Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl 47: Top 5 story lines and prediction

Article by Jeremy Dawson
 Twitter- Jdawson8190

With Super Bowl 47 coming up, here is a look at the top 5 story lines between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, followed by my final prediction for the big game.
5. Ray Rice & Frank Gore
Arguably the best offensive players on each team in the Super Bowl are the running backs, Baltimore’s Ray Rice and San Francisco’s Frank Gore. Not to mention back up running backs Bernard Pierce and LaMichael James have proven to be very valuable options in certain situations. Both backups in fact average more yards per carry than the starters.
Ray Rice is a double threat with both running and receiving. Frank Gore is more one dimensional but man is he a beast when he hits a gap in the line. Rice and Gore have consistently been two of the NFL’s premier backs. Either player is capable of being the difference maker in this game.
4. Ed Reed & Randy Moss
Moss and Reed may be on opposite sides of the ball but have certainly made a similar impact by being two of the greatest players of all time at their positions. I mean Randy Moss thinks he is the undisputed greatest receiver to bless a football field with his presence.
Well contrary to Randy’s beliefs, it is heavily disputed. But I am not meaning to slight him as a player; he is one of the five greatest, just maybe not number one. Ed Reed may be one of the top five greatest defensive backs as well and certainly one of the greatest safeties.
Another similarity between the two is that neither player has a Super Bowl victory. Both players are very deserving of an NFL title but one will have to walk away just a step short once again. It is always sad to see a Hall of Fame career end without a championship and I would not want to see that happen to either of these great players.
Indianapolis Colts v Baltimore Ravens
3. Ray Lewis & Patrick Willis
The 2013 Super Bowl will be a battle between #52. Both Ray Lewis of the Ravens and Patrick Willis of the 49ers, wear the number 52. Ray will be wearing this number for the last time on Super Bowl Sunday, having announced his plans for retirement right before the post-season had begun.
It has been an amazing ride for Lewis and the Ravens and this team is playing with more emotional momentum than I may have ever witnessed before in sports. The 49ers have been tested by strong opponents as well and Patrick Willis has been the clear leader of this team.
Both of these players lead their team in tackles in the playoffs. Lewis actually leads all players in the league with 44. Willis’ game often emulates that of Ray Lewis in his early years. It is almost as if we will be watching a young and athletic Ray Vs an older wiser Ray. Then there is the question, which will prevail?
2. John Harbaugh & Jim Harbaugh
For the first time in NFL history the head coaches facing off in the Super Bowl are brothers. Let me say that again. Two men, born of the same woman, who fell in love with the same sport, both learned how to coach amazingly, became two of the best head coaches in the world, and built two championship teams in the same season! I hope it can sink in just how amazing that concept is.
Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the 49ers, was once a quarterback in the league and was actually the victim of Ray Lewis’ first career sack. Well now he may be the victim of his last as well.
John is the more experienced coach of the two having coached nearly ten years longer than that of his brother Jim. The two are very different personality wise on the sidelines as well. John keeps his cool even under the most stressful conditions. Jim on the other hand, will flip his lid over a bad ball spot ten yards away from a first down. Each coach’s approach works perfectly with their team even though they are very different.
It is a great time to be a part of this family based on success, but man is it going to be awkward for everyone when family members start rooting for one of the teams over the other.
1. Joe Flacco & Colin Kaepernick
Even when the two teams in the Super Bowl have been completely led by their defenses this season, the quarterback matchup is still the biggest story. When it is all said and done the most questions, credit, and blame will be given to the Quarterbacks.
If Flacco and the Ravens win, we are all going to hear the word elite thrown around far too much again. If Kaepernick and the 49ers win, all we will hear is that a young running quarterback has shown they can win a championship and that the mold of the quarterback is being changed. Now I’m not saying that either of these claims would be right or wrong, they are just getting old and obvious.
Joe Flacco since entering the league has the most playoff victories out of any quarterback with eight. That is more playoff wins than Brady and Manning have in this time frame, combined. These playoffs, which have brought him to his first Super Bowl appearance, have been his best to date. Flacco is averaging almost 300 yards per game, has eight touchdowns, and has thrown no interceptions in this year’s post season.
Colin Kaepernick has broken out in the second half of the season and is now widely regarded as one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL. His ability to run is unlike anything we have seen before. “How so”, you might ask. Well think of this, Kaepernick has three runs of over 50 yards since week 13 of this season, Michael Vick has three runs of over 50 yards in his career.
Kaepernick also has a similar deep throw to that of Joe Flacco’s but Joe throws it a little farther and Colin can throw it a little more accurate. Kaepernick has the highest completion percentage in the NFL this season of passes over twenty yards. Needless to say, we can expect a lot of big plays on Sunday from both teams.
With each team averaging the same amount of points per game, the 49ers being three and a half point favorites, and the Ravens having crazy momentum we can all expect a great entertaining NFL Super Bowl.
Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and others will make some big plays but the talented younger defense of the 49ers will hold stronger for all four quarters. The great line backers of the 49ers will apply pressure to Flacco and stop plays before they have the chance to become big ones.
Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick will each run for over 100 yards and the 49ers will make enough plays with few enough mistakes to come away with a close victory. The San Francisco 49ers will be the NFL Super Bowl XLVII Champions.
San Francisco: 24 Baltimore: 17