As the countdown to Super Bowl XLVII reaches its final hours, fans of the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are making their final arguments for why their team is better.
Players and coaches are putting the final touches on the game-plan they hope is the best one, or at least the winning one.
It is also the last pick of the NFL season, and everyone, including myself, is hopeful to go out on a winning note.
Conference Championship Picks: 1-1 (.500)
Playoffs Overall: 5-5 (.500)
Season Overall: 177-88-1
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
Why Baltimore Will Win? Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco continues his strong play in the postseason. Flacco has looked like the best quarterback in the NFL, a title he gave himself before the season. Baltimore also manages to run a balanced attack against a great 49ers’ defense, with an emphasis on utilizing RB Ray Rice both running and receiving. The Ravens’ defense, led by the retiring LB Ray Lewis, rises up to the challenge of stopping 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick, making him one-dimensional.
Why San Francisco Will Win? The 49ers’ manage to do everything just a little better. Baltimore’s defense makes a play, San Francisco follows with a bigger play. Flacco manages a deep pass, Kaepernick follows with a big run. Much like Baltimore, the 49ers’ effectively use RB Frank Gore to take pressure off of its young quarterback. The young, athletic linebackers for San Francisco fly to the ball and limit the Ravens’ offense from moving the ball. K David Akers steps up big and finally makes a clutch field goal.
Final Thoughts? While on paper this game appears to be very even, San Francisco is just a little better. San Francisco has a slightly more dynamic offense and a slightly more athletic defense. The 49ers also have the coaching edge. Both Jim and John Harbaugh are two of the top coaches in the NFL. However, Jim might be willing to take a few more risks (and has the luxury to do so with the players he has), than John does. Last, but not least, San Francisco just doesn’t lose Super Bowls (to be fair, Baltimore hasn’t either, but it has only been in one compared to San Francisco’s five.)
Final Score? San Francisco 49ers 24, Baltimore Ravens 20