Although the errors are mounting for Flacco, who has had an uneven season with 3,475 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for an 86.2 quarterback rating, he insists his belief in himself hasn't been broken.

“I'm confident, our team is confident,” Flacco said. “These are tough situations, but it's about how your stand up. You can't blink. I don't know if we've necessarily been in this kind of situation in the past, but we've dealt with things that are similar and we know how to move forward and push through.”

If the Ravens defeat the defending Super Bowl champion Giants on Sunday, they can clinch a second consecutive AFC North division title.

However, this has been an especially tough stretch for Flacco heading into a pivotal game. Flacco has topped the 200-yard passing mark just once during the past three weeks, finishing with 254 yards against the Broncos. And he completed a season-low 47.1 percent of his throws against the Steelers in a Dec. 2 loss.

Now, Flacco's heading into his second game under new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell after the firing of Cam Cameron one day after being beaten by the Redskins.

“We had to go through a lot of adversity this year,” running back Ray Rice said. “Joe being Joe, he’s responded to it really well, I think. It’s not easy going through a change the way that we’ve been through this late in the season. With the way that Joe has handled it, obviously, he is still Joe.

“The quarterback is the toughest position in the game. I just think with that amount of pressure, he has handled it really well. Joe’s still a great quarterback. Joe’s our quarterback, and we are always going to defend him to the end.”

Flacco is the Ravens' all-time leader with 17,290 passing yards and 100 touchdowns, but has been erratic at times this season and often lacked accuracy on deep throws. He has failed to connect with wide receiver Torrey Smith during the three-game skid despite targeting him frequently for a total of just five completions for 67 yards in that span.

Nonetheless, Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who has witnessed Manning's growing pains and continued inconsistency, sees a capable passer in Flacco.

“Joe is a very talented quarterback,” Coughlin said. “He’s an outstanding deep-ball thrower. He shows great courage in the pocket. He’ll step up and throw the ball in the face of the rush. He does have the ability to move around the perimeter, and he will run if he has to.

“I see a good, young quarterback who’s grown in the system that they’ve developed, that John [Harbaugh] and his staff have developed there in Baltimore. He seems to be getting better all the time.”

Flacco is aware that his teammates and coaches are looking for him to provide leadership during this rocky stretch.

“I think we all just have to keep our heads up, and it starts with me,” Flacco said. “I think it starts with me keeping my head up and just keeping that positive attitude.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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