Once again, it all comes down to Joe Flacco. No matter how the rest of the team does, the Baltimore Ravens will only go as far as Flacco's right arm takes them.
Flacco set career bests virtually across the board last season: touchdowns, interceptions and passer rating. Still, he saved his worst for last, completing 53 percent of his passes for one touchdown, one interception, and had a costly fumble against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs.
If the team is going to escape the AFC, Flacco has to do better than that. He plays for a great team, so he does not have to fill the box score like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. He just has to play smart football, not turn the ball over, and convert some 3rd-and-10s.
If Flacco can pull off big game performances of 225 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers, it should be enough for the Baltimore Ravens to win their most important matchups. Easier said than done against James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and company.