Saturday, February 2, 2013
Super Bowl XLVII Preview
The big game is tomorrow in New Orleans between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. I got a preview of the match-up right here.
San Francisco running game vs. Baltimore pass rush: Many analysts are saying that this is the best offensive line that San Francisco has trotted out in generations. Add in a versatile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick running the pistol offense and you have an explosive offense that other teams haven't figured out. Still, Kaepernick hasn't faced a team like the Ravens, who've allowed 3.5 ypg on the ground. It'll be interesting to see where this match-up tilts and how Frank Gore does running the ball as well. I have to give the slight advantage to the 49ers here. Advantage: 49ers
San Francisco passing game vs. Baltimore secondary: In the two games that he's started in the 2013 postseason, Colin Kaepernick has had a QBR of 94.1, a completion rate of 63.5%, 496 passing yards, and three passing touchdowns. On the other hand, Baltimore has only allowed four passing touchdowns in three playoff games this year. They were all against quarterbacks who've combined for 94 touchdown passes: Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning. Advantage: Ravens
Baltimore running game vs. San Francisco pass rush: Ravens running backs Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice and Ravens fullback Vonta Leach will face their toughest tests yet when they try to plow through Niners linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis. The Niners run defense has only allowed 92.5 yards per game in their two playoff games this year. Advantage: 49ers
Baltimore passing game vs. San Francisco secondary: Aldon Smith hasn't had a sack in his last five games. Considering how Joe Flacco hasn't had any of his 93 passes intercepted this postseason, this could pose a problem for San Francisco. Ravens receivers Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin need to use their size and strength against San Francisco corners Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown to create problems. Expect Flacco to go deep quite a bit in this game. Advantage: Ravens
Special Teams: Niners kicker David Akers has missed 14 of his last 38 field goal attempts (a conversion rate of 64 percent). Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has only missed three field goals out of 33 attempts. Advantage: Ravens
Head Coaches: "The Harbowl", "Harbaugh to Harbaugh"; call it what you want. The battle between the Harbaugh brothers on the sidelines will be one of the more popular headlines heading into Super Bowl XLVII. I personally like Jim Harbaugh a bit more since he knows how to get his boys ready. Advantage: 49ers
Intangibles: This is the last NFL game of Ray Lewis's career. Baltimore will play with a lot of intensity and emotion. The key for both teams will be to avoid committing a lot of penalties, which will decide who hoists the Lombardi trophy. Advantage: Ravens
My Pick: I picked the Ravens to win the Super Bowl and after seeing how they've played in the postseason, I can't see a way of picking against them. Indeed, it will be a close game. But Ray Lewis will retire in style as the Ravens will edge the 49ers 26-23.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you my special guest picker: Hipster Johnny!
Hipster Johnny's Pick: Ray Lewis? Too mainstream!! I got the Niners winning this game by a score of 31-24, man. But Colin Kaepernick is too mainstream to be Super Bowl MVP. My Underground MVP is 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree!!