It has been 21 weeks since the 2012 NFL Season began and there are just two teams remaining, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. This is also the beginning of an era for one team and the end of an era for another. The 49ers have a brand new superstar in QB Colin Kaepernick. He looks to be the final ingredient needed for the already high-powered 49ers to once again become a perennial powerhouse and a regular visitor to the playoffs. On the other side of the field, The Ravens are losing their superstar, team leader, and source of inspiration, Linebacker Ray Lewis to retirement. Ray Lewis has been selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times, won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003, won one Super Bowl and was named Super Bowl MVP. Clearly, he is irreplaceable. The Ravens may also be losing Safety Ed Reed to retirement. He has had been selected to eight Pro Bowls, he was the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, he has won one Super Bowl, he has the NFL record for the two longest interception returns (106 yards in 2004 and 108 yards in 2008), and he holds the all-time NFL record for interception return yards, currently at 1,506. Ed Reed is also irreplaceable. The loss of Ray Lewis and the possible loss of Ed Reed does not guarantee the demise of the Ravens, however, there will surely be some loss of productivity in their defense and a short time of adjustment.
No matter what happens next season, it looks like we’re going to have a great game this Sunday. Both teams are very physical and I expect a hard-hitting game with lots of great plays. I also expect this to be a pretty close game, as does Las Vegas. The odds in Las Vegas opened at 49ers giving 5.0 and 49.0 O/U. The current odds are 49ers giving 3.5 and 47 O/U.
Here’s my analyis:
Ravens vs. 49ers Super Bowl XLVII – Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
The 49ers will win this game in a hard-fought battle. If there is one defense that can stop the 49ers then it is the Ravens’ defense. In the playoffs they have achieved 82.3 tackles per game, 2 sacks per game, 1.67 interceptions per game, and 1.3 forced fumbles per game. The problem is, in two playoff games, the 49ers have 36.5 points per game, 476 total yards per game, and 236 rushing yards per game. These numbers would be huge in back to back regular season games but to achieve these numbers back to back against playoff teams is amazing. I suspect the San Francisco sports fans, who were just treated to a World Series Championship, will soon be celebrating a Super Bowl Championship as well.
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