Originally posted by Crow-Magnon:
I think both teams are going to play well in NOLA. But I do not seem to be hearing from Ravens fans as much as I am from Niners fans that this game is almost a gimme. Yes, Kaep is playung very well right now, Gore is a great RB and your D is pretty stout. But if your pass rush does not pressure Flacco and he has time, he will probably do well against the Niners secondary. And that will create gaps for Rice and Pierce.
This SB will not be a cakewalk for either team. The Ravens have the best red zone defense in the NFL this year. It's one thing to move the ball down the field; it's another to punch it in for 6. And if it comes down to 47 yard FG's, the Niners may be in trouble.
Both fanbases will be heavily favoring their own team obviously. Id guess 90% of Ravens fans feel that they will win this game, and 90% of Niner fans feel they will also win.
As far as media goes, im hearing a LOT of Ravens hype. Its the east coast familiarity thing, plus theyre getting the Ray Lewis attention. The media in general seems to think that this is meant to be the Ravens' year. Vegas is favoring the Niners because they feel we have the better team, but I think nonpartisan fans/media are picking the Ravens more than the 49ers.
The game is going to come down to 2 factors.
Can the Ravens D stop Colin Kaepernick? and Can the 49ers D keep Joe Flacco off balance?
If the 49ers can make life uncomfortable for Joe Flacco, and Kaepernick isnt held firmly in check, I think the 49ers will win this game. Those are big "IF's" though.
I think the 49ers run D is going to keep the Ravens one dimensional. If there is one thing this Niner D is really good and consistant at doing, its stuffing the rushing attack.
The Cover 2 shell the 49ers have their safeties play will hopefully contain Torrey Smith, and prevent the killer deep ball the Ravens offense lives on. The confusion of Goldson and Tarell Brown on their coverage assignments last week caused just the first time all season we allowed a passing play over 40 yards on the 1st TD to Julio Jones.
Since the Ravens seemed to be uncomfortable facing RGIII earlier this season, it gives the 49ers a cautious hope that Kaepernick might be able to do some damage. I know alot of Ravens fans are thinking they can knock him out of the game on a scramble, like they did to RGIII, but Kap doesnt run wreckless like Griffin. He knows when to slide, or run out of bounds. Hes been responsible and patient with his scrambling this season.
The biggest concern for me is just the fact that the 49ers have struggled against teams built like the Ravens. Teams that are similar to us seem to give us a hard time. But, it all comes back to Mr. X factor. He gives this team the extra dimension it had been lacking. Weve seen similar struggles against the Rams and Seahawks since Kap took over, but they already knew us well. Its hard to say how we match up right now.
Im hoping the Ravens get caught up in the game film from last year. We were on short rest, across the country, and had Alex Smith under center. The ticky tack penalty that called Ginn's early TD catch back also changed the momentum of that game.
The question is, is 2 weeks enough time for a team to prepare for a QB like Colin Kaepernick, who theyve never played before? Our offense throws a TON of looks at defenses, and we audible alot. Between the read option plays, and the exotic sets we line up in and audible from, im hoping the Ravens will get confused here and there.