San Francisco had a championship-caliber defense all year long, and with the move to Colin Kaepernick and the pistol offense, they now have the championship-caliber offense to match as well. It’s easy to forget how much Baltimore was struggling at the end of the year before getting fortunate to draw Indianapolis in the wild card round and, let’s face it, lucking out a bit in beating Denver. The Raven defense was very impressive in stifling New England in the championship game, but this 49er offense is a new and different beast.
San Francisco 28, Baltimore 17
If you can overlook the amazing run the Ravens have made in getting here, as well as the aurora surrounding Ray Lewis and his hall-of-fame career coming to an end, the 49ers are simply a better team on paper. Their offensive is more explosive and harder to contain, while their defense is arguably the best in the NFL with everyone healthy.
That being said, the health of Justin smith will decide whether they can contain Ray Rice while allowing Aldon Smith to terrorize Joe Flacco off the edge.
While playing in just his 10th-game as an NFL starter, I don’t think the big stage will be too much for Colin Kaepernick, and he and Frank Gore will gash the Ravens on the ground to control the clock and keep Flacco’s big-play arm off of the field.
49ers 24, Ravens 17
While America’s biggest game of the year has many great story lines and some fantastic match-ups, only one team can come out victorious. Colin Kaepernick’s Cinderella run with the San Francisco 49ers comes to a climax and I look for both offenses to play strong. However, I believe Joe Flacco will lead the Baltimore offense to a narrow Super Bowl VLVII win.
Ravens 27, 49ers 24