We were spot on with our Giants pick in last year’s Super Brawl vs New England and look to start a trend with our selection this Sunday at 6:30 P.M. EST. We have stayed clear of a lot of the same news and stories that have been bandied about for two weeks in the media and have basically stuck to just facts and stats to come up with our decision. Here now is our take on the Big Game…
For starters, both teams are very well evenly matched which should bring us all a competitive & exciting game; the kind we’ve been spoiled with over the past several years. They both had similar regular season records. Frisco at 11-4-1 and the Ravens at 10-6. Both running backs are tops in the league and also have similar stats; Raven’s Ray Rice 1214 rushing yards and 4.7 YPC. Frank Gore finished the season with 1143 yards and 4.4. So no ‘clear cut’ edge in this department.
In total offense, again, it’s pretty even with the 49ers at 361.8 yards per game vs 352.5 YPG for the Ravens. On defense the 49ers have an edge with 294.4 yards allowed per game while the Ravens check in at 350.9 YPG.
As far as sacks are concerned it’s a mixed bag. Niner’s Aldon Smith had 19.5 sacks in the regular season which was slightly more than doubled Ravens sack leader Paul Kruger who had nine, however, Smith has not recorded a sack since way back in week 13…
Even in kickoff returns it was ever so close when you check the numbers. Ravens speedster Jacoby Jones had a kickoff return average of 30.7 yards while the 49ers return man, LaMichael (don’t call me LeBron) James ended up with 29.8. No big disparity there.
So who are we picking and why? We’re going with the Baltimore Ravens and essentially it’s for four reasons:
1. We like the way that another slightly above average team during the regular season (remember they lost 4 out of 5 at one point), has come on strong at the end of the season and has turned it up a notch by beating two pretty good road teams at Denver and New England. You have to get some recognition when you can beat Peyton Manning and hold Tom Brady scoreless in the second-half on the road. It’s reminiscent of the Packers, Giants-on two occasions- and the Steelers runs for the championship. There is just something about teams that can get hot in the post-season that seems to be the trend of late.
2. The over-played out drama that Ray Lewis’ retirement announcement has brought to the table, has an intangible that could continue to help drive the Ravens towards a victory on February 3rd. Lewis has made his living fostering an energy level with his team using his passion and leadership qualities that has clearly resonated with his teammates. Emotional lifts can push a team or player to heights that otherwise might not be attainable. Think Indianapolis and how that team performed for coach Chuck Pagano recovering from Leukemia and Ravens WR Torrey Smith, who less than 24 hours after losing his brother in a motorcycle accident caught 6 passes for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns.
3. Sports, it is been said can be a ‘game of inches’. All sports! Should this Super Bowl be a close one, the overwhelming edge would have to go to K Justin Tucker who finished the season connecting on 30 of 33 field goals (91% average), while his San Francisco counterpart, veteran David Akers, missed 13 field goals while hitting just 29 of 42 for a 69% average. Little impact on a Super Bowl? Who can forget, for example, Bills K Scott Norwood’s 47 yard attempted field goal that went “Wide Right” with 8 seconds remaining vs the Giants in Super Bowl XXV?
4. The biggest and most stressful position in all of sports is quarterback. Joe Flacco has way more experience than Colin Kaepernick and that will be crucial in a game played on the largest stage there is.
Ravens are the pick here. Lets just hope for a competitive and exciting game!
Time of possession will be important in this game . And hopefully , both Kaepernick and Flacco will be able to overcome the early game jitters that they will undoubtedly have in what will be the biggest game of their careers , so far .
Flacco has played in the post-season for the past five years and to some success. (He’s won at least one game in each of the five..)
Kaepernick, on the other hand, might be the one with the most ‘jitters’ due to his lack of NFL experience in general.
Flacco may well have been to the postseason in each of the last five years but not until 2012 was he able to make it to the top of the mountain.
Apparently , both Beyonce and Alicia Keys , are unwilling to provide us with a wardrobe malfunction on Sunday . Damn, can’t we guys get a break ? Bring back Janet Jackson !
Makes a lot of sense to pick the Ravens, but I’m sticking with the 49ers (and Kaepernick) until my luck runs out. Which will probably be tomorrow. ;)
I’ve really appreciated these pre-game breakdowns.
Thanks so much for the kind words Shannon. I try not to put that much sentiment or ‘feeling’ into these picks and prefer to rely more on stats & facts but in either scenario the team that’s going to win is going to win regardless of what I or the thousands of pundits say…
I don’t see this game becoming a blowout and either team has an excellent chance of winning.
