This year's 'Super Browl' sure to be good, close game
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 01:01
We’ve all heard the nicknames for this year’s Super Bowl. The Super Browl. The Har-Bowl. Oh, and did anybody notice that two Harbaugh brothers, Jim of the 49ers and John of the Ravens, will coach against each other in this year’s Super Bowl? It will be the first time that two blood related coaches have ever compete in a title game in any of the four major pro sports in America.
It almost seems like there are more stories about the coaches being related and the players than there are about the game itself and who will win. But alas, in between the commercials that most people spend all week speculating about, there is a Super Bowl to play.
Five weeks into the regular season you would have been hard pressed to find a non-fan that believed the Baltimore Ravens or San Francisco 49ers would make it to this year’s Super Bowl. The Ravens had just fired their offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after two straight losses and newly hired Jim Caldwell got off to a rough start when the Ravens lost to the Broncos 34-17. But then a convincing win over the Giants, a run during the postseason that has seen QB Joe Flacco throw eight touchdowns and zero interceptions and Ray Rice total over 250 yards and three touchdowns against three of the toughest run defenses in the NFL, helped prove that the change of Offensive Coordinator was the right move.
The 49ers made a questionable call with just as many repercussions as the Ravens decision. In Week 10, Colin Kaepernick took over for injured starter Alex Smith, who had led the 49ers to the NFC title game last year, and never looked back. Kaepernick added a new dimension to the offense that they had lacked under Smith’s direction. This was most evident in the Divisional round matchup against the Packers, where Kaepernick totaled 444 rushing and passing yards and four touchdowns.
But this is more about two decisions that ended up being right calls. Both teams have a star at just about every position on the roster. Torrey Smith vs. Michael Crabtree. Justin Smith vs. Haloti Ngata. Patrick Willis vs. Ray Lewis. The list can go on and on. Both teams have plenty of star power, so who has the advantage?
The 49ers have one of the best running games in the NFL, ranking 4th according to ESPN.com. But their passing offense has been lacking. Colin Kaepernick will have to have a good game passing in order to give the 49ers a chance. The Ravens are more balanced offensively, ranking 15th and 11th respectively. Joe Flacco has been having arguably one of the best postseason runs for a QB in NFL history, but some question whether he will be able to continue his strong play or have a so-so game that he has fallen susceptible to in years past.
Both teams have strong defenses, with the edge going to the 49ers. Both have strong punting and kicking games as well. The Ravens, however, do have two advantages over the 49ers: The veteran players, especially those on defense, have been in plenty of big games before. This is a team that has won at least one playoff game five years in a row. The 49ers also have many veteran players on their roster, some who have even appeared in Super Bowls. But the players that they will lean on come Sunday have very little playoff experience.
An even bigger advantage may be that the Ravens are playing for Ray Lewis. The often outspoken and all around loved linebacker for the Ravens will call it quits after this game; no matter what the outcome. It has to be expected that the Ravens will have a little extra motivation going into Sunday to get Ray Lewis a ring in his final game.
This game will be a tight contest that might come down to one or two plays. Which team’s quarterback plays better and which defense can more effectively contain the other’s offense will be the keys to this game. The Ravens and Ray Lewis will win a second Super Bowl in a game decided by four points. Final Score will be 27-23 Ravens over 49ers.
Coverage for the game starts at 5:30 at the Superdome in New Orleans on CBS.