The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are the only teams left standing in the NFL playoffs and after today only one will be called world champion. However, no matter who prevails, one of those champions will be named Harbaugh, as Jim and John Harbaugh square off against one another in the first ever Super Bowl with brothers as the opposing coaches.
“Well, I think it’s a blessing and a curse,” said Jim Harbaugh said via ESPN.com. Jim is 15 months younger than 50-year-old John. “A blessing because that is my brother’s team. And, also, personally I played for the Ravens. Great respect for their organization.
The Baltimore Ravens will represent the AFC and the San Francisco 49ers will represent the NFC in on football’s biggest annual stage in Super Bowl 47. After jumping over every conceivable hurdle all year long, both teams have rightfully earned their spot in the finale, but the Niners will be the favorite by a four-point margin today.
“I would say this is the most talented team I have been on,” safety Donte Whitner said on the 49ers’ official website. “Not only talented, but guys come and work hard. When you mix talent and hard work, the results are the Super Bowl.”
With two weeks to prepare, the Ravens certainly know what they are up against, but after pulling out upset wins against Denver and New England in earlier rounds, they know they are capable of beating any team on any given Sunday, even in the Super Bowl.
However, stopping the 49ers’ dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be a new type of challenge for a team that struggled defensively at times this season.
“We’re going to have to keep him inside and in front of our defense,” John Harbaugh told the Ravens’ official website. “We’re not going to be able to run past him. He’s fully capable of putting 200 yards on you in a second.”
Playing in his final NFL game, Ray Lewis will carry much of the responsibility for helping to slow Kaepernick down, but it’s nothing new for the veteran. He’s been doing it for over a decade, leading the Ravens to their only Super Bowl win in franchise history back in 2000.
The Ravens will need to find a way to contain Kaepernick, but they will also need to find a way to establish the run game against the fourth best rush defense in the league. If they are able to find some room on the ground, they’ll have a better chance at opening up the playbook and more success throwing the ball downfield.
The Niners should have the edge on both sides of the ball with a rushing attack that was also ranked fourth in the NFL during the regular season, but they’ll have to avoid turnovers because the Ravens haven’t made many during the playoffs and the team with the edge on the turnover margin usually ends up winning the game.
The Ravens overcoming all odds, Lewis playing in the final game of his career and the Hargaugh brothers making history create a myriad of interesting storylines, I don’t think Super Bowl 47 will offer too many surprises. Look for the game to be fairly low scoring, but for the 49ers to win by 4-6 points. The Ravens will battle hard and should have some success with their big receivers, but at the end of the day, the 49ers have too many weapons and the best weapon on the field in the form of Kaepernick.