Houston Could Have Made the Super Bowl and AFC South Must-Reads

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 21, 2013

Flacco was anything but special against Houston.
Flacco was anything but special against Houston.Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco are going to the Super Bowl.


The league's most average quarterback led a team that finished 10-6 and was destroyed by the Houston Texans all the way to a title shot.

If that doesn't prove anything can happen in the NFL playoffs, nothing will.

There is nothing special about the Ravens. They have no magic formula. They don't have more moxie or guts or talent or anything that the Houston Texans didn't have this season.

They just got hot at the right time. They benefited from sloppy officiating in Denver and played a great game in New England, and just like that they have a chance to win it all.

The Ravens give hope to any team that makes the playoffs. Every team with a mediocre quarterback can look to Flacco for inspiration. Using Pro Football Reference's "plus" system, it's possible to see how quarterbacks measure up to their peers.

For the season and for his career. Joe Flacco is the quintessential "100" quarterback. For the uninitiated, 100 is league average. The Football Outsiders agree. He's completely average.

Baltimore made the Super Bowl because they played much better defense against the Pats than the Texans did, but had several poor calls not gone their way in Denver, they would be sitting at home watching like everyone else.

The Texans and everyone else in the AFC can take heart. If Baltimore can do it, anyone can.


General Interest

Mike Sando of ESPN.com says there's no benefit to icing the kicker.

Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats says penalties matter.

Kirk Goldsberry and Kevin Meers of Grantland debunk the red zone, but Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders has a better explanation.

Chase Stuart of Football Perspective has a nice take on Mike Silver's minority hiring thoughts.

Stuart shows exactly why ranking units by yards is a huge mistake.

Ben Austro of Football Zebras asks why the NFL adjusted grades for a key official.

Scott Kacsmar and Kyle Rodriguez of Colts Authority foretell the Ravens' run to the Super Bowl.

Burke runs down Bill Belichick's decisions.


Houston Texans

Battle Red Blog looks at draft trends by Rick Smith.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says Bob McNair wants to see more mental toughness from the Texans.


Indianapolis Colts

Todd Smith of Colts Authority looks at whether the Colts should keep Donald Brown.

Rodriguez examines the problems with Samson Satele.


Tennessee Titans

Tom Gower of Total Titans looks at how targets broke down for the Titans.

John Glennon of the Tennessean reports the Titans will work on rebuilding their offensive line.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union thinks the draft is the way back for the Jaguars. 

Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union says the Jaguars found coordinators.


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