It'a finally here, the most anticipated game of the year. For most sports fans, this is the best day of the year. Full of wings, pizza, beer and bacon; it's a dream situation. The commercials and the halftime show make it interesting even for a non-football fan.
Oh yeah and there's a game being played too. A very good matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. As everyone knows, it's Jim Harbaugh vs. John Harbaugh in what looks to be a classic coaching bout. Another famous storyline surrounding this game is the impending retirement of Ray Lewis. This will be his final game and it would be amazing for him to go out on top. Unfortunately Lewis and the rest of the Ravens, they have to contend with Colin Kaepernick. In other words, there will not be a parade in Baltimore this week.
The Ravens offense is very dependent on the big play, with Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith ready to run wild on each and every pass from Joe Flacco. I don't think this will be possible against the Niners. While the San Francisco secondary is overrated, the pass rush is the biggest difference. The past two weeks off has helped Justin Smith heal his torn triceps tendon. It cannot be understated how much that tendon means to the outcome of this game. If he is able to do what he normally does, Aldon Smith will be free to roam and Joe Flacco will be under immense pressure.
This of course bring me to the best part of this game: the guys up front. All year long, it has been said that the 49ers have the best offensive line in the NFL. The Ravens have recently been giving them a real run for their money. It will be interesting to see if Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga, and Ray McDonald can control the line of scrimmage against the physical unit of the Ravens.
If those three guys can open up some holes, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith will be on the outsideeready to rush the QB.
I believe that Ray Rice is the best running back in the league, and should be utilized more in this offense. The only problem is that Rice is going up against by far the best pair of middle linebackers in the league. NaVarro Bowman might actually be better than Patrick Willis.
Not get me wrong, I'm not discrediting the Ravens here at all, but the 49ers are simply a better team.
When you look at the Baltimore defense, they have greatly improved from the regular season. People thought they were good based on reputation alone, but in reality the unit was middle of the pack and lower. The injury to Lardarius Webb was a very important blow, but starting against the Colts in the Wild Card round, the defense has been much better. That may have something to do with Ray Lewis's emotional leadership. The only thing about the Ravens, they have yet to face a quarterback quite like my boy Colin f'ing Kaepernick. Colin f'ing Kaepernick has all the physical talent in the world, and will be able to shred any defense to pieces. In the NFC title game, the Falcons tried to take away the edges so that Kapernick could not run. That's fine, but they ignored the part about Kaepernick being a lethal pocket passer as well.
Even before Kaepernick's arrival, the 49ers had one of the best rushing attacks in football. Frank Gore and Lamichael James provide two vastly different but effective options at running back. The Ravens will be hard pressed to stop these guys in addition to Colin f'ing Kaepernick.
The cannon armed QB has some good options to throw to as well, with Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and decoy extraordinaire Randy Moss.
Overall, the 49ers are the better team, and there is potential for a blowout.
49ers (-3.5) over Ravens.