As has been stated ad hominem in the build up to the Super Bowl, the game features to very evenly matched teams in the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Both offer a variety of strengths that can be used very opportunistically against the other teams’ weaknesses.
Sitting down with a pile of wings, chips, Rotel, cold beverages and the always-present giant sub, here are the match-ups to look for when explaining everything to your friend whose only NFL experience is watching the big game while waiting for the buzz-worthy commercials and Destiny’s Child reunion.
When the Ravens Have the Ball
Joe Flacco has piles of playoff experience, but this is far and away his best postseason performance. He has yet to throw an interception in the tournament, and on the season he has 15 touchdowns and no interceptions on passes that travel over 20 yards in the air.
What has made him such an efficient passer during the playoffs? New offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has implemented the balance that most coordinators barely give lip service. He runs to set up the pass, setting up defenses to aggressively attack downhill. Out of three playoff games, the Ravens have attempted more passes than runs only once.
By inserting their mercurial former Pro Bowler, Bryant McKinnie, back in the starting lineup, the Ravens were able to move Michael Oher to the strong side of the formation, where he is a more natural fit. The Ravens’ offensive line has played as well as almost any unit except the 49ers during their postseason run, but they will have to face a stout 49ers defensive front.