The interesting, sometimes absurd, always entertaining, “did he really just ask that?” types of questions.
When you are a top-performing rookie who comes into the league the same year as another top-performing rookie, there are going to be numerous comparisons. Those comparisons will most likely follow both players throughout their entire careers. For example, Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. Baseball phenoms Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are already getting their fair share of comparisons this season.
Ravens fans have been the victims of this little comparison game for several years now. Their quarterback, Joe Flacco, can’t seem to have his name mentioned by the media without hearing something about that other guy from Atlanta. Yes, I’m talking about Matt Ryan (I just wanted to put the two names in separate sentences to try something new). As both players enter their fifth season, the “who’s better” conversations will continue. Flacco, who’s had much better postseason success, can put an end to the discussion once and for all with a Super Bowl victory.
For this week’s question, I’ve decided to take the comparison to the next level, so the debate doesn’t fall all on Flacco’s shoulders:
Which team has the better QB/RB/WR combo?
Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin
Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White
Joe Flacco vs. Matt Ryan: Flacco wins this battle, but it’s extremely close. Their numbers up to this point in their career’s are almost identical. Both throw the ball at a 60% completion rate, both do a solid job protecting the ball, and both keep their teams in contention. Ryan has had more clutch moments and game-winning drives in the regular season. Flacco has a much better arm. Where’s the biggest difference? Playoffs. Both quarterbacks have similar weapons, and Flacco has proved he can use his more effectively. Ron Jaworski recently revealed that he has Flacco ninth in his rankings and Ryan at number eleven.
Ray Rice vs. Michael Turner: Ray Rice is getting better each year, while Michael Turner seems to be on the decline. Turner came into the league on fire, but Rice has been one of the most consistent running backs in the entire league over the last three seasons. Turner is a straight-ahead, power back, but Rice has many different ways to give defenses headaches. Rice is a game-changer and is a much better receiver out of the back field. He is the ultimate all-around back, making him a popular fantasy pick. Advantage: Rice.
Anquan Boldin vs. Roddy White: This is the only category where I give Atlanta the edge. Boldin has been above average for the Ravens, but has not been that close to hitting his production levels that he saw over in Arizona. He has not had a 1000-yard receiving season for the Ravens yet, although he was injured for the final two games of last season. He is still a solid option/security blanket for Flacco, but is getting older and doesn’t have the flash and power that he once had when he was paired with Larry Fitzgerald. Roddy White is coming off back-to-back seasons of 100+ receptions, averaging over 1,300 receiving yards.
My pick: Baltimore wins this contest 2-1.