Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco's Play Will Be Key to Victory vs Bengals

Kyle Casey@@kylecasey094Correspondent IIISeptember 4, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 01:  Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws the ball during the NFL game against  the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When the Baltimore Ravens kick off the regular season against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, many things will have to go right for the Ravens to win. 

But one thing is for certain—quarterback Joe Flacco will have to have a flawless game in order for the Ravens to win.

In Flacco's four seasons, he has faced the Bengals eight times. In those eight games, the Ravens are 5-3. But in those three losses (two in 2009, one in 2010), Flacco has been the constant. In all three of the losses, Flacco has thrown at least two interceptions.

In fact, in the game in Cincinnati in 2010, Flacco threw four interceptions in a 15-10 loss. In the five wins against the Bengals, Flacco has had just one or zero interceptions. Winning the turnover battle is one of the key aspects of winning in the NFL, and the stats don't lie when it comes to Flacco against the Bengals.

If Flacco can limit himself to one turnover or less, history shows that the Ravens will win. 

But it's not just the turnover battle that will determine the outcome. Flacco's stats besides turnovers will come into play. 

In the two games against the Bengals in 2011, Flacco threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns. 400 yards over a two game span is impressive for Flacco, and he will need to throw for at least 200 yards on Monday night.

With the newly installed no-huddle offense that Flacco has been given the control of, he can be expected to throw for around 250 yards and two touchdowns.

With 40 pass attempts as a possibility on Monday night, the outcome will fall primarily on Flacco's shoulders. In the past, Flacco hasn't been the key to Baltimore's offense, which is why he generally doesn't receive to credit for a win or the blame for a loss.

But now that he has full control of the offense, both the criticism and praise will be directed towards him.

Facing the up-and-coming Bengals defense won't be an easy task on Monday, but if Flacco can have success, the Ravens will start the season with a victory.