Ryan put up better numbers in the regular season, and Flacco excelled in the playoffs. Flacco had the most postseason victories (10) of any quarterback from 2008-15, while Ryan had only one before this postseason. Ryan has the sixth-most touchdown passes (240) in the regular season over that time; Flacco has thrown the sixth-most interceptions (117).
Ryan has been nearly flawless in the playoffs, throwing for seven touchdowns with no interceptions. The last quarterback to produce those numbers in the postseason? It was Flacco in 2012, which connects the ninth-year passers once again.
So, can Ryan finish off a stellar postseason in style like Flacco? The previous six quarterbacks to throw at least seven touchdown passes without an interception in a postseason all won the Super Bowl that year and received the MVP award in the game, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
In January 2013, Flacco completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 1,140 yards (third most in playoff history) in four games (two of which came against top-five defenses). His passer rating was 117.2 as he outplayed Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick.
This postseason, Ryan has connected on 70.6 percent of his throws for 730 yards in two games (one against a top-five defense). His rating is 132.6, which is currently the second highest in NFL postseason history (minimum 75 attempts).
The connection between these quarterbacks dates back to April 26, 2008, when the Falcons drafted Ryan with the No. 3 overall pick and the Ravens selected Flacco at No. 18.
That day began with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti challenging his decision-makers to take Ryan. The Ravens, who were drafting No. 8 in 2008, knew they would have to jump six spots to No. 2 (and ahead of the Falcons) to get Ryan. Team officials called the St. Louis Rams, who had the second overall pick, and they wanted two first-round picks (2008 and 2009) along with the Ravens' picks in the second and third rounds.
The Ravens' front office convinced Bisciotti the smarter play was to trade back, acquire more picks, and take Flacco. The Ravens had Ryan rated as the No. 3 player in the entire draft and Flacco at No. 15. There wasn't much separation between the quarterbacks in the Ravens' opinion.
In the nine NFL seasons since, Flacco has led Baltimore to an 83-55 record (.601) and Ryan has guided Atlanta to an 85-57 mark (.599). Flacco has had six trips to the postseason (10-5 overall record), and Ryan has had five (3-4 record).
Some point to Ryan's supporting cast. He has thrown to Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White over the years.
Others believe Flacco has benefited from playing with stronger defenses. He has played with two future Hall of Fame defenders in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed as well as another defensive player of the year in Terrell Suggs.
The only way to stack up the careers of Ryan and Flacco has been numbers. They've met only twice in the regular season, with each winning once.
In 2014 -- the last time they faced each other -- Flacco said he doesn't mind the comparisons. To Flacco, the talk means they're both relevant and playing meaningful games.
"It's a shame that we're in different conferences and we don't get to play each other as much as we'd probably like to," Flacco said. "It'd be pretty fun to play each other more often."