On Sunday, February 3, 2013, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens will head to New Orleans, Louisiana for Super Bowl XLVII. Share any of your thoughts on the game, who will win, and your score predictions. You can also talk here during the game as well!
CONTEST #1: This is Super Bowl 47, so I will give away 14,747 gold to the most accurate Super Bowl score prediction. Predict your score, and say which team will win as well.
* In the event of a tie, the person who post their prediction the earliest wins the 14,747 in gold.
* Please do not edit your post, so make sure you double-check your prediction.
For the next two weeks, I will be replacing my normal Green Font with 49er red in support of my team. Despite being a 49er fan, I try and make my predictions from a non-biased stand point. Lets see if I can analyze this game with my head rather than my heart and make an accurate prediction.
Lets begin last year, the only time the Harbaugh's have coached against each other, Baltimore walked away winners on Thanksgiving night 16-6. The Ravens were successful in pressuring and sacking QB Alex Smith 9 times that night, and the 49ers could not establish ANY offensive momentum.
... But the 49ers aren't going in with Smith at the helm.
Colin Kaepernick has only made 9 starts this season, he will be a starting QB in a Superbowl with the second fewest starts. (Jim Hostetler for the Giants in Superbowl XXV had only 4 prior to his start in that game) We go back to the game against New England, the Patriots tried blitzing Colin like crazy in an attempt to disrupt and fluster the young QB, Kaepernick responded with a monster display in his passing skills with 4 TD passes. In the game against Green Bay Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards, most by any QB in NFL history. Atlanta did a good job containing Kaepernick and keeping him from running, but they paid the price for trying to play to contain Colin by allowing huge running lanes in between the tackles that Gore and James took advantage of with 3 TD runs, and with gaps in the passing game as Colin was averaging 11.1 yards per completion, which broke Joe Montana's record for highest yards per pass completion average in a playoff. Now it's an insult to compare the Patriots, Packers, and Falcons defenses to that of the Ravens. And it will be a challenge for this team, who do they cover? How do they attack the 49ers? What they did last time can still be effective, but it won't be nearly as successful.
Lets take a look on the other side of the ball, the Ravens lost 4 of their last 5 games to finish out the regular season, many thought John Harbaugh's decision to fire the offensive coordinator and replace him with QB coach Jim Caldwell was a stupid decision, and their play to finish the regular season was a reflection of that. But when the playoffs started, it seemed like the greatest decision he has made in his career. Joe Flacco was a good, but not great QB, since the playoffs started he has played on an elite level that I will have to swallow a little pride and say I never expected him to do. In these playoffs he has 8 TD and No INT, over the past two playoffs that number is 12-1. He's more explosive, his yardage output has skyrocketed, and has proven himself the Ultimate Road Warrior by being the winningest QB in road playoff games. (Superbowl will not count in this stat due to neutral location.) So the same defensive scheme the 49ers used last season to limit the Ravens offense to a mere 16 points, will not work either.
So where will I go in this match up? The opening line in Vegas is San Francisco by 4 and 1/2, since then it has slipped to 4. And I think that is a good number. Here are three reason why.
1.): Last year when the 49ers played the Ravens, it was on a very, VERY short week where the team had less than 4 days to prepare for the Ravens and travel to the east coast to play in a different time zone. The lack of preparation time definitely played a part in the under prepared look the 49ers had in that game, yet it was still a 10 point game. THIS time both teams will have equal prep time, I expect a much better prepared 49ers team that will handle the Ravens blitz's much better than a year ago, and will have more success on offense.
2.): The 49ers this season has been the elite QB killer! I mentioned this last week when analyzing the 49ers/Falcons, and now they can add Matty Ice to their list of defeated high caliber QB's along with Brady, Brees, and Rodgers. Flacco has shown great improvement since he entered the playoffs. But the Ravens passing attack still isn't as good, and I'm hesitant to put Flacco in that category. The 49ers can stop the run, and play against the pass. Ravens will find some success on offense, but it will be limited.
3.): I give all the credit in the world to the Ravens Defense, they have triumphed the past three weeks over Rookie sensation Andrew Luck, then back to back against Manning and Brady. But this defense has played more downs this playoff season than any other team, it's amazing they have been able to hold up as well as they have, but I believe part of that reason is due to playing against similar QB types. Kaepernick breaks the mold and is much different than any of these pure pocket passers they have played against, not much needed to be changed to their defensive scheme. It is also a key note that when the Ravens played against a QB with a similar playing style as Colin, RGIII and the Redskins, the Ravens gave up 31 points and lost that match up. Well they need to revamp the defense to take on Colin, and though they will have 2 weeks to rest and prepare for the Superbowl, I believe that momentum, and adrenalin they had carrying them through the AFC playoffs will run out.