AFC North Top 25: 16th-ranked player

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 16:


Ravens quarterback

Why Flacco is ranked 16th: He's the second-best quarterback in the division, although his inconsistency causes a debate on his standing in the NFL. Flacco struggles to throw 137 yards against Jacksonville and then leads a 92-yard game-winning drive at Pittsburgh two weeks later. His 2011 season was a disappointing one because he didn't take a step forward (he set career highs with 12 interceptions and nine fumbles). But there's indications that Flacco will have a bounce-back year.

Look at how Flacco finished the season. He outplayed Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game and was one stripped pass from leading the Ravens to the Super Bowl. Look at how Flacco played against top-four defenses last season. In four games against Pittsburgh, Houston and San Francisco, he averaged 247 yards passing, throwing five touchdowns and one interception. Plus, Flacco will be helped by the fact that two of his top four targets from last season are entering their second season as starters. This should be the season where he exceeds his three-year average of 3,615 yards passing and 22 touchdowns.