Baltimore Ravens (13-6 SU, 9-9-1 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (13-4-1 SU, 11-7 ATS)
Super Bowl XLVII
Date/Time: Sunday February 3rd, 2013. 6:30PM Eastern
Where: Superdome New Orleans, L.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Super Bowl Odds: Balt +4.5/SF -4.5
Over/Under Total: 47.5
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The grandest sports spectacle in the world will take place on February 3rd inside the Superdome when the Baltimore Ravens meet the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII (47). Not only is the Super Bowl the most prestigious sporting event known to mankind, but we have been blessed with many major storylines heading up to Super Sunday that will throw some extra flavor on this year’s big game. For the first time in history, brothers will coach against each other when John Harbaugh and the Ravens meet younger brother Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers as each coach makes their first Super Bowl appearance.
If the coaching monologue does not spice your interest, there will be plenty of other stories playing out on the field that will surely be talked about. Ravens QB Joe Flacco has the opportunity to silence critics by proving he can win the big game. Over the past several years, Flacco has faced heavy criticism for his performance in big games and ability to lead the Ravens to championships. Flacco has never posted extremely daunting numbers like a Brady, Brees, or Manning. However, the Ravens quarterback has tossed 6 touchdowns without a single interception thus far in the playoffs and has the chance to silence all doubters if the Ravens can pull out the victory over the 49ers.
San Francisco had a whirlwind surrounding their quarterback position earlier this season. Veteran QB Alex Smith had a strong start to the year before suffering a concussion that allowed 2nd year QB Colin Kaepernick to take over behind center. Kaepernick was equally impressive behind center with Smith sidelined. However, Coach Jim Harbaugh shocked the football world when he decided to keep the youngster in Kaepernick in the starting role once Smith’s concussion issues subsided. Many thought the younger Kaepernick did not have the experience to lead the 49ers deep into the playoffs but he and coach Harbaugh have proven everyone wrong.
Kaepernick has added an extra dimension to the 49ers offense with his running ability and additional threat from the play action. The young quarterback blistered the Packers for 181 rushing yards to, set a playoff record by a quarterback, in the 49ers’ first postseason outing and then led a ferocious comeback with his arm against the Falcons in the Georgia Dome to win the NFC Championship. Kaepernick has confirmed that the growing evolution of dual threat quarterbacks in the NFL is inevitable and ultimately a quarterback that can make plays with his feet will typically give offenses more chances to win. Kaepernick is surrounded by an extremely talented offense from running back Frank Gore (1,214 rushing yards), to wide receiver Michael Crabtree, and TE Vernon Davis. Therefore if Kaepernick can continue to play well, the 49ers have the talent to keep pressure on a Ravens defense that has played really well since the start of the playoffs.
Speaking of the Ravens defense, another major storyline surrounding Super Bowl 47 is that it will be the last game for future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. The over charismatic Lewis is one of the greatest to ever play the game despite whether people choose to love or hate him for his off field issues in the past. Lewis was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV when the Ravens beat the Giants 34-7 which remains Baltimore’s only previous Super Bowl appearance. This year Lewis will need a collaborative effort from the Ravens defense to slow down Kaepernick and the 49ers’ offense. Lewis has lost a step in his later years and most of the Ravens defense has past their prime. Baltimore was once one of the most feared defenses in the NFL just a few years ago. However, the Ravens ranked just 17th in total defense during the regular season allowing 350 total yards per game. Baltimore’s veteran defense has played extremely well in the playoffs and they were able to shut down New England’s number 1 offense in the AFC Championship Game. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if Lewis and the Ravens can come up with one more big performance to bring home another Lombardi Trophy.
Currently the 49ers are listed as 4.5 point favorites at most online sports books. However, Baltimore has the slight edge in the eyes of the public with 58% of early betting action favoring the Ravens. Either way this should be an extremely close football game that is very exciting. Both teams have outstanding defenses and enough playmakers on each offense to make big plays. The 49ers have not played well early in these recent playoff matches and must get off to a better start against the Ravens. If you remember, San Francisco trailed Atlanta 24-7 before rallying from behind in the NFC Championship. I doubt they would be able to pull off such a rally against Baltimore’s defense hence the need for a better performance in the first half. Baltimore on the other hand has to get some big plays out of their offense. Running back Ray Rice can be a big factor in the run game and provide some help in the passing game on designed screen passes. The Ravens offense will need to mix things up and keep the 49ers guessing on defense and stay competitive throughout the game. If the Ravens can stick around, I would give them the edge in the late stages of the game. However, only time will tell what exactly plays out inside the Super Dome for Super Bowl 47.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Ironically both teams are undefeated in previous Super Bowls. The Ravens won their only appearance back in 2001 and the 49ers historic franchise is a perfect 5-0 dating back to their last Super Bowl victory in 1995 with quarterback Steve Young. However, only one team will remain undefeated. At this point, I believe Baltimore is playing the best and most consistent football. The 49ers have went through some inconsistent stretches and the Ravens just seem to have everything clicking at the perfect time. Additionally, the Ravens coaching staff has put together excellent game plans and made even better adjustments during games throughout the postseason which I expect to happen yet again on February 3rd. I will put my money with the underdog in this one and take the points with Baltimore +4.5. Good luck!
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