Major X Factors for Ravens: Joe Flacco and Ed Reed

Brad JamesCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2009

Watch out for Joe Flacco and Ed Reed.

If I'm Jeff Fisher, this is the image I've conveyed to my Tennessee Titans squad as I begin preparations for Saturday's AFC Divisional playoff.

While Joe Flacco's stats weren't anything to write home about in Sunday's Wild Card victory against the Miami Dolphins, he made big throws whenever called upon and most importantly, he did not commit any turnovers.

As for Reed, his reputation precedes him. In his latest display of magnificence, he returned an interception 64 yards for the score that enabled the Ravens to seize control of the game.

In the words of New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison during his cameo as an NFL Network analyst, Reed "is an offensive player playing defense."

Meanwhile, Flacco's impressive size at 6'6" and 230 pounds instantaneously makes him an imposing figure for opposing defenses and the fact that he is not afraid to gain the tough yards (such as on his five-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter at Miami) enables Baltimore to have yet another weapon.

I do pride myself on being somewhat of an amateur NFL historian and there are so many similarities between the Ravens of 2000 and this year's rendition.

For starters, Baltimore has entered the playoffs as the most dangerous AFC Wild Card, just as they were when they ran through the postseason in their championship year (this time around, the Dolphins were the punching bag rather than my beloved Broncos).

In the divisional round in 2000, they faced the Titans in Nashville, just as they are doing this season.

If the Chargers and Ravens both win, Baltimore will go to California for the AFC Championship game, just as they did when they smacked the Raiders around.

Of course, waiting for them in Super Bowl XXXV was none other than the New York Giants and I think the chances are pretty good that this could happen again.

Oddly enough, the Super Bowl will also be in Tampa, the same site where the Ravens beat down the G-Men eight years ago.

With that said, Baltimore has the athleticism and toughness, primarily because of Flacco and Reed, to emulate their run of 2000.

Therefore, in closing, I wish the Titans good luck as they're going to need it.