Archive for February, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII Pick

February 3rd, 2013 Comments off

San Francisco (-4) vs. Baltimore
Officially, I have no rooting interest in this game. And, in reality, my evening is going to turn out just the same no matter how it goes. Give me a close, hard-fought game with some spectacular moments on both sides of the ball and both sides of the field and I’ll be just as happy no matter which team ends up hoisting the Lombardi.

That’s freeing in a way. It’s also at least partially BS. Because when it comes right down to it, I really don’t want to see Ray Lewis get another ring. (Honestly, what I’d like to see Lewis get is an extended prison sentence, but that’s not gonna happen.) Before he cheated his way back onto the field, it was impossible not to respect Lewis as an athlete. That’s fine, I suppose (or maybe it isn’t; we’ll see where things go). But there’s also the fact that Lewis is and has been a duplicitous, self-aggrandizing douchebag of the highest order. He’s the kind of guy you want to see fail, and fail spectacularly. If I could write a script for this game, it would end with Frank Gore running directly over Lewis into the end zone to put the winning points on the board for San Francisco on the final play of the game (let’s say fourth and goal from the three or something like that). And, yeah, I get that the 49ers aren’t exactly asshole-free, but the thing is, if the Niners win, no one (no one) is going to pretend that Chris Culliver is the reason for the win. So … you see what I’m saying?

Anyway, I suppose that’s all neither here nor there, except to say that I’ve probably been looking for reasons to believe San Francisco will come out on top.

Here’s what I see: I don’t think either team has an advantage in the trenches. I’m certain that neither has a real advantage in the running game. Baltimore certainly has an edge in special teams, but unless this comes down to a field goal attempt (it could), I’m not sure that’s likely to be the deciding factor.

I think it comes down to the passing game. And there I think the Niners have a decided edge. Not because I have great faith in Colin Kaepernick, who has been great, but who is starting just his tenth NFL game on a very big stage. And not because I lack faith in Joe Flacco (though I’ll believe he’s capable of turning in an exceptional effort for the fourth straight game for the first time in his career when I see it). It’s simply because I think the Niners have a better chance of shutting down the Ravens deep-ball oriented passing game than the Ravens have of taking away the 49ers ability to chew up the middle of the field. The Ravens have struggled to stop tight ends. (I suspect that if Rob Gronkowski had been on the field for the AFC Championship, we’d be preparing for a different Super Bowl.) And I’m not sure Baltimore can take steps to limit the damage San Francisco can do in their two tight end sets without opening themselves up to get killed by Kaepernick, Gore and Michael Crabtree (not to mention, you know, Randy Moss, who isn’t the greatest wide receiver ever, but is probably the most gifted, and who can still punish you if you give him a tenth of a chance).

In the end, I just think the Niners have more options on offense than the Ravens, which means the Ravens’ tough defense has a more difficult task than the 49ers’ tough defense. I suspect the game will be close at least through most of the third quarter, but when the confetti comes down, I think it will be falling on a bunch of happy 49ers. And I think the scoreboard will read something along the lines of San Francisco 27, Baltimore 17.

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