Here it is. The moment we have spent the last few months waiting for….Super Bowl Preview, Predictions and Picks!
Ravens Vs 49ers (-4.5):
This will be a very interesting game, and one that I was quite hopeful for heading into the Conference Championships game. Before we come up with a pick, we are going to break down these teams and see who has the advantage in certain areas.
Let’s not lie to each other, okay ? The truth is, these are two different styles of QB. You could make a case for either. I think Kaepernick is amazing. The guy has a rocket for an arm, and when he gets out of the pocket he runs like a gazelle. Seriously the guy has a stride 5 yards long. Joe Flacco has been on a monstrous run in these playoffs. 8 touchdowns and no interceptions in the three games. The Colts and Pats had pretty weak secondaries, but the Broncos had the 2nd best pass defense in the NFL and had a field day. To be fair though, a lot of his yardage came from deep touchdowns. I think the Ravens will go deep a few times in this game. I have to give the edge to Kaepernick though. He forces the defense to cover him as well, the creates more room for his receivers.
When it comes to the guys they will be throwing it too, I do not think it is as close. For the 49ers, Micheal Crabtree is the workhorse. He has twice as much receiving yards as the next man, TE Vernon Davis. Davis may have his work cut out for him. The Ravens have given up 818 yards to tightends this season, but they have buckled down in the redzone, giving up only 2 touchdowns to TE’s. Aaron Hernandez was limited to one catch for six yards.
The Ravens do not necessarily have one stand out receiver like Crabtree, but they have a group of role players at receiver. Torrey Smith is a deep threat, averaging 17.4 yard per catch. Boldin has been very reliable moving the ball down the field and TE Pitta will look for the endzone vs a 49ers defense that gave 8 touchdowns (Tied for 7th most in the NFL) to TE’s this season. Pitta’s 7 touchdowns had him tied for 6th in the NFL amongst tight ends. Receiving advantage: Ravens.
What offense is complete without a decent rushing game (Besides the Saints) ? This game features two of the very best, hard working, never quit, running down field runningbacks that the NFL has to offer. Frank Gore has been learning to play in the read option and it has created more lanes for him. He fights for the chains, recording 67 first downs this season. He will have the edge playing a defense that has given up 15 rushing touchdowns this season.
Ray Rice is not quite the bulldozer Frank Gore is, but he still has explosion to get the yards that are needed. He is nimble and has very good field vision, just ask the San Diego Chargers. His only down side is that he will be playing one of the top rushing defenses in the league. Ray is going to need to get something going, if only to set up the playaction pass. Rushing Advantage: 49ers
Both teams have huge offensive lines, but advance stats give the run blocking edge to the 49ers. The 49ers lead the NFL in 2nd level ratio (Yards which this team’s running backs earn between 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries) with 1.49. Baltimore ranks 14th 1.22. Both teams do a great job pass blocking. Alex Smith got sacked a lot, but it looks as though the mobility of Kaepernick and a teams unwillingness to blitz him frequently have cut down the the sacks. Offensive line Advantage: 49ers
OFFENSIVE ADVANTAGE: 49ers
That being said, defense wins championships. Tonight you will to see two of the best.
When it comes to defending the pass, the Baltimore Ravens have been a bend but do not break type of defense. despite giving up almost a yard more per catch, then the 49ers, the Ravens have given up 4 fewer touchdowns through the air. The 49ers defense is very physical and they like to bump at the line. This will give issues to Torrey Smith, but it will leave openings for Boldin, who does his best in physical play. The key for the Ravens secondary will be shutting down Crabtree. Graham will be on him alot, which is a good match up. Crabtrees height at 6’1″ gives him some mismatches, but not against the 6′ Graham. The 49ers defense has given up some big plays and some easy plays to both the Packers and the Falcons. There is cause for concern.
Pass Defense Advantage: Ravens
When it comes to stopping the run, the 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL at doing it. They had trouble vs the Seahawks, but the Ravens will not be running a read option. The Ravens have begun to turn their rush defense around after beginning the season horrible. Dallas had a great rushing game vs the Ravens, and then went on to set their franchise low in rushing yards. I think neither team will get much going on the ground, but I give the 49ers the advantage in Rush defense.
That being said, I like the way the Ravens are playing on defense right now. They shut down two of the best pocket passers that the NFL has to offer (Brady, P. Manning). Kaepernick can use his feet to extend the plays, but this is a a veteran defense. They can make you pay for trying to scramble, just ask RG3.
Defensive advantage: Ravens
Now its time for the pick. At the begining of the season, I picked the Ravens and shunned the 49ers because I did not think Smith had what it takes to take a team to the promised land. Apparently Kapernick does. Midway through the season, I found myself on the 49ers bandwagon and I rode that money train all the way through the playoffs. I first picked the 49ers in this matchup, just because they had the momentum and were a favorite winning each week, and the Ravens were big underdogs who kept pulling off upsets. Then I began to think things over and sided back with my Ravens pick. I had a view internet associates and fellow gamblers try and pull me back to the 49ers side.
(These are their birth names)
Mitchell88: “I thinks it is 49ers all day, the Ravens are out of juice and Flacco has never played three consecutive decent games in his career, check it out”
Smutbucket: “really love kapernick in this offense, harbaughs run-blocking schemes are amazing, now with a QB like kapernick whos got a laser for an arm, and his size combined with his mobility, combined with the defense they got?!, my moneys gonna be on the 49ers alot these next couple seasons…..
honestly I like ravens offense but their D is nothing that spectacular in my opinion, i think 49ers are better than them on both sides of the ball, denver blew that game and I think pats offense isnt that good without gronk, they need big receivers/good hands to win with that bs short pass offense they got, so I dont give that D that much credit for those games….and I dont think they will be able to slow down this offense at all….best case scenario they hold em to 24ish pts….think SF def will give up 1-2 TD’s at most…..”
McDuggly: “The Ravens haven’t played a team like the 49ers in the postseason. Brady and Manning are pure pocket passers, and guys like Ngata and Suggs thrive there. Plus they haven’t seen a defense as physical as the Niners. One of the best defenses I have ever seen play.”
So most statistics back the 49ers. Most gamblers are going after them. The line is rising as we speak. This is football though, you must expect the unexpected. Teams playing with emotion and passion can be willed through a game. Momentum can cover any short comings a team has. I am going to go with the emotional pick. Ravens +180 5 units!
We hope our preview, picks and predictions serve you well for the big game. Enjoy your Super bowl parties.