The Baltimore Ravens are going to beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl this year — a game in which, for the first time in NFL history, the two opposing head coaches are brothers. If I were announcing:
In the left corner, at 50 years of age and head coach of the Baltimore Ravens: John “Screw being coordinator” Harbaugh!
And in the right corner, at 49 years of age, 6 foot 3 inches, 215 pounds and head coach of the San Francisco 49ers: Jim “The other “Captain Comeback” Harbaugh!
This game features two teams so similar in makeup that analysts qualm when calling a winner. It will be a classic Ali vs. Foreman boxing match up. With a team that has been clicking all season in San Francisco competing against a team that limped into the playoffs in Baltimore, naturally the line favors the 49ers. By five, in fact.
However, I am proclaiming that the Baltimore Ravens will win the Super Bowl by 10. Take that, Vegas!
San Francisco defeated the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game by shredding their linebackers with strong tight end play, as Vernon Davis had 106 receiving yards in the game. The Ravens, meanwhile, have a more potent line backing core, which was on display during their 28-13 thrashing of the New England Patriots last weekend. The Ravens’ defense will prove more difficult to score on than the other teams the 49ers faced during playoffs.
Consider this: The first team San Francisco played was the Green Bay Packers. The Packers’ two line backers, Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk, average about eight combined tackles plus assisted tackles per game in post-season play. San Francisco won the game by 14.
The next opponent the 49ers competed against was the Falcons. The Falcons’ two line backers, Sean Witherspoon and Akeem Dent, average about 12 total tackles plus assisted tackles per game in post-season play. That game San Fran won by just four.
The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, boast two line backers, Ray Lewis and Terrel Suggs, who have averaged about 17 tackles plus assisted tackles per game in post-season play. This is a small sample size, but the post-season trend shows that a team with a stronger line backing core will fare better against the 49ers.
Both teams posses dynamic offenses. The 49ers have been clicking since Kaepernick took over center and Raven quarterback Joe Flacco can heave a 60-yard pass to any of his three receivers at any time. Also, both teams feature strong running games.
The game will ultimately come down to who has the best defense, and, right now, that has to be the Ravens. While they gave up 35 points to the Denver Broncos (sorry for the reminder), they also held an elite Patriots offense to a mere 13 points, including a second half shutout. The 49ers, on the other hand, allowed 31 points and 24 points to the Packers and Falcons, respectively.
Perhaps I’m a little inspired by Ray Lewis’s farewell tour of the playoffs, but I simply have more faith in the Ravens right now.
“Football is like ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other,” Jack Handey has said.
The San Francisco 49ers have yet to face a team in the playoffs with a defense in the same epsilon as that of the Ravens. The game may start off close, but the 49ers will not be able to operate on offense as they have recently, and in the end I predict that Baltimore will win 24-14 with an early fourth quarter knockout blow.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Edward Quartin at Edward.firstname.lastname@example.org.