Why the 49ers will win the Super Bowl by Dan Lamond
While a majority of the attention of the Super Bowl has been focused on the head coaching battle between the Harbaugh brothers and Ray Lewis’ final game, there has not been as much focus on the two teams actually playing the game.
The San Francisco 49ers have always been a strong team and a majority of analysts expected them to make the postseason. However, not many chose the 49ers to make it this far. At the beginning of the season, the 49ers defense gathered most of the talk but that has since changed. The 49ers offense has been phenomenal since head coach Jim Harbaugh made the decision to drop veteran quarterback Alex Smith and name the hard throwing Colin Kaepernick the starter. Many people were skeptical about this decision, but it has sure paid off for the 49ers.
The Ravens are known for their outstanding defense and have recently shut down Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. These are two quarterbacks who are not known for being especially mobile which is the case with Kaepernick. The Ravens will certainly apply pressure but if the pocket begins to collapse, Kaepernick will be gone and not many people can keep up. Just ask the Packers defense who allowed a record 181 rushing yards from the quarterback.
The Ravens will have to spend a lot of time game planning for Kaepernick, but 49ers also have multiple other offensive threats. Running back Frank Gore can break out for a big run at any moment especially if the defense blitzes and he is hit with a screen pass. Kaepernick has linked up especially well with wide receiver Michael Crabtree during his time as a starter. If the defense focuses on Crabtree, the 49ers also have offensive weapons in wide receiver Randy Moss and tight end Vernon Davis. Most defenses have had trouble containing all these threats the 49ers have and this will continue at the Super Bowl.
As mentioned earlier, the 49ers were known for their defense at the beginning of the season and this has not changed. Second year linebacker Aldon Smith was second in the league with 19.5 sacks this year and linebacker Patrick Willis is always a threat. One of these two need to get to Joe Flacco early to make him uncomfortable. The 49ers have allowed more points than usual during the playoffs but with an off week, the defense has had time to get healthy and will be the usual force they are known for.
The only weakness for the 49ers is that Kaepernick does not have much experience. The youngster has not been afraid of the spotlight and has shined on every stage so far. Even if there are some early nerves, he will overcome them and play his usual brilliant game. In their history, the 49ers have five Super Bowl titles in five appearances, meaning they have never lost in the Championship game. History will repeat itself and the 49ers will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come Sunday.
49ers- 35 Ravens- 17
Why the Ravens will win the Super Bowl by Elec Trainor
Fate. Karma. Destiny.
These words are thrown around all too often in the world of sports. After all, sports are just a game. It’s a competition between men or women, and the outcome is not determined by some divine intervention, or because the cosmos and stars align just so. It boils down to who makes those important plays when it matters most.
For the past four weeks, the Baltimore Ravens have been making those plays.
Whether it be a dominating performance over an upstart rookie quarterback and the Indianapolis Colts, a last ditch Hail Mary pass over the head of a Denver Bronco defender in the closing seconds to pull a game into overtime, or a jaw-jacking hit causing a New England running back to lose control of his muscles causing a key fumble in the AFC championship game. The Ravens keep winning games.
The same could be said for the San Francisco 49ers. They have been playing well and winning games behind the arm and legs of second year quarterback Collin Kapernick. But something has got to be said about the way the teams have been winning these games.
For the Ravens, each member and aspect of the team has stepped up when it mattered most. Quarterback Joe Flacco backed into the playoffs having perhaps the most inconsistent year of his career, having a breakout game one week, to a league season low quarterback rating the next. Playing for a new contract at the end of the season, Flacco had to do something special this postseason. And he has.
Flacco has been clutch when the moment needed him most, throwing key completions, and really turned it on against the Patriots, finding the open man and exposing the weak coverage of New England.
That will be key this week, as although the 49ers have a stout defensive line and linebacking core, the vulnerable aspect of this defense without question is the secondary. In both playoff games, Aaron Rogers and Matt Ryan have had big games throwing against the San Francisco cornerbacks and safeties. Look for Flacco to have a big game deep, trying to catch Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, or Jacoby Jones on the fly.
But it is not only the offense that is finally clicking. The Ravens defense has not been up to Baltimore standards throughout the regular season. But with the field general Ray Lewis back, and motivating his team like never before to send him out with a ring, the defense has been stouter than ever before.
In fact, they did what few other teams have done, and that was shut down the New England offense. In fact, the Patriots did not score a single point in the second half of the AFC championship.
If they could shut down future hall of famers such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, look for the Ravens to target Kapernick. Terrell Suggs on the outside will need to consistently spy the quarterback and shut the young gun down if they hope to bottle up the read offense and make the inexperienced Kapernick throw.
I believe Suggs is up for the task and the Ravens take the hard-hitting Harbowl in a close back and forth game.
Baltimore Ravens-27 San Francisco 49ers- 21