Sunday, February 3, 2013
Super Bowl XLVII: Ravens 27, 49ers 20
Football has, and will always be, a game decided in the trenches. That said, the NFL is turning into a QB league and that makes me believe Super Bowl 47 will be decided by which quarterback makes more plays and fewer mistakes.
In one corner you have the 5-year veteran Joe Flacco, who has taken his Ravens to the playoffs in each of his five seasons (two AFC Championship losses to go with this year's Super Bowl appearance). Flacco has been scrutinized - and rightfully so - for his inability to carry the Ravens. Well, that seems to be a thing of the past (or a pre-2013 playoffs thing). Check out the breakdown of Flacco's playoff maturation:
It's easy to forget this guy is five years removed from playing at Delaware. Many quarterbacks take years to lead their teams to the playoffs let alone with a playoff game. Flacco has done it with the Ravens five straight years. That's incredible. Yes, the defense might have carried Baltimore in some recent seasons, but there is no doubt Flacco and the offense are pulling the aging-yet-still-volatile defense this season.
In the other corner you have the flavor of the season, Colin Kaepernick. "The Tattooed One" is the perfect symbol of the NFL's new breed of quarterbacks (see Michael Vick, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III among others). Kaepernick's weakness - the fact he's only started nine NFL games in this his second season - can also be viewed as a positive; it took the NFL a full season to figure out Newton and no one figured out a way to slow down RGIII and Wilson this year as both took their teams to the playoffs. Kaepernick doesn't have a kryptonite. That doesn't mean he's unstoppable, of course; it just means there isn't a specific formula.
In a game (like all NFL games) that is likely to be determined by turnovers I just have the image of Kaepernick making two crucial mistakes. I'm not Nostradamus so I can't tell you exactly what they'll be, but my guess is one will be a back-breaking red zone mistake. Those two miscues will be the difference as Baltimore not only covers as a 4-point underdog but wins outright. Ravens 27, 49ers 20.