The season-ending hip injury to tight end Dennis Pitta puts pressure on Flacco to carry a deeply flawed group of receivers and tight ends. Flacco showed in the playoffs last season that he can carry an offense for four straight weeks. But, in his five-year career, he has yet to show he can play at that level for an entire season.
Flacco is a very good starter during the regular season, but he hasn't been great. He has finished in the top 10 in yards per attempt once. The top-shelf quarterbacks are there every year. They don't have the peaks and valleys in play that Flacco often does.
Every receiver Rodgers plays with winds up getting paid. Brees turns guys like Lance Moore into local legends. So many wideouts, from David Givens to Jabar Gaffney, had their best years with Brady.
Pitta was the odds-on favorite to lead the Ravens in targets and finish second to Smith in receiving yards. Now tight end Ed Dickson will have to stay healthy and produce like he never has before. Receivers like Aaron Mallette, Deonte Thompson and Tandon Doss will have to step up. And it's Flacco's job to help them.