game – lots of money and then you do something stupid that hurts other people – you don’t deserve to just continue to live your dream. Yes, major corporations get away with stuff, our Government gets away with a lot, but that doesn’t make it right. We need to start somewhere and since entertainment is where people are finding roll models these days, then why not start there.

Let’s take it even further, as to why I am disgusted with this situation. Let’s pretend for a second…let’s pretend Rice does what he does. He feels terrible…the video goes to the proper authorities and those authorities, before even seeing the video are already notified by Rice that this incident happened. The authorities explain to the public that Rice made a horrible mistake and struck his wife (you’re a public figure, the public deserves that much info). They have the video, but to respect the privacy of the parties involved, they are keeping it private. As a punishment, Rice will get help and be suspended indefinitely with a minimum term of one year. The NFL then re-visits the domestic abuse policy and starts throwing the hammer down on other offenders. I bet this turns out a lot better.

Rice’s actions were bad, but the cover up and the way the League and the Ravens organization handled it were outright unacceptable. It’s becoming more and more obvious that both sides deliberately took proactive actions to cover this whole thing up. Not only that but they adamantly responded to the public with even more lies, selling out the Casino and eventually Ray Rice himself – showing in the end, their true colors of everyone for themselves.

To take it further, the icing on the cake was the personal e-mail from the Ravens Owner to all PSL Owners about how sorry they were for not being upfront and not taking the time to investigate this incident, as they should have from the start. He went on to explain in more detail the events that took place, which basically, were more lies. So not only did you lie to the public, but you lied to the very people that throw tons of money your way, wear your colors with the most pride and truly support this organization. You lied directly to our face and for that I am not sure you can be forgiven any time soon.

To those who are against the way this is being handled and think Rice received a bad deal and the Ravens did what anyone else would have done – Think if this was someone who didn’t wear your team colors or play in the NFL, the very venue we go to on Sundays to take our minds off real life problems. Think if this was an average person that did this or better yet someone who did this to your daughter – would your views change? Would you still say this was all acceptable behavior?

The pendulum needs to swing back to basics when it comes to our moral values – here is an opportunity to start moving in the right direction.

 

 

Playoffs 2012 – Division Round

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Wild Card Weekend is past us and here are some quick observations before getting into the Division Round.

Andrew Luck is for real. At the beginning of the season with all the RGIII hype, I made a bold prediction that as good as RGIII is Luck would win a Super Bowl first. After watching Luck first hand, I still say that is the case. While he didn’t throw a TD pass, he threw with confidence and made smart plays.

I wish a lot of the more seasoned players played with the heart of these rookies. I watch Luck and Wilson both make awesome tackles and blocks. Where most QBs would have given up on the play, I watched Luck prevent a pick 6 by chasing the Ravens D player all the way downfield. Wilson made some awesome blocks, which helped Lynch’s cause and in one case, score a TD. RGIII, while not a smart move to play, played through the pain. Again, not a smart move, but a true competitor.

I’m 4-0 in the playoffs so far…

Okay, on to the next round:

Baltimore at Denver – can Baltimore pull off an upset of unthinkable proportions in Denver this weekend – yes. Can the world end the next day – absolutely. Would I bank on either – no. I was at the Ravens game this past weekend. I saw what took place on the field first hand. While the Ravens pulled off the win, they didn’t look that impressive, especially in the first half. In fact, Indy had plenty of opportunities to put themselves in a good position to win. On the other side, the Ravens tried to give the game away a few times with fumbles and poor passing decisions. Add it all up, send it to Denver against a much better defense, an elite QB and an away venue at a high altitude, it all adds up to this one could be over at halftime. With that said, I could see the Ravens keeping this competitive for the first half or so, but unlike last week, they won’t have Luck in this game (haha – I had to say it). Eventually, Manning will get into a groove and pick this team apart like a Baltimorean picks crabs. Keep in mind, Baltimore won’t necessarily lose because Denver is the best playoff team in the mix, but more so because Baltimore is the weakest playoff team left in the mix.

