I find this Super Bowl match up between the Niners and Ravens intriguing
for the very simple reason that I have difficulty visualizing it. The two teams seem so vastly different. Certainly I, like all Broncos fans, have a greater familiarity with the Ravens, having watched Denver play them twice over the past several weeks. The San Francisco team is a bit more of an anomaly.
Colin Kaepernick, in particular, mystifies me. I haven’t watched enough of him to have a grasp. I know that he trotted for over 180 yards in his first playoff game, but I didn’t watch it. All I have seen are the highlights. I know that the following week he was bottled up to an extent but that he still captained his squad to a come-from-behind victory. Kaepernick is a multi-faceted weapon. He is still very young, though, and the Super Bowl is a mighty big stage.
Joe Flacco seems to be ready. he certainly should be. He has had the Ravens in the playoffs every season since his rookie one. They’ve been tantalizingly close to reaching the Super Bowl several times. Flacco is a young veteran, now, with reams of post-season experience and battle scars. He has known the bitter disappointment of getting close time after time but never winning it all.
Baltimore’s blast through the playoffs has had a “team of destiny” feel to it. They entered as a Wild Card, knocked off Indy, Denver and New England in consecutive weeks and hadn’t had a break until the Super Bowl layoff. Did that extra week between games break Baltimore’s rhythm? If not, then I feel the Ravens are the team to beat in this one. If it did take them out of their winning “zone” then the Niners would be my favorite.
The gut feeling I am rolling with in predicting the outcome of today’s big game is that the Ravens have retained their head of steam. I believe that they will emerge victorious from relatively close, largely defensive Super Bowl. The Niners will play well, but mistakes will vex them. Kaepernick’s youth will catch up to him today. He will be impressive but turn the ball over twice. Baltimore will score tem points off of turnovers and give none up themselves.
By playing safe, mistake-free football and keeping the ball largely on the ground, the Ravens will outlast the risk-taking Niners. Ray Rice will assemble nearly 200 yard of total offense, over twice what Frank Gore will muster. Flacco will be unremarkable by design, managing the game with the interest of the clock in mind. Kaepernick cannot be dangerous if his offense is on the sidelines. He will be forced to play from behind throughout the game and the pressure will be more than he is prepared to handle cleanly.
Baltimore will squeeze the life out of San Francisco. They’ll turn the Super Bowl into a slow grind. They’ll walk away Champs, having won 23-17. Ray Lewis will cry and rattle on about it having been the will of Jesus.