Ravens vs. Patriots: Loss Will Prompt Baltimore to Find Joe Flacco's Replacement

Michael MillSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 22, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

There is a lot at stake during today's AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.

The most obvious, of course, is the right to play in the Super Bowl against the winner of the NFC Championship Game.

The not-so obvious, is that quarterback Joe Flacco may be playing for his future in Baltimore.

Whether or not you agree with the criticism of Flacco, you can't deny that this is quickly becoming an issue in Baltimore.

The criticism is so harsh, in fact, that you might confuse this team for one in the New York area.

When the Ravens lose, the blame is placed on Flacco. When they win, it's in spite of the 27-year-old quarterback.

Flacco isn't a terrible quarterback. At the same time, he certainly isn't the best either.

His inconsistent and typically average play has allowed for many to key in on him as the reason for the team's struggles.

The New England Patriots are going to put up points in the game later tonight. Flacco is going to have to match that total.

If he can't, the media and fans will once again place the blame on "Cool Joe."

The organization can only take the heat for so long. Harbaugh can only stand by his guy until a certain point.

Even if the loss isn't Flacco's fault, if fans are calling for his head then a change will have to be considered.

It's unlikely that the team would go out and sign a free agent to take his place, but it's very possible that they will look for a potential replacement in the draft.

Ryan Tannehill will likely be the only quarterback available by the time their pick is reached at the end of the first round.

They could, however, focus on picking up a player in the later rounds like Russell Wilson or Ryan Lindley.

It's unclear whether or not Flacco is the real issue in Baltimore. What is clear, is that he is being made out to be the problem.