Denver – 34, Baltimore – 20

Green Bay at San Francisco – this one is a tough one to call this weekend. Green Bay definitely looks better on offense and made a mockery of Minnesota last weekend. Of course, it didn’t help that Minnesota had Joe Webb as their QB, but that game isn’t much different with Ponder. I expect this to be a slow moving game at first, but I think the 49ers will eventually get the best of Green Bay’s defense. I also think San Francisco will have more success stopping Green Bay than Green Bay stopping the 49ers.

San Francisco 21, Green Bay 17

Seattle at Atlanta – what happens when you mix the X Factor team of 2012 with the Bye week blues team…you get the biggest upset of the year. Yes, I think this has upset written all over it. Seattle are the Giants and Packers of the last 2 years. They are red hot and ready to strike whoever gets in their way. Atlanta on the other hand has been on cruise control and is due to fail. Matt Ryan has a winless record in the postseason and I feel that this is a team where the bye week will work against it more than it will help. Seattle’s D, their beast like run game and their momentum will help them send the most overrated team of 2012 packing and wondering if Matt Ryan will ever win as many post season games as Tim Tebow.

Seattle 27, Atlanta 14

Houston at New England – this is probably the matchup I struggle with the most this week. Something says Houston can leave with the win this weekend. When you look at Houston on both sides of the field you wonder why they aren’t more dominating. They have one of the best RBs and WRs in the game. They have a great TE and a pretty solid defense. Then I think, they were a dominating team at the beginning of the year. Then they suffered a key injury on defense and they started to stumble a little. New England on the other hand has had some bad games, but for the most part, once again their dominate offense has lifted them into the playoffs as a top 2 seed. Although Houston looked better last week, I think the Patriots will pull this one off. I think Houston makes it close and although my gut says they win, I will stick with the safer bet. I think Foster commands the running game, keeping the ball out of Brady’s hands. I also think Houston has success in the passing game, especially Andre Johnson. This will be closer than people think, but Brady pulls off the win, sending the Patriots to Denver for a classic rematch of Manning vs. Brady…that’s unfortunately, Peyton…not Eli.

New England 31, Houston 28

Look ahead assuming everything goes as plans above:

New England at Denver – old school shoot out has Peyton heading to yet another Super Bowl. Gut check – if Houston pulls off the upset this week, they beat Denver here.

Seattle at San Francisco – sticking with the hot hand and the team with arguably the coolest uniforms in the NFL. Hawks win.

Playoffs 2012

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So my Giants didn’t make the playoffs. Sad, but true because despite them having a letdown season, I really think they could have made another run. The good news is the schedule should treat them better next year and hopefully they can improve on defense.

Of course, there is always a bright side to every story and with the Giants out of the playoff picture, I get to make my playoff predictions. The last time I did this I was pretty dead on with all my picks and successfully picked the Super Bowl teams and winner from the start. Let’s see if I can do it again.

First, lets start with the fact that the field is wide open this year. I would be hard pressed to say there is an out right favorite, although there are certainly teams I feel I would put the money on over others. Even last year, despite being the last team in, many had that feeling the Giants were going to be that surprise team again. I am not getting that feeling this year with anyone in particular, although if I had to peg one, I would say the Seattle or the Ravens have the best chance to be that “surprise”.

As I did the last time around, I will look at each matchup for this week in detail, make my picks and then at the end explain how I see the rest of the weeks play out. I won’t go into much detail on the upcoming weeks, as I will save that for when we actually know who is playing who in the upcoming weeks.

So here we go…Wild Card Weekend:

Minnesota at Green Bay – let’s face it, Green Bay is not as good as they come off to be at times. They lost to Minnesota this past weekend and they have certainly had their ups and downs throughout the year. Here’s the thing though, they haven’t necessarily been firing on all cylinders either. They lost Nelson for most of the year, lost Cobb last week and had some weeks without Clay Matthews. Well, Nelson is back, Cobb should be back and the team should be more whole than they have been in weeks. This combined with a home game rematch in the first round against the team that forced their hand to play this week equals a fired up contender. I think GB comes out firing, taking an early lead and forcing Minnesota to go to the air, which is not their strength. Minnesota might put some points on the board, but I expect Green Bay to repay the favor of having to play this week in this rematch.

