Can Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco Be Great 2 Weeks in a Row?

By jeffreykryglik
Mitch Stringer – USA TODAY Sports

It’s safe to say Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco put forth one of his best performances Thanksgiving night in his team’s 22-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The question is: Can he do it again against the Minnesota Vikings?

Of course he can.

To give you an idea as to how bad the Vikings’ pass defense is, I’ll throw some numbers out there for you. They have eight interceptions all season and only three of them have come from two defensive backs — Harrison Smith has two interceptions and A.J. Jefferson has one. They are 30th in the NFL in average passing yards allowed per game with 287.0 yards. Their best pass-rusher, Jared Allen, is a shell of himself this season and has just six sacks. There aren’t a whole lot of scary players other than Erin Henderson and Chad Greenway at the linebacker positions — Henderson and Greenway have two interceptions apiece — but the Ravens don’t throw over the middle of the field or in the seams anyway so it shouldn’t matter all that much.

The Ravens were able to move Flacco around, throw the deep ball effectively and spread the ball around to eight different receivers against the Steelers. That’s his game; it always has been and always will be. There’s no reason he can’t continue that against a lackluster pass defense.

The key will be consistency in both halves, and if the Ravens are able to get tight end Dennis Pitta back from injury this week it could be a huge bonus. Baltimore has until next Wednesday to return him to the active 53-man roster or else he will remain on the injured reserve list, but expect him to be lacing them up this Sunday.

As mentioned earlier, the Ravens don’t throw the ball well over the middle of the field and in the seams, and since that’s the strength of this Vikings defense it’s probably best that they stay away from there. However, if Pitta were to return it would give them something they haven’t had at that area of the field all season: reliability.

Yes, it remains to be seen just how effective Pitta could be in his first game action since Super Bowl XLVII, but his rapport with Flacco is still second-to-none. Torrey Smith has been the best receiver on this club, but if Pitta returns, expect a repeat, if not better performance from Flacco just because of that extra threat at tight end and on third down that hasn’t existed all year.

Jeffrey Kryglik is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Kryglik, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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