NFL Playoffs: Baltimore Ravens Can Still Contend If Flacco Can Get Back on Track

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 30: Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens watches from the bench during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It's playoff football time in the NFL.

Wild Card games will kick off on Saturday with the Cincinnati Bengals taking on the Houston Texans and the Minnesota Vikings paying a visit to Green Bay to tee off with the Packers.

Perhaps the most intriguing game of Wild Card Weekend, however, will be Sunday afternoon's tilt between the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts.

Luckily for Baltimore, the game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium, where they seem to be a much better team.

Offensively, the Ravens are a different team when they play at home, as opposed to having to deal with opposing fans.

Much of this has to do with the play of Joe Flacco, who's home and road splits are like night and day.

That's why the success of the Ravens in the playoffs will rely heavily on the play of Flacco.

If the Ravens should beat the Indianapolis Colts come Sunday, this team will be on the road next week to play in the divisional round.

While they may have beaten the New England Patriots at home earlier this season, there is no way that they can come out of Foxboro with a win if Joe Flacco only throws for 182 yards and one touchdown to go with one interception (as has been the norm for him away from home this year).

See, this season's playoff hopes ultimately come down to which Joe Flacco will show up in the postseason.

Over the course of his career, Flacco's numbers haven't been all that great in the postseason, yet the Ravens have found a way to come out with the win regardless (thanks primarily to a strong defense).

With the defense struggling more than usual this season, Flacco's play on offense will have to take a step forward if Baltimore hopes to win a playoff game for the fifth consecutive season and make a run for the Super Bowl.