As everyone knows, today is Super Bowl Sunday, an unofficial American holiday. This year's game provides a fascinating matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens. Here at Mets 101, we will spare you all of the same tired stories surrounding the game, like the Harbaugh brothers and Ray Lewis' impending retirement, and give you some predictions on what will actually happen in the game. Three of our writers have come up with their Super Bowl picks and there is a split decision among the writers.
The Story: This game will be a defensive battle as Baltimore's aging but proud defense takes on an equally stout bunch for the 49ers. The Ravens' defense has stepped up in the postseason, shutting down the Peyton Manning led Broncos and Tom Brady's Patriots in back to back weeks to reach this game. San Francisco has played just as well, dominating the Packers and rallying from 17-0 down on the road two weeks ago to upset the Atlanta Falcons. As all defensive games go, Super Bowl XLVII will come down to one quarterback making a mistake. My money is on Colin Kaepernick throwing a crucial interception late in the game as San Francisco falls just short of the title. Joe Flacco has been rock solid throughout the postseason, throwing eight touchdowns against no interceptions. Flacco's steady play and a battle of the field goal kickers, which should favor Baltimore's Justin Tucker, should lean slightly towards the Ravens.
The Pick: Ravens 20-16
Super Bowl MVP: Joe Flacco
The Story: Everyone seems to have bought into the Ravens hook, line, and sinker. The momentum they have carried through the playoffs as well as the Cinderella aspect of Ray Lewis' final game being a Super Bowl victory has made the Ravens the sexy pick to win. All good things, however, must come to an end and the Ravens have run into the wrong team in New Orleans. The 49ers have been hot and cold throughout the season, but when they are on their game no one can beat them. Coach Jim Harbaugh's gutsy call to stick with Colin Kaepernick has paid huge dividends, and Kaepernick has played as well as anybody down the stretch. The 49ers also bring a physical style that the Ravens have not run into this postseason, and they are not afraid to smash you in the mouth in order to win football games. In the end, Kaepernick's versatility with both his arms and his legs should put the 49ers over the top. One underrated aspect of this game to keep an eye on, however, is 49ers place kicker David Akers. Akers has struggled throughout the season, so much so that the 49ers brought in Billy Cundiff during their first round bye week to test Akers. Cundiff is no longer with the team, but Coach Harbaugh could be sweating if the game comes down to an Akers kick.
The Pick: 49ers 20-17
Super Bowl MVP: Colin Kaepernick
The Story: Forget the stories about the Harbaugh brothers and Ray Lewis' legacy. They are completely irrelevant to this game. The key to this game will be whether the Ravens defense can slow down Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers read option attack. That matchup could go one of two ways. The veteran Raven defense could confuse the young quarterback with a variety of looks and force Kaepernick into turnovers. On the other hand, veteran is a code word for old. Kaepernick and company could easily use their speed to blow by a slower Ravens front seven. On the other side of the ball, the Ravens should be able to put up some points on a stout 49ers defense. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce should have tough sledding running the football, but the 49ers' pass rush has disappeared over the last month of the season. If the 49ers can't pressure Joe Flacco, he will be able to step up in the pocket and burn San Francisco with deep balls to Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, and underrated tight end Dennis Pitta. As Mike said earlier, another strike against the 49ers is David Akers. Akers is simply too unreliable to expect him to deliver a crucial kick in crunch time.
Simply put, Ray Lewis is not going to go out as a loser. Say what you want about his character, Lewis will go down as the best middle linebacker of his generation and he will ride off into the sunset with a second Super Bowl championship.
The Pick: Ravens 24-17
Super Bowl MVP: Joe Flacco
There you have it folks. Our writers have come to a split decision, but it favors the Baltimore Ravens to win their second Super Bowl title. Do you agree with the writer's picks? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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