NFL Baltimore Ravens

5 Reasons Why Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco Must Be Stellar In 2013

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5 Reasons Why Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco Must Be Stellar In 2013 Season

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has to lead his team to the playoffs in the 2013 season in order for the Ravens to get back to the Super Bow;. I expect the defense do be among the best in the NFL this year, but everything will fall of Flacco's plate at the end of the day.

Flacco doesn't have to be the leader of the Ravens the way Ray Lewis led the team for 17 seasons. Nobody can, which is why I always found it amusing when some critics try to use the fact that it was Lewis' team for many years as an indictment against Flacco. You could bring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers on the Ravens' roster, and as long as Lewis was there, nobody would unseat him as the leader of the team. Flacco just has to lead the way he has always been leading, which is by example.

At the end of the day, this upcoming season is much bigger than what critics think about Flacco. His resume speaks for itself. This upcoming season is about taking total control of the offense. When former Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron arrived on the scene, there were always questions about how much control Flacco had and how much control Cameron wasn't willing to give up, which ultimately decided his career with the Ravens as he was fired last December.

The questions are gone, and the results are waiting. The Ravens will go as far as Flacco takes them. There are five reasons why Flacco has to be on his game in the 2013 season, and I'm sure he will achieve all of them.

Wola Odeniran is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter at WolaOdeniran52

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5. Validate Recent Success With More Work

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Flacco's work ethic is unquestioned. Say what you want about the guy, but his commitment to football should never be questioned. Flacco has reportedly gotten stronger physically, and is gaining more control in the game plan according to Baltimoreravens.com. Let's keep it that way because when others around the team see a Super Bowl MVP working hard after getting paid, it is bound to rub off on the rest of the locker room.

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4. Keep Running Game Fresh

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Evan Habeeb- USA TODAY Sports

Ray Rice is expected to share carries more than usual this upcoming season with Bernard Pierce emerging as one of the better running backs in the NFL. It would be ideal if Flacco were to lead the Ravens to victories with his arm early in the season to keep both running backs fresher for the stretch run. If they can do that, look out.

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3. The NFL Is Still A Passing League

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Evan Habeeb- USA TODAY Sports

The 2000 Ravens were really the last team in the NFL to win a Super Bowl by running the ball and playing strong defense. Times have changed, and Flacco knows it. The Ravens won it all last season by being balanced in the playoffs, while the defense forced turnovers and limited elite offenses from scoring. It's hard to duplicate that, but it must be done.

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2. Offensive Line Can Be Shaky

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Evan Habeeb- USA TODAY Sports

When Marshal Yanda is out of the lineup along the offensive line, the entire offense can get stalled easily at times. That needs to stop. Flacco and company have to create plays that gets the ball out quicker to overcome the loss of Yanda, or any other starter on the offensive line for that matter.

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1. Questions At Wide Receiver

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Evan Habeeb- USA TODAY Sports

Flacco has to take charge of the young receivers like he has been doing in training camp. Some wide receivers like Marlon Brown and Laquan Williams have shown good flashes during training camp, but he has to make sure it stays that way with constant reps. Flacco has the ability to make receivers better, especially when he throws in tight spaces.