Green Bay 34, Minnesota 17

Cincinnati at Houston – boy, Houston has really slowed down since looking like the team to beat in the AFC earlier this year. In this rematch of last year’s wild card matchup, I expect a hotter Cincinnati team to put up a pretty good fight. Cincinnati has the weapons on offense and a much better looking defense of late. Houston on the other hand has been susceptible to the pass and has been struggling to put up points. Even so, I expect them to squeak by Cincinnati, making the difference maker here their home field advantage.

Houston 24, Cincinnati 20

Indianapolis at Baltimore – here is an interesting game. The Colts, led by Andrew Luck have in one year, went from the first draft pick to securing the #5 seed in the AFC. This game is an enigma, simply because the Ravens are also an enigma. I could make a case that the Ravens don’t even belong in the playoffs. They squeaked by bad teams all year, allowing them to secure the AFC North. I could also argue this is the X Factor team to look out for this year. Why? Because they have had everything go their way when they needed it. Because no one expects them to do much. Because they are healthier than ever this year and lastly because Ray Lewis has announced his retirement at a strategically perfect time to rally the troops. Home field advantage is also a huge factor here because simply put, the Ravens are a whole different team when playing at home. The Colts on the other hand have little to lose. Heck, they won 2 games last year – 2 game! Now they are in the playoffs. If the Colts stay in this game, then they have a good chance to pull off the upset.

Luck will not be on the Ravens side this upcoming weekend, but a better defense, a pumped up atmosphere and more experience will overwhelm the rookie QB…I see this one getting out of hand…quickly.

Baltimore 45 Indianapolis 10

Seattle at Washington – so my first impression was Washington could beat Seattle, go to Atlanta and upset the Falcons. After thinking about it though and looking things over, I realized…are the Redskins this good or are they a product of a soft schedule? Now you could make the argument that they had to play most of their division games in the last 2 months, during their winning streak, but it’s not like the division was all that great. Dallas, well…Tony Romo. Eagles…nuff said. And the Giants didn’t exactly look great towards the end…not to mention they only lost by one in that MNF game. I am not taking anything away from Washington; they have come a long way in one year, but I think Seattle is a better team. They have a better defense and matchup pretty evenly on offense. RGIII to Wilson and Morris (who is just as much of that offense as RGIII) to Lynch. The receiving core on both teams are nothing to write home about, but in the end this comes down to who has the better defense and I think Seattle clearly takes the cake.

Seattle 24, Washington 17

So how does it play out next week…here is a glimpse, assuming the above is correct:

Houston @ NE – Look for the Sith Lords to overtake the stumbling Texans in a battle that will come down to Brady throwing for 5 TDs, Arian Foster running for over 150 and Andre Johnson having a career day. As long as Belichick can wear his hoodie, no one outside of the Jedi’s are going to be able to stop him. If the over/under is 75, take the over.

Baltimore @ Denver – As a way to offset Lewis’ publicity stunt, Manning will announce his retirement at the end of the season. Denver will start out slow, giving the Ravens some hope, but the Ravens offense will thin out like the air at Mile High, as the Denver D heats up. Meanwhile Peyton will get into the groove, throw for a few TDs, rescind his retirement at halftime and whisper in Ray Lewis’ ear at the end of the game, I’ll see you on the other side buddy.

Seattle @ Atlanta – Upset of the week. Atlanta realizes they aren’t really that good and having home field advantage means nothing to them in January. Cause of death will be determined as the Bye Week Blues.

Green Bay @ SF – honestly, I could go either way here. First I thought GB, but I am going to go with the team that has the better D and the home field advantage. I see this one being close, but SF will find a way to pull it out.

Awards of the Year thus far:

X Factor Team – Seattle
Most Overhyped/Rated – Washington
Upset Central – Atlanta
Team that will look and say, what happened? – Texans
The Hoodie that Couldie – Mr. B
Best Strategic Publicity Stunt since promoting the Blair Witch movie as a true story – Ray Lewis

To be continued…

The Dream Season

Yesterday’s Super Bowl wraps up another NFL season and how else can I define it for myself other than a Dream Season.  No, my Giants did not win the Super Bowl or for that matter, even make the playoffs, but what a run I had in ever other aspect.  

As a member of three different Fantasy Football Football leagues, I pulled off three championships, responding to my horrible playoffs let-down last year, when I went 1-3 in the Finals. 

