The biggest day in professional football is Sunday. The 49ers and Ravens will square off in the Super Bowl, and only one team leave as a winner. This year’s Super Bowl as a lot of story lines. From the Harbaugh brothers making history coaching against each other in the big game to dealing with the departure of Hall of Fame player Ray Lewis. Like the Super Bowls before this one the most memorable moments will be those left on the field. Here is an in-depth analysis of the Super Bowl match-up below. Feel free to comment or debate the selections that are made.
Colin Kaepernick vs. Joe Flacco
Both quarterbacks have different styles, but they both have the ability to will their teams to victory. Flacco is a pocket quarterback with the ability to scramble when needed, and Kaepernick is the new age hybrid quarterback that can run the ball for 70 yards as well as throwing the ball at an efficient level as well. Since Jim Caldwell has taken over for Cam Cameron as the offensive coordinator Flacco has been a different player. His big arm has been on display enabling guys like Anquan Boldin, Jacoby Jones, and Torrey Smith to make big plays. With Kaepernick he has beat teams with his legs as well as his arm. The pistol offense give Kaep a huge advantage due to his big arm and mobility.
Frank Gore and LaMichael James vs. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce
Frank Gore and Ray Rice are arguably the most complete running backs in the NFL. Both have the ability to dominate on the ground, catch out of the backfield, and provide adequate pass coverage when needed. You can’t go wrong with either back, and many teams around the NFL would love to have them on their rosters. Their backups LaMichael James and Bernard Pierce are no slouches either. James was thrusted into the lineup after Kendall Hunter went down with a season ending injury. Since then James has been the perfect complement to Gore. Bernard Pierce is a solid back, and is a great change of pace back to compliment Rice. Pierce has shown flashes this season with big games, and could play a huge role in the Super Bowl.
Wide Receiver’s/Tight Ends
This is a tough debate since both teams are loaded with talent on the outside. Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin are the older guys that can still ball, but guys such as Torrey Smith, Michael Crabtree, Dennis Pitta, and Vernon Davis are big time players as well. Both teams use their skill players in different manners. The Ravens have become a pass first team under new coordinator Jim Caldwell, and the guys on the outside have blossomed. The 49ers are still a power team, but they do a good job with mixing it up with the passing game. If I were a quarterback I wouldn’t mind throwing to either group of skilled players.
Both offensive lines pride themselves on tenacity. With the Ravens future Hall of Famer Matt Birk is the anchor of the offensive line. The Ravens have strong pieces that punish opponents in the running game, and it is rare that Joe Flacco is laying in the dirt. The 49ers offensive line is younger the Ravens offensive line, but age is nothing but a number. Joe Staley is one of the best left tackles in the game, and is complimented well by the other lineman such as Mike Iupati, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, and the elder statesmen Jonathon Goodwin. The 49ers and Ravens are almost identical when talking about the offensive lines. I think it’s pretty scary.
Both defenses are loaded with Pro Bowlers, Hall of Famers, and All-Pros. We all know that this is Ray Lewis last game so the Ravens will be very emotional. Linebackers Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Suggs may be the best group of Linebackers playing in the same Super Bowl in recent memory. We all know that Ed Reed is the head of the class when talking about the secondary, but the 49ers may have the best back four playing in the game with Goldson, Whitner, Rodgers, and Brown. Both defensive lines are led by All-Pros Haloti Ngata and Justin Smith. Games are won in the trenches so it will be interesting to see both defensive lines play against strong offensive lines. Like many of the other categories there is no clear-cut advantage.
David Akers has resembled Ray Finkle rather than the Pro Bowl kicker from last season. Akers has missed the most field goals in the NFL this season. On the Ravens side Justin Tucker has been one of the best kickers in the NFL. Tucker has been money in the bank, and put the Ravens over the Broncos in Overtime during the Divisional match up in this years playoffs. Return men Jacoby Jones, Teddy Ginn Jr, and LaMichael James can make big plays, but out of the three Jacoby Jones is the most dangerous of the group.
The Harbaugh brothers are gutsy, brash, and excellent. Sorry, but there is no other way to put it.
49ers 34- Ravens 21( Hoping for at least one choppa city juke from Jacoby)
Sorry, I have to roll with the home team.