ESPN's John Clayton, who I think knows a bit about football, sees Joe Flacco as an elite quarterback.
Clayton ranked the NFL's 32 starting quarterbacks for his most recent column, and separated the signal-callers into three groups: The "Elite level" (which lists quarterbacks who can carry teams into the playoffs), the "Chad Pennington Division" (which lists quarterbacks who could take their teams to the playoffs with a good surrounding cast or a favorable schedule) and the "Hit-Or-Miss Division" (which is exactly what it sounds like).
The analyst listed Flacco with the "elite" QBs, and ranked him as the 12th best quarterback in the league.
Here's Clayton's rationale:
"With the Ravens' problems in their secondary, Flacco may be asked to throw more, which is fine by him. Anquan Boldin will help him working from the slot and Donte' Stallworth could help to stretch the field on occasion when he returns from injury."
At the beginning of the column, Clayton wrote that he gets criticized for having Flacco in the same group as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, but gave some stats to support his decision.
"In two seasons, Flacco has the numbers (6,584 passing yards, 61 percent completion percentage) and three road playoff victories to back up my ranking," Clayton noted.