Spotlight on Talib and Flacco

In a pair of stories on ESPNBoston.com, we examine the impact that Aqib Talib has had on the Patriots' defense and look at why Joe Flacco and Tom Brady aren't as different than you'd think.

* Mike Reiss: Talib's positive impact in New England, which comes after he wore out his welcome in Tampa Bay following a string of off-field missteps, is drawing attention as the Patriots prepare for Sunday's AFC Championship Game against a Baltimore Ravens team known for, among other things, its potent deep passing game.

The Ravens, led by strong-armed quarterback Joe Flacco and speedy receiver Torrey Smith, thrive off the big play. Talib's job is to limit them, and his presence since first suiting up Nov. 18 against the Indianapolis Colts has been a big reason for the Patriots' success in doing so.

Since Talib's first game with the Patriots, only the Tennessee Titans allowed fewer 30-yard pass plays than New England, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

* Field Yates: Brady has more playoff wins as a starter than any other quarterback in NFL history, while Flacco made history of his own this postseason by becoming the first quarterback to start and win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons.

Their styles might be different, but since Flacco entered the league in 2008, their postseason results are comparable.

Flacco actually holds an edge on Brady in wins (5-3), while Brady has appeared in a Super Bowl during that stretch, a career milestone Flacco has not yet reached.

Their teams have faced off five times total -- Brady's teams have bested Flacco's on three of those occasions (although they've split two postseason matchups) -- but the Ravens signal-caller has stood toe to toe, throwing more touchdowns than Brady (9-5) and fewer interceptions (4-7).