Good luck! (to both of us..) ;)
I pretty much rely on feelings and sentiment which is why I do so horribly in my fantasy leagues. ;). But I’m trying to learn to remember things like stats…
Here’s to a great game today!
And as far as your fantasy leagues are concerned that’s why we’re here. You can always email any questions to: email@example.com or tweet them to: @fantasyfurnace
Cannot wait for this game to start!! lol
Thank you so much! I’m paying attention and learning from your blog. Maybe this will be my year in my MLB league. ;)
Hey Hank, nice break down on the game. I agree with a lot what you said. This is shaping up to be a great match up. Here’s my pick http://fanonfiresportswire.com/?p=6547
Just checked it out. Here’s the thing…Colin Kaepernick has one road win in the post season under his tattooed belt. Flacco has several this season and hi also has at least one playoff win every year over the last five. His experience should be one of the major deciding factors in this game.
Oh, by the way Maurice, I thought we were already followers of Fan on Fire? I tried signing up on the lower right hand side of your site and it wouldn’t let me. Can’t even leave a comment…just thought you out to know.
Flacco’s contract is set to expire at the end of the postseason, and if the rumors are to believed then his agent is said to be seeking a five year deal that pays his client on average , $20 million a year . Your thoughts as to whether or not he’s worth it , given his overall record ?
Let’s just hope that this game does live up to the hype !
Have you been following the fallout concerning the NBA Players’ Union ?
Executive Director , Billy Hunter supposedly has voluntarily stepped down while the executive committee conducts an investigation concerning his and that of his daughter and son concerning misappropriated funds ($80,000) and talk of his wishing to use $7 million of union monies to prop up a Cherry Hill , New Jersey bank (failing) , where his son was said to be a senior executive .
If at all interested let me know what you think ?
Haven’t been well-versed on the NBA Players union issue. I’ll have to check out your post.
We don’t get as involved in these sort of things unless or until the fallout has an impact on the players. As you know, we’re a ‘fantasy’ site first and foremost. But thanks for the heads up on this story..
It’s troubling when the executive director Billy Hunter turns a blind eye while his daughter misappropriates $80,000 of union funds . And then Hunter , seeks to take $7 million of the NBPA’s money to invest in a Cherry Hills’ based bank (had liquidity issues) , where his son just happens to be a mid level executive . That action , Hunter sought to take without ever having advised the union’s executive committee or union President Derek Fisher . Cause for concern don’t you think ?
And here am I thinking , that politicians were the only crooked SOB’s out there !
I believe it expires in March. The owner of the Ravens has already said that Flacco will be his QB and face of the franchise for years to come. I think if he has a good showing at the big game today it will liken his chances of that huge payday he’s aiming for. Do I think he’s worth Peyton or Brady type of $$ ? no! But unless he totally implodes today I don’t see him in any other uniform next season except the Purple & black.
Steve Biscotti , the Ravens’ owner has always been loyal to a fault , but do you believe Joe Flacco is worth $20 million a year in comparison to the likes of Manning , Brees , Rodgers and Eli Manning ? I believe has been great this season , but I certainly don’t believe he’s risen to the level of his contemporaries , where he’s worth that sort of money ! , At best , he is worth about $ 15 million year , nowhere near $20 mil’ .
My heart says Niners , but there seems to something ….. that suggests it’s the Ravens’ moment to shine .
Never pick a team or bet with your heart!!
So right ! Now Lewis can ride off into the sunset with his head held high. On the other hand the Niners had so many missed opportunities in the final minutes of the game to ” seal the deal ” .
Like in the 4th quarter, 1st down on the Ravens 7 yard line. Why not try to run it in on ALL four downs instead of chucking 3 passes and 1 run?!? You have Gore, Kaepernick, Walker, etc…and I get that you’re playing vs a good defense but come on, these aren’t the ’85 Bears here…
And then , you think were it Smith instead of Kaepernick at that moment , would the outcome have been any different ?
Depends on who was calling those plays.
With Kaepernick they had another running back on the field so I’m okay with him being there if they (Harbaugh or the OC) would have called four consecutive run plays..
Beyond the power outage , the end of the game was really perplexing , given the plays of the Niners in the waning moments of the game .
Best ad of the Superbowl to my mind ………. Mercedes-Benz , guy in the restaurant being enticed by the Devil !
45 takes to for this guy, to put his tongue down the back of the throat of Bar Rafaeli ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! Am I missing something here ?
In terms of comedic value and sexual overtness (GoDaddy.com ad) , model Bar Refaeli and the geek , and the kiss they shared . What the hell was actor , Leonardo DiCaprio thinking , when he dumped her ? Was he going for an upgrade ? Rafeali isn’t a Dodger Pinto that’s sure !