The matchup for Super Bowl XLVII (47) has been set: San Francisco 49ers vs Baltimore Ravens.
The 49ers were the NFC West Champion and was the #2 seed in the NFC. They reached the Super Bowl by first beating the Green Bay Packers, 45-31, where quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran wild and set a playoff rushing record for quarterbacks. In the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers went to Atlanta and was able to overcome Atlanta’s strong passing game in the first half to win, 28-24.
The Baltimore Ravens were the AFC North and was the #4 seed in the AFC. They beat the Colts, 24-9, in the Wildcard round. They then traveled to Denver and beat the #1 seed Broncos, 38-35, in two overtimes. They trailed the Broncos by a touchdown with less than one minute left in the game, but, thanks in part to a breakdown in the Denver secondary, got a 70-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. In the overtime periods, the defense held and eventually got a turnover on an interception of a Peyton Manning pass, which the offense converted into the winning field goal. In the AFC Championship Game, the Ravens spotted the Patriots a 13-7 lead at halftime in New England, then stormed back to score three unanswered touchdowns to win, 28-13.
Here’s how I see the matchups:
49ers Offense vs Ravens Defense
Jim Harbough’s controversial change at the quarterback position in mid-season turned out to be a good move for the 49ers, as Kaepernick gave the 49ers a new dimension in the form of a mobile quarterback. In the playoffs, the offense was clicking, with Kaepernick able to get Crabtree, Davis, and even Randy Moss, involved. On the other hand, the Ravens defense has not necessarily been stingy in the playoffs in terms of yards given up, but they have come up big when needed, especially impressive was how they were able to shut down the Patriots offense in the second half in New England. Overall, I see the 49ers able to move the ball against the Ravens, but they might have difficulty scoring touchdowns. A slight edge to the Ravens defense.
Ravens Offense vs 49ers Defense
Ravens offense has been surprisingly good in the playoffs. On the other hand, the 49ers defense has been their hallmark during the season, even though in the playoffs the defense did give up some yards. Having said that, the 49ers did face two high-powered offenses in Green Bay and Atlanta, and the defense did enough to win. So, a slight edge to the 49ers defense.
The 49ers have one of the best punters in the business in Andy Lee. That’s where the good news stops, though. On the kicking game, David Akers has had issues this season, and he missed a 38-yarder that would have tied the game against the Falcons. Baltimore is also stronger in the return game. Overall, a big edge to the Ravens special teams.
I predict the final score to be Ravens 31, 49ers 27. The special teams of Ravens will make one big play, and that will end up being the difference in the game.