Although I did not call it from the start of the season, I called the Super Bowl Champs from the start of the announcement of the playoff seedings.  In fact, I was almost dead-on in the NFC and if I didn’t over analyze the AFC so much and I left my original predictions alone, I would have been pretty dead on there too.   

To cap off the season, I also pulled off an office pool, when at the last-minute, I decided to take 5 blocks instead of my standard four blocks because I had a “gut” feeling.  The good news – Turns out that block was the final score; the bad news – the dog actually was the name I put in that box…I guess I owe him some biscuits.

Super Bowl Prediction

I’ll make this simple, since I have pretty much been staking my claim from the start of the playoffs. The Packers will win this one.  

Let’s look at what happened in the Conference Championship:

The Steelers looked good against the Jets, but I wonder where the Jets defense was in the first quarter, which really set the tone for the rest of the game.  The Steelers showed that they have a decent offense to supplement the great defense. 

The Packers dominated the Bears most of the game, but many might worry that the Bears were able to stay in the game despite losing Jay Cutler.  It might also be worth noting that the Bears had to go with their 3rd string QB!  Bottom line is I think the Packers started to lie down a bit and let the Bears look a little better than they should have towards the end.  I still love the Packers as a whole with the most dynamic offense and defense combo punch.

The Super Bowl should be a pretty good game with two high power defenses playing physical football.  I expect though for the offenses to have opportunities as the defenses keep the game close.  The difference here for me is Green Bay’s offense.  I just like them better.  Big Ben is known to do well in high-profile games, but I still say Aaron Rodgers has more weapons at his disposal and if either of these defense can be beat, it’s in the air. 

24-17  Green Bay

NFL Conference Championship Weekend!!!

So I was 3-1 this past weekend on my Division Championship picks.  Not bad considering the one game I missed could have gone either way and I actually had it right the week prior, but changed my answer based on the new timing of the matchup!  The bottom line is the Ravens could have beaten the Steelers.  The Steelers, as I predicted suffered a bit of the bye week blues, but they were able to recover in the second half, by wiping off the rust and going to town with their high octane defense.  Speaking of defense, the one theme I keep preaching is how the best defenses will always prevail, even over high performing offenses.  There is little argument that the four best defenses of the year are currently in the Conference Championship.  

So with no more delay, lets look at this week’s matchups:

Packers at Bears – no doubt the Bears have an awesome defense and one that has a true home field advantage, with the wintery conditions.  The problem for the Bears in this one is the Packers also have an awesome defense, perhaps even better than the Bears.  Not only do they have a top notch defense, but their offense is, in my opinion, much better.  I would trust Aaron Rodgers anyday over Jay Cutler and Rodgers has more reliable weapons.  The Packers are also use to playing in the outside conditions Chicago will offer and have already provern they can beat the Bears at home.  Despite this game likely being close, I give the Packers the edge and hold to my prediction that they will represent the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl.

Jets vs. Steelers – no one really believed the Jets could beat the Patriots after getting stumped in Foxboro this season, did they?  Yes, well I did and maybe I didn’t think the Jets could originally beat the Colts because they had some issues down the stretch, but it only took that one game for them to make a believer in me again.  Truth be told, I have liked the Jets as the AFC favorite since the start of preseason (My AFC Championship pick in August was Ravens vs. Jets).  They have some of the best defensive talent in the league and are led by a coach who made the Ravens defense what it is know for today.  The Jets are running on all cylinders and I am not sure the Steelers are going to stop them.  With that said, if anyone can stop the Jets, it is the Steelers because they have a very potent defense as well that could make things happen, especially against a younger quarterback like Sanchez.  Big Ben certainly has more experience in big games like this one, but I am still going to say the Jets pull this out and win the AFC, taking their show to Dallas for a shot at the grand prize.

The proof can be in the numbers…

If anyone doubts my statement that defenses win championships, take a look at what I pulled off of NFL.com.  This references the top team defenses in Fantasy Football this year.  I know they are Fantasy Football stats and there is much more to football beyond Fantasy, but still, stats are stats…

Notice anything these teams might all have in common…perhaps, similiar plans this weekend?

Round Two – some bold predictions…

After last Saturday’s matchups, I thought my days of predicting game outcomes was done.  Fortunately, Sunday’s matchups allowed me to somewhat redeem myself.   I now look to add my two cents on what this week’s matchups have in store for us. 

