Another Super Bowl in New Orleans: Niners vs. Ravens Preview
No matter what kind of research- stats, rival-record history, officiating trends, breakfasts’ players are eating on game day morning-we look up, we won’t predict the outcome of Super Bowl XLVII easily. Still, that won’t deter us from covering every angle in order to determine which team has the winning edge this Sunday.
Let’s Start Obvious: On paper, the 49ers blow the Ravens out of the water in most categories.
They pretty much blow every NFL team out of the water overall, wow.
According to Profootballfocus.com, perhaps the greatest website designed to evaluate-every single snap from every NFL player-NFL talent, ranks the San Francisco 49ers number one overall in total offense and number one overall in total defense in 2012.
The margin of error between both Super Bowl contestants from both categories is a whopping 253.5 points.
You: So now what? Game over, already? I thought we were still in the first quarter?
Me: Chill out and grab a shovel. Let’s take a glance at the 49er’s and the Raven’s win and loss patterns this season.
The pattern above suggests the Ravens are due for a win and the 49ers are due for a loss. Call me crazy, I’m a little offended, but perhaps that could be some solid ground worth uncovering.
Joe Flacco vs. Colin Kaepernick: Technically, Kaepernick is a second year pro, but behind the best offensive line in football, he looks like a veteran. Still, he hasn’t seen everything yet. The Ravens defense can take advantage of his inexperience with different blitz packages throughout the game. Flip a coin though ladies and gentlemen, because Colin can run. He blazed a 4.5 forty time at the 2010 NFL combine and runs in and outside of the tackles without hesitating. The Ravens have had a consistent problem containing the outside rush all season long and I don’t expect that to change much this Super Bowl.
Furthermore, Kaepernick set the NFL rushing record for a quarterback with 181 yards against the Packers three weeks ago, so the Ravens better disguise their defense honestly and seek a couple of great hits on Colin early if they want to contain him.
Joe Flacco is a prototypical, fundamentally sound quarterback at “6′ 6,” with one of the strongest arms in the NFL and ever since Jim Caldwell took over as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator in December, his QB production has escalated. On a more balanced attack, Flacco has thrown for eight touchdowns and zero interceptions throughout the postseason. Currently, his quarterback rating is 114.
This season, Joe has been playing it cool when opposing defenses don’t blitz, but the complete opposite is true when he sees pressure.
Joe has been under duress 32% of the time this season on all of his passing attempts. The 49er’s don’t have a tendency to blitz because they generate consistent pressure with their front four and rely on their pass coverage to eat space. However, the Ravens’ offensive line is one of the better offensive lines in the NFL at pass protecting, therefore, the Niners have two solid reasons why they should consider adding more blitzes to their script this Super Bowl. We shall see.
Due Playmakers: Ed Reed has not collected an interception or pass defense since Week 13. 49ers’ outside linebacker, Aldon Smith hasn’t recorded a sack since Week 14 of the regular season.
Distractions: Did Ray Lewis use deer antler extract to help him recover from his triceps injury? Oh, media, what were you trying to do? The whole world wants to see him play in the last game of his career and illegal or not, nothing will prevent that from happening. Besides, you can’t distract Ray-“I’m a machine, Jerk!”
The biggest distraction in New Orleans is New Orleans itself. It’s a very easy place to get distracted by, especially before a Super Bowl. Out of the ten Super Bowls played in New Orleans, on average, the more distracted team loses by a deficit of 22 points. The closest Super Bowl to date was Super Bowl XXXVI, between the New England Patriots and the St.Louis Rams (20-17).
You knew this was coming………
You know football games aren’t played on paper, they are played on the gridiron. In my opinion, the one variable that stands out this season, giving either team a winning edge in Super Bowl XLVII, is the unmeasured variable inside the Ravens’ locker room: chemistry.
The Ravens journey to the Vince Lombardi Trophy this season has been nothing short of incredible.
They’ve played nine, down-to-the-wire games, winning seven of them.
The loss of Torrey Smith’s brother-Tevin Smith.
The Ravens beat Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in back to back playoff games on the road. These two quarterbacks are arguably the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
The firing of winning, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, three weeks before the playoffs.
When a franchise fires a member of the coaching staff during the season, it usually suggests it’s time to rebuild, not on this occasion. The Ravens were one game away from clinching a playoff birth (9-4) and fired Cam anyway.
The mystique and power behind Ray Lewis’s retirement.
A lot of these statements aren’t documented as stats, but perhaps they should be.
I believe that every individual Raven wants to win Super Bowl XLVII more so, than every individual 49er, but it’s going to be close. The Ravens are going to win Super Bowl XLVII, 24-19 final.