By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer
Super Bowl XLVII
2012 â New England Patriots
So, as you can clearly see, Iâm not all that adept at this specific game, despite having finished with playoff record over .500 in every season I just listed. But in order for me to do that this year, I have to get this one right. Oh boy.
On the surface, the 49âers are the more talented team, but I think the real key here is the fact that the Ravens offensive line is playing better than any O-line in football right now â which is why theyâre here. They withstood a solid Denver pass rush and allowed Joe Flacco time to throw, and then against New England they gave Flacco all day to look downfield and find wide open receivers. I donât know that the Niners secondary will allow Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin to get as open as the Patriots did, but even the best secondary will fall apart if the opposing QB has enough time to wait and find an open receiver.
On the other side of the ball, the Falcons gave the Ravens a bit of a blueprint for stopping Kaepernick. Obviously the need to play zone was established when the Packers got schooled in a man-to-man system, but the Ravens have two of the smartest defensive players of this generation in Lewis and Ed Reed on their team. If any defense has the guile and will to stop this 49âers offense, I would say the Ravens are the team to do it.
Last year, these two teams met on Thanksgiving night in Baltimore in a sloppy, ugly, weather-hindered low-scoring affair that the Ravens held on to win. Yes, Kaepernick is now running the San Francisco offense instead of Alex Smith and yes, this game is indoors in a climate-controlled, turf environment, but that doesnât change the fact that the Ravens are one of the few teams in the NFL that can lay claim to being more physical than the 49âers. Jim may be the young, up-and-coming hotshot coach ready to lay claim to footballâs biggest trophy, but thereâs still a bit of a traditionalist in me that says little brother canât have something until big brotherâs done with it, so Iâll take John for this Harbaugh Bowl.
Now then, whoâs up for wiping that smug smile off of Ray Lewisâ face?
Pick: Baltimore 24, San Francisco 20