Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco really can't win. Not football games -- he wins lots of those (he's 38-18 in three and a half years). But in terms of the way fans and the media perceive Flacco, well, he's perpetually fluctuating between "about to make the jump" and "like crap."
Wait, that second one was him. But whatever, the point remains. The criticism of Flacco is like a rollercoaster. And Flacco doesn't really understand why.
"The thing that cracks me up is that one minute they’re talking about you as possibly being elite, and the next second they want to beat you up for not even being good," Flacco said earlier this week, via Ryan Mink of the team's official website. "It’s two extremes. It’s never that he’s a damn good quarterback."
Much like Tony Romo, Flacco seems to understand his critics. Of course, he doesn't seem to understand that his production this season warrants an up-and-down analysis; Flacco is gunning for three-straight 300-yard games, but he's been anything but consistent this season.
Flacco's got four 300-yard games this season, but he's also three games under 200 yards passing (the Ravens are 1-2 in those games). He's been tremendous at times (notably against the Steelers twice) and he's been absolutely terrible at times (against the Jets and Jaguars). Flacco's got the lowest completion percentage -- 54.7 -- and his yards per attempt -- 6.64 -- of his career.
To put that in perspective, Flacco ranks lower than Rex Grossman in both of those categories.
That's the primary reason why I picked the Seahawks to win on Sunday -- if Ray Rice can't get going against a stingy Seahawks defense, then it'll be all on Flacco to win, on the west coast, coming off an emotional victory and with the division-rival Bengals staring them down the week after.
In other words, it's a classic trap game. Which also means it's a game the Ravens should win, handily. But Baltimore's been in these spots before -- namely against Jacksonville on Monday night just a few weeks ago.
And even if they're the favorite to win the AFC midway through the season (they are), the Ravens need to look like an elite team when they play mediocre competition.
In order for that to happen, Flacco will continue proving his critics wrong.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.