The outcome of the games on Saturday, realigned some of my originally thought out matchups for this week.  As a result, I am going to go back to square-one and look at each matchup individually.  I am also going to throw away stats.  Too many times in Fantasy Football, I would look over stats and read way too much into what the analysts wrote.  Instead of going with my gut feeling, I would make moves based more on numbers and other people’s opinion.  This week, I am going to go with my gut…period. 

AFC

Ravens vs. Steelers – ask me to look at this matchup on paper and I like the Steelers slightly better.  Not because they are at home, but because they have more X-factors.  They have Polamalu, who has been a Ravens killer and Mike Wallace (and Sanders, who is a sleeper here), who could easily make some big plays against, a shaky at times, Ravens secondary.  Since we aren’t going to look deep into the stats, I am going to confess my gut tells me the Ravens can pull this one off.  I admit, I went with the Steelers in this matchup last week, but that was assuming the Ravens had to first go to Foxborough and beat the Patriots.  Given the easy “warmup” win against the Chiefs, I believe the Ravens will go into Pittsburgh warm and ready, while the Steelers could face the “bye week fallout”.  The “bye week fallout” is when a team plays its first matchup in the playoffs, after being on a bye, and is a little rusty, from the week off.  On the other side, the team they face, is warm and coming off a win.  The game will no doubt be physical and close, but I think the Ravens will come out of Steel town with the win. 

Jets vs. Patriots – Originally I thought the only team that could go up to NE and hand the Pats an early ticket out of the playoffs were the Ravens.  This still might very well happen, but it won’t be this week and based on my gut feeling, it won’t happen.  The Jets showed that they still have a top ranking defense, when they held the Colts to 16 points last week.  I also believe, as I posted in my blog last week, that Sanchez and the Jets have faith on their side.  Sanchez was inspired after meeting a boy named Aiden, who recently passed from his battle with cancer and one should never underestimate the effect this has on a person or team.  Most will say the Jets are done with Brady and company set to put another hurting on New York.  I say this game is going to be closer than anyone thinks and that the Jets have a legit chance to win.  Since my original AFC pre-season Championship matchup prediction were the Ravens vs. the Jets, I’ll even go as far to say the Jets win. 

One note to keep in mind if you are a Ravens or even Steelers fan.  I am sure most are rooting for the Jets to beat the Pats, thinking a home matchup against the Jets would be a better matchup.  Buyer beware – if the Jets do indeed go to Foxboro and beat the Pats, they will be walking on water and a force to be reckoned with, no matter where the next game is being played!

NFC

Seattle vs. Bears – Seattle was an enigma for many last week.  I don’t think many people had them beating the Saints or even keeping pace for that matter.  As I posted in my analysis last week, the one thing Seattle had going for them last week was home field advantage.  This week, they do not have that advantage.  What Seattle does have is nothing to lose.  They weren’t suppose to win last week, and no one will really expect them to win this week.  On the other side of the ball, you have a quarterback that can be shaky at times, especially under pressure.  The key for the Bears is to deflate Seattle’s confidence fast.  They need to score first and score again, putting Seattle in a position to throw a lot and giving Chicago’s defense a better opportunity to force turnovers.  If the game starts to go Seattle’s way and Cutler and company have to work quickly to dig themselves out of a hole, Seattle could end up upsetting yet another team.  In this case though, not being home and going up against a much better defense, I do believe Seattle’s road to the bowl ends here.

Packers vs. Falcons – I won’t go into many details on this matchup.  I made it clear last week I didn’t like the Falcons.  I am not impressed and don’t envision them as a number 1 seed (yes, I know, they are the number 1 seed).  I love the Packers.  I have the Packers going all the way.  They have both a dynamic offense and defense.  I love them even more now that James Stark (one of my sleeper picks late this season), finally was given another opportunity to show his ability on the field.  I expect the Falcons to be a bit more ready for Starks, but Green Bay has so many other weapons.  Look for this one to go the Packers way.

Wacco for Flacco?

