With only a couple of days of waiting remaining, the anticipation of Super Bowl XLVII is growing stronger and stronger. The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are primed to face off in what some are predicting to be one of the best Super Bowl matchups in history.
Of course, all of the attention is centered around the “HarBowl,” the sudden emergence of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and the final game of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. I try to not pay too much attention to these story lines, but looking deeper into them, they will be really critical in the outcome of this game.
The head-to-head matchup between Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh will be an intriguing one. Both brothers have great football minds, and I am pretty sure that both will have an idea of what the other is thinking throughout the game. This is one reason why I believe that this game will be close down to the wire.
Looking at the fact that Kaepernick’s 10th career NFL start at quarterback will be in the biggest game of the year definitely makes me feel that at some point, his inexperience will begin to show. I know that a lot of people are comparing Kaepernick’s situation to the way New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady entered the spotlight, but Brady wasn’t facing a seasoned veteran Ravens defense.
Baltimore’s defense will play a huge part in this year’s Super Bowl. They have already faced a similar quarterback during the regular season in Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. I’m sure that will work to the Ravens’ advantage.
As for Baltimore’s offense, statistically they aren’t a juggernaut, but they have proved in the postseason that they are capable of playing big when it counts most. I’m specifically referring to the AFC Divisional round versus the Denver Broncos. The Ravens were up against a defense that was ranked second overall, and third in run and pass defense during the regular season.
All they did was put 38 points on the board against one of the best defenses on the road. If Baltimore’s offense was able to do it once, I believe that they can do it against a 49ers defense that’s ranked third overall, and fourth in run and pass defense.
With all of this being said, I do feel that the X-factor of this game will be something that will happen before the opening kickoff. The pregame speech that Lewis will give his team will be the one thing that puts the Ravens over the top in this game. It should be bigger than the “Win One for the Gipper” speech.
The emotion that Lewis has shown throughout his career pales in comparison to the level of emotion he has shown during this postseason. Lewis’ presence alone has catapulted his team farther than some expected. Whatever Lewis plans to say to his team will have them more than ready to send him off in style.
Throughout the playoffs, I’ve made many predictions solely off stats. I picked the Ravens to lose in the divisional round, and I was wrong. I picked the Ravens to lose in the AFC Championship, and I was wrong. I even picked the 49ers to lose in their divisional round, and guess what, I was wrong.
So for this final game of the 2012 season, I’m going to go with my heart instead of my head. The familiarity that the Harbaugh brothers have with each other will make this game go to the wire. However, the inexperience of Kaepernick and the overflowing emotions of Lewis will give Baltimore their second Lombardi Trophy, and San Francisco their first Super Bowl defeat in their franchise’s history.
Prediction: Ravens 27, 49er 24
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