Which road Joe Flacco will show up against New Orleans Saints?


Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) attempts to throw the ball as he is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 43-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The narrative on Joe Flacco is that he is a different quarterback on the road. By and large, the numbers back that up. His home passer rating this year is 95.1, while it is just 86.3 on the road. The split was even more pronounced in years past. In 2012, for instance, Flacco’s passer rating was 99.0 at home and 74.9 on the road.

The irony here is that Flacco has proven repeatedly he is capable of erupting on the road. That 2012 season produced a Super Bowl win, and it took a remarkable string of performances from Flacco on the road to achieve. Just this year, Flacco had one of the best games of his career at Tampa Bay, a five touchdown performance that saw him easily guide the Ravens to victory.

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  • Aside from that remarkable win, Flacco has thrown an interception in every road contest. That’s a problem, especially against a team like the New Orleans Saints that has such a major home-field advantage.

    That’s not to say this Saints team is particularly good. They’re not, and they’re also coming off two consecutive home losses. Andy Dalton (yes, this Andy Dalton) just threw for 220 yards, three touchdowns and no picks on just 22 attempts against the Saints. The week before, though, Colin Kaepernick completed just 14 of 32 passes in a 49ers win.

    The most telling stat for the Saints is their touchdown to interception ratio: 16 to 6 in ten games. The Saints just don’t create turnovers. Unless Flacco plays legendarily bad, he should be able to avoid an interception.

    Avoiding turnovers won’t be enough, though. Flacco needs to elevate himself and his team. The Saints are still loaded on offense, so the Ravens’ offense needs to be up to the task of outscoring them.

    There are reasons for optimism. Flacco and the Ravens are 5-1 off the bye in the Flacco/Harbaugh era, the lone loss coming last year against Cleveland. Further, outside of Tampa Bay, the Saints’ defense is probably the worst the Ravens have seen on the road. Finally, Flacco has some good memories in the Superdome, where he led the Ravens to their second Lombardi Trophy.

    Winning in New Orleans won’t be easy. If Flacco can overcome his road demons, which has a good chance of happening, the Ravens have a good chance. If bad Flacco shows up, though, winning will be next to impossible.