February 3, 2013 by stevietz93
( For my “expert” prediction, just skip to the bottom)
After championship weekend, I was disappointed over the teams I was going to watch play for the heralded Lombardi trophy. I was still bitter of the 49ers defeat of my beloved Packers and the idea of seeing Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez play in the Super Bowl enticed me. In the AFC, my man-crush on Tom Brady made my pick easy. I mean, who doesn’t wanna see Tom Terrific play in another Super Bowl and hopefully demolish whichever team he would’ve met.
But as time has passed, I’ve become a lot more excited for this Super Bowl, and not only for the actual play of the game, which I will get to later. The story lines heading in are plentiful, with stories on both sides providing plenty of excitement for Super Sunday.
The Harbowl is the easy story line for everyone to follow; even for those people who don’t know the difference between what a touchdown and a fumble is and are only watching for the commercials. Contrary to what the dumb Deion Sanders says, this is the first time ever that two brothers will be coaching against each other on the biggest stage of the year. Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the 49ers, is the younger brother of John Harbaugh, the coach of the Ravens. But this story line will die down right after kick off, because in reality it doesn’t mean anything until after the game and the parents are there either cheering, crying, or doing both.
Story line number two is Ray Lewis, and Super bowl XLVII being the final game of his illustrious career (so we think. I mean, he could pull a Brett Favre, who knows). If one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history can cap off his career with a Super Bowl win, it will be akin the way John Elway ended his career and Ray-Ray will go down in history. The potential scene at the end of the game with eye-black smeared on his face, tears dripping to the ground and prayers going on at midfield will be special.
The last and most important story line, in my opinion, is Colin Kaepernick. Yes, just Colin Kapernick. The spark-plug sophomore (but essentially rookie) quarterback has put the team on his back. The vaunted defence has been anything but during these playoffs, and Frank Gore has been demoted to Robin next to Kaepernick’s Batman. This game will fall squarely on Kaepernick’s shoulders and what he does with this opportunity will determine who wins the Super Bowl. In his first playoff game, he ran gangbusters all over Green Bay making their defence look like a group of 10-year-old pop warner kids. In his second playoff game, he erased a 17-point deficit to beat the Falcons, winning on the strength of his arm this time, not his legs. Unless the Ravens can stop both the passing game and Kaerpernick’s running game, the 49ers will be tough to beat.
Even lesser story lines add intrigue to this game. Randy Moss gunning for his first Super Bowl ring to put a stamp on his Hall-Of-Fame career. Ravens QB Joe Flacco on the cusp of establishing himself as an elite quarterback (and in turn being able to command $20+mil a year. Welp). And I can’t help but commend Ravens special teamer Brandon Ayanbadejo for his work this week on gay rights in pro-football and sports around the world. Hopefully his work will inspire more athletes to take lead like him so that equality in sports can reach the level that it should be at.
When it comes to playing the game, most of these story lines will mean nothing. It becomes the game within the game. Can Joe Flacco continue his torrid pace and rip apart the Niners secondary? Will Ray Lewis and the Ravens defence be able to stop Kaepernick? Can Aldon Smith generate his first sack since week 14?
My thoughts on what will actually play out are that Joe Flacco will play to his capabilities, and the 49ers defence will be left out to dry at certain points. But Ravens RB Ray Rice will have a tough going against the Niners front seven, not being able to break out like the Ravens will need, to be able to command the line scrimmage and the clock.
But everyone knows that the Ravens defence will not go down without a fight. Ray Lewis’ last game and a bunch of teammates playing their hearts our for him will be a helluva challenge for Kaepernick and the Niners.
Kaepernick will not run free like he did against the Packers. He will not sling the ball around like he did against the Falcons. But I think he will do enough of both to keep the Ravens on their toes and ruin Ray Lewis’ football farewell.
My “expert” prediction starts here:
This game will be neither an offensive juggernaut or a defensive struggle. It will be a very balanced game with both sides of the ball having their ups and downs.
Like most Super Bowls nowadays, nobody will run away with this game. I think it’ll be decided on a late turnover by Ray Rice, giving the Niners a chance to walkoff.
Kaepernick will be all that he is advertised to be, and will win the Super Bowl MVP.
Stat-line – 250yds passing, 2 TDs, 80yds rushing, 1 TD
49ers win 31 – 27