The Super Bowl or Harbowl is now one day away and thankfully so is the endless hype. In the end, it’s just another football game and the best team will walk away with the trophy. The question is who will that be, the San Francisco 49ers or Baltimore Ravens?
Super Bowls start and end with the quarterbacks, the one that plays better is usually on the winning team. This year’s edition raises an interesting dilemma because both Colin Kapernick and Joe Flacco have never been on a stage as big as this one. Kapernick was a backup until well into the season and then got his chance when starter, Alex Smith went down with an injury. Kapernick has played almost flawlessly and has handled every big situation, and will offer a huge challenge to a Ravens defense that is not the unit that once dominated the NFL.
The 49ers also run the ball very well and run a lot of things off of their running game. Running back Frank Gore is playing some of the best football of his career and with Kapernick’s ability to run and pass, the Ravens will have a difficult time slowing down the Niner’s attack. If the Ravens do manage to slow down the run, then the 49ers can beat them with the pass. They have rediscovered tight end, Vernon Davis and he will be a tough cover for the Ravens.
On the other side of the ball, it all comes down to Flacco. Call me a skeptic or a bitter Denver Broncos fan, you would be right on both counts, but I still don’t believe in Flacco. Yes he has played well in the playoffs but I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. If Flacco plays as he has over the past few weeks then the Ravens will be right there at the end.
The Ravens must continue to use Ray Rice and the running game to protect Flacco. The 49ers rush the quarterback as well as anyone and if they can put pressure on Flacco, then the mistakes will come. However if the Ravens can run the ball and dictate throw when they want to, then Flacco could finish his magical ride.
The Ravens have a huge edge in special teams and returner Jacoby Jones could change the game with one big return. The Ravens also have the advantage in terms of their field goal kicker. Rookie Justin Tucker has been great all season for the Ravens, while veteran David Akers has been a disaster for the 49ers. If the game comes down to the fourth quarter and a field goal, then the Ravens have to like their chances.
The best thing that is going to happen on Sunday night has nothing to do with the game itself. Regardless of who wins, the career of Ray Lewis and the insufferable coverage of this guy will hopefully come to an end. He’s a great player but there are Heads of State who are not treated with this kind of reverence.
As for the game and who is going to win? I’ll probably be proven wrong yet again and if you are a Ravens fan, this will make you happy. I still don’t believe and I think the 49ers are a better football team; it will be close but give me the Niners. 27-23.
Come Monday morning, the chase begins again and in February of 2014 there is going to be a parade in downtown Denver. I guarantee it!
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