Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco hasn’t missed a single NFL start since his arrival in 2008, and he will not miss any action Sunday when his team faces the New England Patriots at 4:25 p.m. ET.
Flacco’s durability has been noticed across the league throughout his six-year career as the 28-year-old currently has the third-longest active streak in the NFL for consecutive starts with 94. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (149) and San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (126) are the only two gunslingers who can say they haven’t missed a game over a longer stretch than Flacco.
This Sunday will be a test for the Ravens’ leader as he will play with a brace on his left knee due to a hit he took from Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that an MRI revealed a mild MCL sprain for Flacco, and the brace will help provide some stability. Flacco has worn a brace before, but it was all the way back during his playing days at the University of Delaware where he sprained his left knee during his junior campaign.
Like most players who aren’t accustomed to the trainers room or aren’t as injury-prone it will take some getting used to playing with an extra piece of equipment for Flacco. Without the brace and following the hit in the game Monday night, he wasn’t the same quarterback. He wasn’t able to step into throws or move as well in and outside of the pocket, and while he downplayed the impact of the hit on his game after the 18-16 victory, head coach John Harbaugh and his staff will likely be more wary of Joe’s drop-backs given the struggles of the offensive line in 2013.
“Joe Cool” never lets adversity get him down, and this situation shouldn’t be any different. The Patriots are porous on defense, especially without their stud defensive tackle Vince Wolfork controlling the line of scrimmage. New England’s defense has shown many weaknesses throughout the season, and their ability to try and overcome numerous injuries has held them back in terms of seeding in the AFC playoff picture. While the Ravens may not rely as much on Flacco this week, if they cross the 50-yard line it may not matter given their main weapon in kicker Justin Tucker is the most efficient point-scorer in Baltimore.