Super Bowl Breakdown

Whether you are watching for the great commercials, because your team is in the game, or because you are a serious football lover, there is no way to predict what will happen in Super Bowl XLVII – especially when you think about what this postseason has looked like, with lots of upsets and crazy exciting games. There is one thing that I am absolutely sure of, someone has to finally beat a Harbaugh.

Let me break this game down.

The Baltimore Ravens defense has done an exceptional job against the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. Both teams tried to set up mismatches and the Ravens handled it with the Nickel defense. Nickel defense uses five defensive backs, an extra defensive back for a team that has three wide receivers or a dynamic tight end. However, I would not be surprised if the San Francisco 49ers tried to force the Ravens into their 3-4 alignment. The 3-4 alignment includes three defensive linemen, four linebackers, and four defensive backs. Since the Ravens have been running the Nickel defense most of this postseason, it may take a few plays to adjust to the 3-4 alignment.

The Ravens will have to defend against this 49ers offense the Green Bay Packers  and the Atlanta Falcons just could not defend against. The talk has been about the 49ers pistol and read option plays. The pistol formation is when the quarterback is placed behind the center with a running back lined up behind him. They are not impossible to defend against though, just difficult. It is partially so difficult because, even when Colin Kaepernick is handing off the ball, the defense has to be thinking about him. Atlanta forced him to hand off the ball to Frank Gore by having their defensive ends sit and wait for him. You could say it worked since it kept Kaepernick to 21 rushing yards. I would not say that though because Kaepernick was then able to block John Abraham.

However difficult it is to defend against the 49ers, the Ravens have seen something similar to this before with the Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III. They held their own and learned from their experience.

Washington and San Francisco have one other thing in common that the Ravens must use to their advantage. They have quarterbacks with little experience. Kaepernick is no doubt extremely talented but he is inexperienced. The Ravens most certainly will blitz him, getting the defenders into the throwing lane in off the zone blitzes.  If the Ravens are in the 3-4 alignment often, it will probably be Paul Kruger to get into the throwing lane.

Ravens do have “the new Joe Flacco” this postseason as well. This post season, Flacco has eight touchdowns, zero interceptions, and only one fumble. However, Flacco is only completing 54.8 percent of his passes, but that does not matter as much when he makes a completed pass and it goes for a long set of yards. No one needs the explanation of what it means for your quarterback to not turn over the ball. Flacco has taken care of the ball and gotten it down the field which is what football is all about.

Here is another factor that should make this game even more exciting, both teams got two weeks to rest. Both teams with a Harbaugh, got two weeks to rest.

Jim Harbaugh does great things when he has eight days or more to create plays that exploit his opponents’ weaknesses. However, this also gives John Harbaugh time to rest his old, healthy defense. Keep an eye out for what rest did for each team. The 49ers will have had time for Jim to create some new plays for the Ravens but the Ravens defense will have two weeks of no contact and rest.

As good and as well rested as the Ravens defense will be, I’m going to have to pick the 49ers to win this one. The 49ers defense is going to have them winning at the line of scrimmage and, with that, they are going to be calling the shots throughout the game. Their offensive linemen, Colin Kaepernick, and Jim Harbaugh’s plays after two weeks off is a pretty intense combination of factors that I don’t think the Ravens can beat.