We have a very interesting Super Bowl on our hands. The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday in New Orleans with the hopes of leaving as champions.
There are so many story lines that make this game so interesting. First of all, the two head coaches in this game, for the first time ever, are brothers; younger brother, Jim Harbaugh, for San Fran and older brother, John Harbaugh, for Baltimore. Also, Ray Lewis announced before the start of the playoffs that this would be his last ride and he’s retiring at the end of the season. The final storyline is Colin Kaepernick who will start only the tenth game of his career on Super Bowl Sunday for the 49ers; it was a gutsy move by the niners to keep Kaepernick as the starter even after Alex Smith was cleared to play after his injury. So there is a lot of things that make this Super Bowl a truly interesting one.
I think both teams have a lot to offer in this game and I would not be surprised to see either team win. Personally, I think this is a great Super Bowl because of all the things I talked about earlier that actually go deeper than what is actually happening on every play.
Both teams bring a lot to the table both offensively and defensively.
I’ll start with the San Francisco 49ers. Offensively the 49ers are so diverse; they have a quarterback in Kaepernick who has proven he can run already in these playoffs, going for 181 yards in their divisional game against the Packers. Also, they have about four running backs that can get them solid yardage on the ground; the main piece of this multi-headed monster of a running game is 49ers veteran and starting running back, Frank Gore, who can run inside with power and use quickness and elusiveness in the open field. Finally, when they throw the ball they have a good group of receivers, especially Michael Crabtree, and a very athletic tight end with Vernon Davis who went off against Atlanta in the NFC Championship game. Kaepernick also has plenty of arm to throw the ball deep down the field.
San Francisco’s defense has been solid all year, just like everyone expected. On average this stout defense gives up less than 300 total yards a game; that’s very impressive. They have the best pass rushing scheme using their stud defensive lineman, both from the University of Missouri, in Justin Smith and Aldon Smith. They also have two stud linebackers in Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. This defense could really make a statement if they win the Super Bowl because this defense will be around for awhile.
Now to the Baltimore Ravens. Offensively the Baltimore Ravens aren’t quite as dynamic as the 49ers because of their lack of speed at the quarterback position, but the Ravens offense is by no means bad. This is a team with one of the premiere running backs in the league in Ray Rice, who is also exceptional at catching the ball out of the backfield when Ravens QB, Joe Flacco, gets into trouble. They also have two really good receivers in Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin, and a tight end that’s really had a breakout year with Dennis Pitta. The Ravens offensive line is also very good and they have the best fullback in the league in my opinion, Vonta Leach.
The famous Baltimore defense as we know it will take the field as a unit for the last time Sunday. The heart and soul of their defense, Ray Lewis, announced this will be his last playoff run before he retires. What a run it’s been this postseason for Baltimore. With barely squeaking out a win against Denver and beating the Patriots up pretty good it looks like the Ravens defense has really been playing for number 52 this postseason. The have a really good defensive line, highlighted by Haloti Ngata. The linebacking corp is great as you know, led by Lewis, but they also have the NFL Defensive MVP from 2011-2012 season, Terrell Suggs and young stud linebackers: Courtney Upshaw, Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan. And to wrap the defense they have stud safties with Bernard Pollard and future Hall of Famer, Ed Reed.
I think this will be a very competitive Super Bowl, but in the end I think with the emotion Baltimore is playing with because of Lewis they will win and big brother John will get a ring before his younger brother.
Baltimore 27 San Francisco 24