Whether you gather around family and friends for the commercials or for the pigskin, Super Bowl Sunday is officially a holiday in America. Of course this article is going to deal more with the football portion of the equation than the advertisements, but here it is, the earliest Super Bowl preview you are going to find anywhere. What will happen when the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers meet the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans on February 3rd?
Allow me to begin by taking the rare opportunity to gloat for predicting this correctly. Click HERE to see my conference championship prognostications which turned out to be right on the money!
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the journey that Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers have been on over the past couple of weeks. His first career playoff start was a record-shattering one in which he rushed for 181 yards in a beatdown of the Green Bay Packers. Against the Atlanta Falcons, he was little more than a decoy in the running game, but was quite efficient as a passer. Frank Gore carried the load for the Niners in the NFC title game.
As for the Ravens, their story is even more improbable. Ray Lewis announcing his intent to retire following the playoffs, regardless of where the team finished, seemed like a lot of pressure to heap on the shoulders of an entire team at first. As the postseason has moved along however, that decision has proven to be anything but a burden. The Ravens have played inspired football with Joe Flacco proving his worth as a franchise quarterback and a defense that was much maligned during the regular season coming to life during this playoff run.
Now when we look at what a showdown between these two will bring, the obvious storyline that will get plenty of play over the coming two weeks is the head coaching connection. Jim and John Harbaugh will be the first brothers to ever meet as coaches in a Super Bowl which goes without saying. It’s really such a unique matchup that it’s hard to put into perspective.
As far as the football side of things goes, the 49ers have a stingy defense that has looked mortal during the playoffs thus far. Flacco and the Ravens haven’t exactly been juggernauts by any stretch, but they have been effective enough to get three wins and earn a trip to New Orleans. Kaepernick has yet to be fazed by any of the attention that he has received in recent weeks, but media day will put that cool demeanor to the test.
There are so many angles to take on this game, it really is a dream matchup for the NFL. It could very easily be a defensive struggle with both sides fighting tooth and nail for yards while it could also be a shootout with both dynamic offenses lighting the scoreboard up continuously. One thing is certain; this year’s Super Bowl is one that will be remembered for a number of different reasons. History will be made in New Orleans on February 3rd.
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