With Super Bowl Sunday fast approaching, the nation prepares for a showdown between the San Fransico 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. It will also be the first time in history that two brothers have faced each other as head coaches on football’s biggest stage. John and Jim Harbaugh and their two high-powered teams are set to clash on the gridiron in what has quickly become known as the Haurbaugh bowl. He says Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers will loom large. She says Ray Lewis and the Ravens will commit murder on the field.
The Paw Print
This weekend we are going to see the 49ers rap-rap-rapping on the Ravens’ door looking for their first Super Bowl since 1995.
The man leading the 49ers to their eventual victory is Colin Kaepernick. Jim Harbaugh’s controversial decision to start Kaepernick even after Alex Smith returned from injury seems to have paid off. Throwing ten touchdown passes with only three interceptions, Kaepernick has taken over the football world. The only question some may have is: Can somebody who has only started 15 total games including those in the post season hold up under the pressures of a Super Bowl? I believe he can. His cool, calm, and collected interviews and arms the size of Lou Ferrigno’s give me confidence.
Helping him on the offensive side of the ball will be the hard-hitting runningback Frank Gore, who rushed for 1,214 yards during the regular season. Having a runningback like Gore on the team will give the 49ers something to fall back on if their offense begins to struggle. Another key factor for the 49ers is whether or not they can get tight end Vernon Davis involved. They did this successfully against the Patriots, which really helped them get the win. The balance between Kaepernick and Gore, and whether or not they can incorporate Vernon Davis, will ultimately be the determining factor on whether the offense will be dominant.
Now the question is how the 49ers plan on stopping the Ravens’ rushing attack, lead by Ray Rice. The 49ers are fourth in the league in both passing and running defense, allowing 200 yards a game through the air and 94 yards a game on the ground. They are led by Patrick Willis, who had 120 tackles during the regular season. Ray Rice is going to have a tough time running past this five time pro-bowl inside linebacker, who some argue is the best in the league. Carlos Rodgers, who had his best season yet, will be helping the 49ers slow down the passing game of the Ravens. With one interception on the year and a total of 50 tackles, this dangerous cornerback will be a determining factor in whether or not the 49ers can slow down the solid passing attack of the Ravens that both the Broncos and the Patriots could not handle. The 49ers on paper look much better than the Ravens. As stated before, they rank fourth in both passing and running defense whereas the Ravens rank 17th in pass defense, and 19th in rush defense. On the offensive side of the ball the 49ers have the edge as well with the 23rd ranked passing offense to the Ravens 15th and, they have the fourth ranked rushing offense to Ravens 11th.
With these numbers in mind, I believe the 49ers will be the ones to come out victorious. I cannot wait to be sitting down watching the 49ers take a stab at Ray Lewis and the Ravens, as they murder them with a blowout score.
The Paw Print
The Paw Print
The stage is set for a battle of the brothers on Sunday. Older brother John Harbaugh and his Ravens against younger brother Jim and his 49ers. In what looks to be an offensively dominated game, I predict that the scoreboard will show John and the Ravens as champions in the Superdome.
Under center for the Ravens is Joe Flacco, who has been with the team since he was drafted in 2008. Flacco, just like San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, will play in his first Super Bowl on Sunday. I expect Flacco to handle this pressure nicely. In postseason play, Flacco has already thrown for 8 touchdowns and zero interceptions. With more playoff experience, I believe Flacco is better equipped for football’s biggest stage than Kaepernick is.
Flacco must be able to get in sync with his receivers and keep the offense moving. Look for him to connect with Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, and Jacoby Jones. Also, expect Flacco to connect with them on the deep ball.
The Raven’s running game will also give them a boost. Ray Rice accumulated 1,143 yards this season, rushing for 9 touchdowns. Rice is also responsible for helping turn around the Ravens’ season with his miracle fourth-and-29 play against the Chargers. On Sunday, I predict we see a lot of hey diddle diddle Ray Rice up the middle.
Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker could also be key in Sunday’s game. Tucker is 30-33 on field goal attempts, including the 47-yard game-winner against the Broncos. David Akers, 49ers kicker, has been struggling lately, which could be a game changer in New Orleans.
Baltimore’s defense also needs to come up big. For the regular season, the Ravens rank 2nd overall in total tackles recorded. In New Orleans, they must stop the 49ers rush attack in order to come out on top. Baltimore will have to keep Kaepernick and Frank Gore in check and minimize the yards that both rack up.
A major factor in Sunday’s game will be vetern linebacker Ray Lewis. Lewis, who was sidelined for a portion of the season, will be dying to take another stab at a Super Bowl title. As one of the team’s leaders, he is sure to have an impact on Sunday, especially in what looks to be his final game.
Nine-time Pro Bowl selection Ed Reed will also be instrumental for the Ravens. During the regular season, he registered three fumble recoveries and four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
The Ravens have fought well through the course of the playoffs, besting some of the more hyped teams. Sunday’s game will be no different. With a lot of talk surrounding the meeting of these two teams and two brothers, the Ravens will need to be at the top of their game. That being said, I predict that the older brother and his team will hoist the Lombardi trophy come Sunday evening.