Originally posted by jreff22:
Prediction: Niners 30, Ravens 3
The Niners are going to blow out the Baltimore Ravens 30-3 on Thursday, and I'll explain why.
First, the football reasons. The Ravens offense revolves around their running back, Ray Rice. The Niners defense will stop him with their front seven. That means the secondary can double team both wide receivers, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. Those are the Ravens three main weapons on offense, and the Niners D is more than equipped to shut them down.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens probably will play without the injured Ray Lewis. So that means they have three great players – Haloti Ngata, Terrelle Suggs, and Ed Reed – and a bunch of average Joes. Without Lewis, Frank Gore will have a big game running the ball. Ed Reed will probably focus his coverage on stopping Vernon Davis, so all the other 49ers receivers will have big games – Michael Crabtree, Delanie Walker, Kyle Williams, maybe even Braylon Edwards. The table is set for him to perform, as Greg Roman likes to say, because he hasn't done anything the last two weeks.
So, the Niners have the better roster. They also have the superior quarterback. Joe Flacco is shaky and inconsistent, and Alex Smith is better than that. I want to remind you that last week the 49ers coaches kept comparing John Skelton to Joe Flacco in interviews. Some comparison.
The Niners also have the superior Harbaugh.
I believe Jim has the superior football mind and the superior staff of assistant coaches.
But there's something else working in Jim's favor this week, and it's psychological.
Jim Harbaugh has a simple life narrative he's constantly repeating. He's the ultimate underdog. He's Captain Comeback.
He operates best when conventional wisdom says he'll fail. He helped create that conventional wisdom yesterday by reminding both local and Baltimore reporters that the Niners have received "the short end of the straw" this week because they have to travel three time zones to play on a short week. No team has had to do that since 1975. It's basically a scheduled loss, and to pull off a win would be accomplishing the impossible, right?
Maybe for anyone else, but not for Jim Harbaugh. He lives for the opportunity to prove people wrong. It's his life narrative, so you could call this a Narrative Game for Harbaugh and the Niners. They're the underdogs again, just as they wanted.
But Harbaugh won't just squeak past his brother's team. He's going to blow them out. His whole life he's been trying to outshine his brother. "Who wouldn't like John?" Jim asked local reporters sarcastically yesterday.
Jim crafted his maniacal competitive streak to surpass his high-achieving brother.
And this Thursday night he's going to take John's birthright for good.
This article may be amongst the most stupid pieces of journalism ever printed. I hardly know which direction to begin first, as Grant Cohn clearly does not understand football very well.
Let's start with the score. Could the Niners win 30-3? Sure. However, the team is travelling across the country, playing a night game, against a solid home team, that is 5-0 at home. Why would he even get the slightest idea that the Niners would win by 27 points on the road against a good team? It is insanity.
That is amongst the least of the silliness written here. About coverage on defense, he states, "That means the secondary can double team both wide receivers
, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith". Ok, while not a math genius, unless the Niners plan on starting 13 players, this is ridiculous. If a defense double teams both wide receivers, and rushes the typical number of defenders, four, this leaves 3 defenders to cover the rest of the field. If an offense runs 5 OL, that leaves 5 potential receivers (WR's, TE's, and RB's). If four defenders are covering two WR's, that would leave a one-on-one matchup, three versus three against the other Ravens receivers. That is a loss for any defense across the league, and it is not even close. If the Niners deploy this defense, they would surrender 40 points at a minimum. Anyone who knows football has to absolutely laugh at the notion that four players are going to double two WR's all day long.
In addition, Cohn forgets to note that Ray Rice has 51 receptions for the year (much more than Frank Gore), and that the Ravens' TE's, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, both have more receptions than the starter and reserve for the Niners, Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. To state that the only passing weapons the Ravens possess are the two WR's is erroneous at best. Just really dumb.
He further states that the Ravens only have three great defensive players. Well, the Niners only have two or three great defensive starters as well. And, as much as I like Goldson, J. Smith and Brooks, I'd take Reed, Suggs and Ngata if a choice was made. I think he underestimates the Ravens defense, which is third in points, fourth in yards, seventh in passing yards, and fifth in rushing defense.
Finally, the greatest of silliness, Cohn states that since Reed will cover Davis, that "all
the other 49ers receivers will have big games – Michael Crabtree, Delanie Walker, Kyle Williams, maybe even Braylon Edwards". Let's play conservative and say that a "big game" equals five receptions for 75 yards.Throw in some yards for the other receivers, Davis and Gore, and what do you have? 300-350 passing yards for Alex Smith. Against a top ten pass defense on the road? I just he think is comical at this point. The Niners average 188 passing yards per game, which is 27th in the league.
Are the Niners a better team than the Ravens? Possibly. They have been more consistent this season. And, could they win? Absolutely. But this article shows a complete lack of football intelligence. I advocate loving your team, but to check your brain in at the door makes you a brainless homer, and someone that should not be a journalist for a major football team. If the Ravens beat writers, coaches, announcers, or anyone connected to football read this, they would laugh their a$$ off.
Thanks for the comedy, Grant.
P.S. I apologize if your writing "tongue in cheek", Grant, to play on the homers.