Super Bowl XLVII preview

Tyler Franceschini | Staff Writer

Thanksgiving Day of 2011 marked the first time in NFL history that brothers coached against one another, when John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens defeated younger brother Jim Harbaugh’s San Franciso 49ers 16-6. On Sunday, February 3rd, those same brothers will coach against one another in the biggest stage of them all, Super Bowl XVLII. 

However, the game will be more than just a battle of brother head coaches, as both teams have had their own unique journeys to reach the pinnacle of their sport.

The Ravens with a huge win against the New England Patriots on Sunday in which they held the Patriots to zero points in the second half, also have their quarterback Joe Flacco playing out of his mind in their three games this postseason.  Totaling 853 pass yards, eight touchdowns, and zero interceptions, Flacco is making all the throws necessary for his teams to win. The Delaware alum’s favorite short to intermediate target is certainly Anquan Boldin who has some of the surest hands in the NFL and has four touchdowns in three postseason games this year. On the other side of the field, Torrey Smithbrings blazing speed that can blow the top off a defense. 

For San Francisco, Colin Kaepernick is playing equally as well for the 49ers with 698 combined yards, three passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and one interception.  Kaepernick loves his top wide receiver Michael Crabtree, and who wouldn’t, as he runs some of the best routes in the National Football League with 176 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the two postseason games so far.  Also, the emergence of Vernon Davis with 106 receiving yards against the Falcons in the NFC Championship will be something to watch in the Super Bowl.

The saying in the NFL is “offense wins games, defense wins championships,” and this statement will be evident no matter which teams wins in New Orleans.  After all, behind Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis, the two best middle linebackers in the game, both defenses are known as two of the fiercest, most difficult defenses to play against.  Each has some of the top pass rushers in the league to go with their incredible run-stopping middle linebackers.  On the 49ers side, defensive linemen Aldon Smith and Justin Smith wreak havoc for opposing quarterbacks, while on the Ravens side, Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger do the same.

After it’s all said and done, it’s extremely cliché, but the team that runs the ball better in the Super Bowl, very well may win the game.  So far this postseason, the 49ers have had more success running the ball with almost 500 yards rushing in just two games thanks to Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore, and the Ravens have given up almost 400 yards rushing in three games.  If the 49ers can control the tempo of the game with a great offensive line, run game, and Gore, they will surely have a great chance to win this game. 

Ray Lewis has done everything for this team physically and emotionally the past three games, but I think the Ravens will come up just a little bit short on February 3rd.  I believe the 49ers will in fact run the ball extremely well up the gut and outside the tackle, and this paired with the fact that Joe Flacco will face a great pass defense in the San Francisco 49ers, leaves my prediction for the Super Bowl to be: San Francisco 24, Baltimore 21.