I recently read a post online where someone asked, is Flacco, of the Baltimore Ravens, a good quarterback.  Since the question was addressed to many Baltimore fans, most of the responses were skewed in Flacco’s favor, as these were Ravens fans responding to the inquiry.  I thought this would make for a good post, since it is not the first time I have heard this question being raised.  As I live in Baltimore, and hold season tickets to the Ravens, I do consider the Ravens my surrogate team (second to the G-Men), but I feel I can put together a fair argument to this question, with little (if any) bias. 

Simply put, I believe Joe Flacco is a good quarterback, but to answer it more accurately, one must first determine the definition of a “good” quarterback.  My definition of a good quarterback is someone I want on my team, which I feel confident in winning games.  I want a quarterback that can adjust to different situations, exploit weaknesses in defenses, manage the game clock, lead his teammates, avoid turnovers or costly mistakes, and most importantly – win games! 

Joe Flacco has done all of those things, but most importantly – won games!  The Ravens, since Flacco came aboard, have made the playoffs three years in a row.  Yes, the Ravens have other factors working in their favor, like a decent defense, and other offensive weapons, but let me ask you this – if Kyle Boller was the quarterback for the Ravens today, and everything else was the same, would the Ravens be as good?  Would they even be in the playoffs?  I doubt it. 

Flacco has shown great poise on the field and doesn’t cost his team many turnovers.  He is not as dynamic as Manning or Brady, but guess what – he doesn’t have to be.  His defense keeps him in games and his offensive coordinator plays a much more conservative game (this has come back to bite them on occasion, but I don’t necessarily blame Flacco).  

I had Flacco in Fantasy Football this year and he certainly didn’t put up 34 fantasy points in any given game.  What he did do is consistently put up 12-20 pts a game.  Consistency is the key in the NFL and Flacco has been consistent. 

I won’t go much into statistics because the graph below (taken from ESPN.com) will speak for itself, but if you want to review the stats, numbers don’t lie – Flacco was seventh in the 2010 Regular Season QB Ratings and again, remember, he only has 3 years experience! 

Most of the arguments against Flacco being a good QB are around the notion that he doesn’t do anything special, or there are games where he throws to only one player, and doesn’t spread the ball around enough.  I thought the point of football was to get a ball made of pigskin 100 yards across a field without being stopped by your opponent?  If that is true, then why does it matter if the ball is spread around?  Many quarterbacks have a favorite target, some to post receivers, some to possession/slot receivers, some to tight ends.  It’s all about matchups and exploiting the defense’s weaknesses.  Some defenses cannot defend over the middle, so why not throw to your slot receiver or tight end all game.  Tom Brady destroyed the Jets this year by throwing 3 TD passes to his TE because the Jets couldn’t prevent it.  Until a defense can show they can defend against a certain area, why stop?  If Flacco can throw to Todd Heap all day and the chains are moving, should he stop and say, you know what, I need to throw over to Boldin and Mason a bit more this game…Peyton Manning’s favorite target is Dallas Clark and no one seems to be downgrading him for it.   True, a good defense will adjust, but then a good quarterback should be able to adjust too.  Flacco did adjust against Atlanta, Pittsburgh and the Jets to name a few good defenses he faced this year, spreading the ball around. 

Another person I’ve heard compared to Flacco is Trent Dilfer.  Flacco is not Trent Dilfer.  Dilfer didn’t lose games for the Ravens, but he didn’t win them either.  He was just there and able to manage the clock and get enough points on the board to allow the defense to do the rest.  In the end though, the defense won the games.  If the Ravens gave up more than 20, panic set in.  With Flacco at the helm, things are different.  Flacco makes plays happen and creates winning situations.  He drove the Ravens down the field within the final two minutes of play during Week 4 of this year’s regular season, in Pittsburgh, to win the game – not sure Dilfer would have done the same thing.  The Ravens with Dilfer in 2000 actually would have probably been better off giving Pittsburgh back the ball and hoping for an interception from the D!

Flacco is on the winning side of the formula, when it comes to winning games.  He has only been in the league a few years and he already has a better win record than many quarterbacks in their first three years.  No, he didn’t throw for 300 plus yards every game and he hasn’t shown the ability to run for over 100, but he has provern to be successful.  In fact, he is going to Pittsburgh this weekend to play the Steelers, in a division championship game (his 3rd Division Championship game in 3 years).  Where are Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Phillip Rivers, who few would argue are good quarterbacks? 

Is Flacco a good quarterback – yes, I think so.