NEW ORLEANS -- The 47th Super Bowl with bring together the two most physical, toughest teams in pro football. Both began the year with organized team activities, mini-camps, off-season conditioning programs, training camp, exhibition games, regular season games and finally the playoffs to be the last two teams standing among 32 possibilities. It is easy to make an argument for either team winning and with that thought in mind, here are my reasons why the 49ers could win Super Bowl XLVII and why the Ravens could as well. And a final decision based on answering the most important question ever asked...why?
Why the 49ers could win Super Bowl XLVII
1. Colin Kaepernick, QB. What Joe Flacco can't do Colin Kaepernick can with ease. That is, take off and run with a level of speed and acceleration that is remarkable. Whether it be on a spontaneous reactive play or out of the read option series of plays, Kaepernick's ability to create is second to none to any in the NFL. Both teams are amazingly similar except for one player, Colin Kaepernick.
2. Vernon Davis as a pass receiving tight end. In football you always look for big people that run like little people in terms of acceleration, speed and quickness. That is Vernon Davis as a tight end. In the simplest of explanations, he is too physical for a safety to cover and too fast for a linebacker. If the Ravens play man-to-man coverage the first person Joe Flacco will look for on his pre-snap read is his tight end Davis. The MVP trophy is his for the taking.
3. The 49ers offensive line. Polished, complex and very physical, the 49er offensive line may be the best in football. They run, trap, zone, wham, fullback lead, use every type of blocking pattern possible and run the plays with success by knocking opponents off the ball by not position blocking. With counter plays and double team chip plays, the 49ers offensive line can be the reason for success on Sunday night.
Why the Baltimore Ravens could win Super Bowl XLVII
1. Fullback Vonta Leach. He is the lead blocker for Ray Rice on both linebacker isolation plays and stretch plays to the perimeter. If the Ravens can establish Rice in the running game it will force the 49ers to cheat their safeties, Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner to the line of scrimmage and by doing so allow both Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin into 1-on-1 downfield opportunities. But, before Rice can run, Leach has to block both Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, the 49ers top linebackers and top players. Tough assignment.
2. Ed Reed at free safety. Kaepernick at QB will be starting his 10th game. Reed at safety will be finishing his 11th year of football. He has seen every QB, every receiver and every designed play there is. With two weeks to prepare it will be Ed Reed that will make sure everyone is assignment perfect against the zone read and every abstract play possible. Reed knows that if he is the leading tackler on the Ravens by the end of the game they will lose. He will make sure that those on the front end do all they can do so those on the back end, the secondary don't have to become line of scrimmage players.
3. Ray Lewis. Not so much as a player but as a leader able to inspire all his teammates to win for each other. It is easy to be emotionally ready for a Super Bowl championship game. It is even easier to do all you can do to win for someone outside your normal motivation. The ability of Lewis to transfer his focus and desire to others is unique. In this Super Bowl all Ravens fans, players, coaches and others will make the effort to win for the organization but also for #52, Ray Lewis. Some hate him, some adore him, bottom line is he is one of, if not the best leader in team sports.
The only difference I see between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers is Colin Kaepernick. He has an Olympic stride and speed that is difficult to defend and over the course of 60 minutes at some point he will use it to change the flow of the game. It is easy to make an argument for either team but when the unpredictable is in demand, it is more likely that Kaepernick will make it happen than Joe Flacco. San Francisco wins, but Baltimore keeps it close. Final score: San Francisco 20, Baltimore 17. Baltimore covers the 3.5. Ravens.