The San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were arguably the best team in the NFC throughout most of the season, but it was sort of a tale of two seasons. The first 10 weeks, quarterback Alex Smith led the Niners to a 6-2-1 record before suffering a concussion. Colin Kaepernick stepped up in Week 11 – against the Bears – and has never looked back. The Niners loaded up their pistol formation and Kaepernick has been firing away, leading a very different attack than Alex Smith led.
The pistol formation features the quarterback running a read-option, where the quarterback and running back read the
defense and either the QB keeps it or he hands it off to the running back. It’s been quite a fad this season and defenses don’t seem to have an answer for it.
Besides Kaepernick, the 49ers feature veteran running back Frank Gore, one of the more underrated runners going in the NFL today. Tight end Vernon Davis seemed to disappear when Kaepernick took over, but made big plays down the stretch in the postseason. Michael Crabtree leads 49ers wide receivers while self-proclaimed greatest receiver of all time Randy Moss seeks his first ring.
On defense, the Niners are a tough, physical bunch. Look out for the Smith Bros. – Aldon and Justin – in the pass rush, while a stellar group of linebackers is led by Patrick Willis.
If the Niners are vulnerable anywhere on defense, it would be in the secondary. The Falcons had good success going deep on SF and given Joe Flacco’s success with the deep ball, it might be an area the Ravens try to attack.
The Harbaugh Brothers
This brings sibling rivalry to new heights. For a couple of sons of a coach who had tape down the middle of their shared bedroom won’t be able to put tape down the middle of the Lombardi Trophy. Older brother John leads the Ravens while Jim, 15 months his junior, lead the Niners. Parents Jack and Jackie Harbaugh will have a very tough and emotional day as one of their boys will earn the ultimate family bragging rights.
Beyonce Knowles is the featured act. She will be joined by Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The set list reportedly includes “Crazy in Love”, “Bills Bills Bills” and “Survivor” before they finish the set with new Destiny’s Child single “Nuclear”. Don’t be surprised if Beyonce’s guy Jay Z makes an appearance as well. After the inauguration lip syncing controversy, look for Beyonce to knock em dead.
Both teams feature very tough, physical teams, especially up front, but I feel like the Niners are just slightly more nasty. They’re a bit younger on defense and Colin Kaepernick and the pistol or read-option or whatever offense you call it is an x-factor.
The Ravens have an x-factor of their own, as they seem to have found new life for retiring Ray Lewis’ “last ride.” Joe Flacco has been pretty awesome in the playoffs while not throwing any interceptions. I don’t think Flacco and the Ravens can keep it up. Kaepernick make the difference in an exciting game that comes down to the last drive.
Niners 27, Ravens 23
What’s your prediction for the game? What are you looking forward to most? Let’s see your Comments.