You want to see something freaky?
No, I won't link to another bizarre Ray Lewis Old Spice commercial or provide a frame-by-frame, 360 degree view of spit flying (or not flying, depending on who you believe) from Le'Ron McClain's mouth into the face of Channing Crowder.
Here's what's freaky: Looking at the career numbers of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan side-by-side.
The two 2008 first-round quarterbacks have posted nearly identical statistics through their first two-and-a-half seasons in the league.
Flacco: 732 completions, 1,190 attempts, 61.5%, 8,501 yards, 7.1 average, 47 TDs, 30 INTs
Ryan: 708 completions, 1,173 attempts, 60.4%, 8,305 yards, 7.1 average, 51 TDs, 30 INTs
Can't get much closer than that.
If you look at how the two third-year QBs have performed so far this season, the similarities are still evident.
Flacco: 160 completions, 263 attempts, 60.8%, 1,917 yards, 7.3 average, 12 TDs, 6 INTs
Ryan: 180 completions, 288 attempts, 62.5%, 1,949 yards, 6.8 average, 13 TDs, 5 INTs
Take your pick - the rocket-armed cool cat from a little-known 1-AA school, or the equally poised gunslinger from Boston College.
Fans of each team can debate which signal-caller they would rather have 'til they're blue in the face, but this Thursday, we'll get an up-close-and-personal look at Flacco and Ryan when they step foot on the same field at the Georgia Dome. It will mark the first time the two have met in regular season action.
As the top quarterbacks taken in the 2008 NFL Draft - Ryan by the Falcons at No. 3 overall, and Flacco at No. 18 overall - these two will forever be linked and their stats compared. That's just the nature of the NFL, where Ryan Leaf will always be the guy taken a pick after Peyton Manning, and a quarterback class like the one in 1983 (Elway, Kelly, Marino) will be tied together forever.
"I think they'll be hooked together their entire career," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "I think when you come in at the same time, especially at the quarterback position - which is probably the most scrutinized position in all of sports - they'll always be compared to one another, and both of them have played very effective football through these first two-and-a-half seasons."
The comparisons between Flacco and Ryan don't end with statistics. Both guys came into the league joining a team that had posted a disappointing 2007 season (the Falcons finished 4-12, while the Ravens were 5-11), and had a first-year head coach running the show. Each quarterback responded by leading his team to the playoffs in his rookie season.
If there's one thing that sets the two QBs apart, it's Flacco's postseason success.
Yes, his individual playoff statistics aren't exactly anything for him to hang his hat on (57-for-120 for 660 yards, 1 TD and 6 INTs in five games), but Flacco has won three playoff games in two seasons, and took the Ravens to the AFC Championship game in his rookie season.
Ryan's lone playoff appearance came in a loss to the Cardinals in the Wild Card round of the '08 playoffs, in which he threw for 199 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs.
We'll see who comes out victorious when Flacco and Ryan square off tomorrow night, but this much is clear: Both guys have developed into franchise quarterbacks, have become two of the top young signal-callers in the league, and appear poised to represent the '08 Draft class in numerous trips to the playoffs in future seasons.
"I'm sure someday we'll look at that, and hopefully we'll both have a couple of Super Bowls - or I'll have them all and he won't have any," Flacco says with a laugh. "I think maybe one day we'll look at it like that, but we're still young.
"I mean, this is our third year, the third year for each of us, and we're just out there each week trying to play well."