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Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco?

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Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco?

The comparisons between Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan began when they were rookies and will continue for about forever.

As the class of quarterback crop in the 2008 draft -- they were the only two taken in the first round that year -- they broke into the league together. They both became starters as rookies and have remained that.

But now nearly halfway through this, their fifth season, only one of them is making a strong push into the discussion of the game's elite quarterbacks, and it isn't Flacco.

Going into this season, their regular-season records were remarkably similar; Flacco was 44-20 and had started every game played by the Ravens since he was drafted. Ryan was 43-19 and had started all but two games he missed in 2009 with a turf toe injury.

The one trump card for Flacco, where he holds an indisputable edge over Ryan, has been playoff experience. Flacco has led the Ravens to the playoffs all four seasons -- the first starting quarterback since the 1970 merger to accomplish that -- and has won at least one playoff game every year. His overall playoff record stands at 5-4. Last season, he outplayed Tom Brady in the AFC title game and basically threw a perfect pass to Lee Evans that should have put the Ravens in the Super Bowl.

Ryan, on the other hand, has yet to win a playoff game. He's 0-3 in the playoffs, including the Falcons' 24-2 loss to the Giants last season.

Flacco came into this season off his best training camp and working in an offense designed to showcase his talents. But he remains inconsistent, impressive at home and very ordinary on the road. Ryan, on the other hand, has led the Falcons to the league's only perfect (6-0) record, including 3-0 on the road.

Ryan ranks fourth in the league in quarterback rating this year at 98.8. He is also fourth in touchdown passes (14) and fifth in completion percentage (.678). Flacco ranks 20th in quarterback rating (84.0), 23rd in completion percentage (.595) and 13th in touchdown passes (9).  

If the season ended tomorrow, Ryan  might be the league's MVP. Of course, it doesn't end tomorrow. There is still more than half the season to play.  Plus, Ryan and the Falcons have been here before; in 2010, he led them to a 12-2 start and a No. 1 seeding in the playoffs, but then the Falcons were trounced by Green Bay, 48-21, in the divisional round.

Until Ryan shows he can win a playoff game, he will always be dogged by the zero after his name when mentioning playoff wins.

But for now , the Flacco-Ryan debate has swung significantly in Ryan's favor.

 

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Ravens Roundup: Team not changing much ahead of week three vs Eagles

Ravens Roundup: Team not changing much ahead of week three vs Eagles

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Lamar Jackson is going to once again play around 20 snaps in week three, as he has throughout August. Normally, this is the week in which the starters get the most reps, but the Ravens don't want to change things up with Jackson.

Cyrus Jones is preparing for a big opportunity as the Ravens' new top slot cornerback after the neck injury to Tavon Young.

Justice Hill continues to jump off the screen this preseason after rushing for 49 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries against the Packers in week two.

Looking Ahead:

Preseason Week 3: Thursday, August 22 at Philadelphia Eagles

Preseason Week 4: Thursday, August 29 at Washington Redskins

Week 1: Sunday, September 8 at Miami Dolphins, 1 PM

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Ravens not changing much for three days against the Eagles

Ravens not changing much for three days against the Eagles

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With the Ravens headed up to Philadelphia to face the Eagles in two joint practices before a game on Thursday, there isn’t much expected to change in terms of game reps. 

Coach John Harbaugh said Lamar Jackson will play about the same amount that he played in the first two games. He was on the field for 16 snaps against the Jaguars and 22 against the Packers. 

What could change, however, is some of the offensive game planning that goes into preparation for a different style of defense. 

“Not specifically, no, but I definitely think (with) this style of defense, we’ll definitely have a little bit of a different game plan going in,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “It necessitates that, which is good for us. I don’t think we’re saying, ‘We’re going to run what we’re going to run in the first couple weeks of the season.’ We might, but we might not. I don’t want to give away anything. I definitely think we’ll do some different stuff.”

While Roman remained secretive about the exact plan for Thursday, a week in Philadelphia against a team expected to contend in the NFC this season will be illuminating for the Ravens. 

The Eagles run a 4-3 defense, different from the Ravens' 3-4, so they’ll get a new look on defense, too. 

Offensively, Philadelphia boasts Carson Wentz, one of the league’s top quarterbacks. With a skill group of Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor and DeSean Jackson, too, the Ravens secondary will be under the lights in both this week’s practices and game.

“This is going to be a big test for us, going to Philly, because they’ve got a lot of skill at wide receiver and tight end and running back,” defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. “It’s going to be a measuring stick definitely, for sure.”

As the days tick away toward final cut down day on Aug. 31, the margin for error is shrinking daily.

“This third preseason game, it’s getting down to crunch time now, where guys are going to make the 53 or they’re not. The biggest message was, ‘If you think you’re on the bubble, you are,” Martindale continued.

The Ravens will take a slightly more banged up team into Philadelphia than they had last week, as there were some notable absences from practice on Sunday.

The 14 players missing from practice included: Seth Roberts, Miles Boykin, Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards, Randin Crecelius, Greg Senat, Marshal Yanda, Tavon Young, Iman Marshall, Marlon Humphrey, Chris Board, Nicholas Grigsby, Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray. 

Young (neck injury) is expected to be out long term, but no other injuries are thought to be as serious.

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