My (attempt at an unbiased) Comparison of the Super Bowl Teams
As most know, I am a 49ers fan, so I'm not going to do any winner predictions or score predictions or anything like that. You already know those would be biased. Instead I am going to do an attempt to compare different elements of these very well matched Super Bowl teams. Maybe they are well matched because they have similar minds running the teams (Harbowl 2). The first Harbowl was close the Ravens won that game and sacked Alex Smith 9 times. There was also an Alex Smith TD that was called back on what most would consider a nonsense call. But in the long run if you keep a game close enough for the refs to decide your fate then it's your fault. The best way to win a game is to do it convincingly. Both teams are somewhat different since that meeting. The 49ers brought back the majority of their starters from last year, but added more on the WR end, too bad two of the WR's went on IR earlier this season. The self proclaimed GOAT Randy Moss is still part of the receiving core the 2nd round pick AJ Jenkins hasn't really been an impact this season but Crabtree has become the WR that 49ers fans have hoped for since drafting him. The biggest change for the 49ers since that game last season is at the QB position and the biggest difference for the Ravens is the Offensive Coordinator. After a roller coaster season of trying to put more focus on Joe Flacco the Ravens fired their Offensive Coordinator and promoted former Colts Head Coach to the position. It started off rocky, but after entering the playoffs the move seems genius. Somewhat of a similar thing for the 49ers. Alex Smith went out due to injury Colin Kaepernick came in to finish a game in a tie. He lost two divisional match ups later on to the Seahawks and the Rams, but beat the Beats, Saints, Cardinals, and the Patriots on his way to a playoff bye week. In the playoffs Colin sealed the deal by beating the Packers with his feet and leading a comeback against the Falcons with his arm to put his team in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1994 Super Bowl. Now that the intro is done, lets compare the teams. I will give a report card for each position from 1 - 5, 5 being 100% and 1 being 20%. The two teams are probably the most evenly matched Super Bowl teams in a long time, which should lead to a great, edge of your seat game.
This game can easily be about the coaches, but I don't think it should be about Kaepernick and Ray Lewis. The leader of the 49ers offense is Frank Gore and the guy on the Ravens defense that is the biggest threat is Ed Reed. Those two quiet guys should be the headliners of this match up.
Quarterback: 49ers = 4, Ravens = 4.5. I'm not really saying that Flacco is that good, but I will say that he has a cannon. Kaeprnick has an arm too, but I'm giving Flacco the edge off of experience.
Running Back: 49ers = 4.5, Ravens= 4. Ray Rice and Bernard Pollard are great, but I will have to say that the 49ers rushing attack have the edge with Frank Gore, LaMichael James, and Colin Kaepernick running the ball.
Wide Receivers: 49ers = 4, Ravens = 4. Crabtree has been great this year, Randy Moss can be the old Randy at any time but who's the #3 Ted Ginn Jr? He's fast but as a WR he's always been a question mark. The Ravens have a 2nd year phenom in T.Smith, he has speed and hands, Boldin is slow but has great hands and they have a surprise #3 attack from Jacoby. I'll just call it even here. Neither team has the WR core that Atlanta, Green Bay, Patriots, or Denver have but we see how far that got them.
Tight Ends: 49ers = 4.5, Ravens = 3.5. Don't get me wrong Pitta has had a great season, but at best he's the Raven's Delanie Walker, but the 49ers still have Vernon Davis who has great hands, speed, and size. Vernon makes it tough for defenders to cover him, I'm not sure that Pitta has the same effect.
Offensive Line: 49ers = 4.5, Ravens = 4. Both are great, I'm just going to give the edge to the 49ers based on what I've seen them do in protection and in the running game all season.
Defensive Line: 49ers = 4.5, Ravens = 4.5. It took a took a lot for me to rank these evenly, but the Ravens defensive line has stepped it up towards the end of the season when they got some people healthy. They have created a pass rush that they missed all season.
Linebackers: 49ers = 4.5, Ravens = 4. We know the Ravens very popular bunch of Linebackers and the one who was decided to retire to help inspire his team. Against any other team they would probably be the higher rated bunch, but the 49ers have an all pro core of linebackers. I'm going to give the 49ers the edge do to youth, speed, and health. Patrick Willis, NaVarro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, and (depending on the formation) Aldon Smith have been the best linebacker core in football.
Corner Backs: 49ers = 4, Ravens = 3.75. Not a big difference. I will say that man to man, the 49ers CBs have proven themselves this season, but in the same instance if they faced faster WRs and didn't have Safety help they seemed to get into trouble. The Raven's CBs have has some issues on and off most of the season.
Safeties: 49ers = 4, Ravens = 4.5. Ed Reed is sick back there, even with the 49ers getting Pro Bowl selections, Ed Reed is a quiet assassin for that positions.
Kickers: 49ers = 3.5, Ravens = 3.75. Ravens get the edge, last year the 49ers would have gotten the edge, but since Akers re-injured his groin injury last time he was in the Super Dome he has been very inconsistent. I would take both kickers over Cundiff though.
Special Teams: 49ers = 4, Ravens = 4.5. Ginn Jr has the ability, but hasn't really shown it this season, LaMichael James has shown his ability to make big returns since emerging late in the season... BUT Jacoby has probably been the most explosive returner on special teams all season, so they deserve the edge on this.
Ok I'm done, I'm leaving it at that. Looks like an even match up and it should be a good game. You tally it up and let me know what it looks like +Michael Carroll then let me know if you change your picks.