I like the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVII, but there is one match-up that they will need to win if they are going to beat the suddenly hot Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have been stout vs the run in the playoffs as they have held their opponents to just 3.9 yards per carry with zero rushing touchdowns, but this Niners running game will surely provide their toughest test. San Fran will run to the right, but the majority of their action will take place up the middle and to the left behind Jonathan Goodwin, Mike Iupati, and Joe Staley.
The Ravens will use their defensive lineman Haloti Ngata in several different positions on the D-line, but I imagine he will see plenty of action going up against the left side of the Niners O-line as the Ravens will be desperate in this game to stifle the 49ers increasingly awesome/effective running game. The 49ers use different formations to attack teams on the ground and the results (especially lately) have been that defensive ends and linebackers are getting fooled and beat for big plays. Ngata is Baltimore’s best chance to keep Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, and LaMichael James in check on Super Bowl Sunday. The rejuvenated Ma’ake Kemoeatu will be at nose tackle with Ngata beside him on most plays and they will need to have massive days making plays, plus occupying would-be blockers which allows their fantastic linebackers to roam and do their thing (article on Ravens Super Bowl caliber linebackers is HERE).
On plays where Ngata takes on Iupati we will be in for a treat as these two are as good as it gets at their positions, plus Staley vs Ngata should be fun too. There are times when the Niners are so effective with their ground game that we see center Goodwin get to the second level to lay more blocks for Gore or Kaepernick (lately James too) so Ngata (with help from Kemoeatu as well) will need to be very good on Super Bowl Sunday. I like the 49ers to win this game, and if they can find a way to negate Ngata then I go from liking the Niners to loving the Niners in this game.
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