Originally posted by Crow-Magnon:
Niners99, great post.
I realize the 49ers offense is rather unique and has the possibility of being a source of confusion for the Ravens defense. But I would think with two weeks time for veterans such as Lewis, Reed, Suggs and Ngata, let alone Harbaugh, that they will come up with schemes to handle Kaep and the read-option. I think a key will be how do the Niners start out? If it's close through the first half, it's one thing. But if they fall behind like they did against the Falcons, I do not think Baltimore is going to give up 2-3 scores while their offense gets blanked.
Im not sure 2 weeks is near enough time though. This style of offense seems to be innovating the NFL, and it will probably take at least an offseason or more to develop a good counter. It took like 15-20 years for the counter to the West Coast offense to be developed (Cover 2/Tampa 2).
The problem is, you can only take away parts of Kaepernicks game. ATL took away his read option ability, but in turn left the middle of the field open, and he shredded their D with a bunch of wide open pass plays. Thats how we moved the ball so easily. If you try and take away the pass by playing man coverage, even with pressure, Kap will just take off like he did against GB. The Packers tried to play man, and he just waited for the coverage to be busy stopping the pass, and he had wide open spaces to run.
Even a QB spy isnt really a good solution, because hes faster than any LB. You'd have to spy him with a S, and then hes bigger than the defender. Either way there arent many spy options who have the size and speed to effectively contain him. He burned Charles Woodson badly in the Divisional round on that TD run.
And after all that, we still havent mentioned Frank Gore or LaMichael James. Its so difficult to stop an offense than can either run up the middle with a pro bowl RB, or have the QB take off running to the outside with blazing speed. Especially since Kap decides what will happen at the moment he hands the ball off, so theres no way to know whats coming. He will do whatever he sees works best against the defense on that play.
Plus theres the element of having a strong, accurate arm. as a 3rd thing to worry about.
A big part of why we fell behind 17-0 in the ATL game had to do with being on the road. It was loud and hostile. We got overwhelmed by one of the best passing attacks in the NFL. Flacco/Boldin/Smith/Pitta are a nice group of guys, but Ryan/White/Jones/Gonzalez is just on another level.
On a neutral field against a less dangerous group of pass catchers, I think our D has a better game this time around. We contained Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan, so we know we can hold our own against any QB.
Like I said, the biggest issue for the Ravens is, are they going to be prepared enough to stop the 49ers offense with just 2 weeks to prep. We run so many packages, have so many audibles, and have so many options on any given play with Kaepernick, it will be really hard to zero in on us.
All that being said, I dont view this game as a probable win. I think the Ravens are on fire, and playing with alot of emotion. Im just hoping 5 weeks into it has them a little drained. I think the 2 weeks off benefits SF more, because of Justin Smith needing recovery time, and a little down time may cool off the blazing hot team were facing.
I also do think the dome thing matters a little. If you include Seattle's dome like atmosphere (noise and turf wise), this will be the 49ers 7th dome game of the season. We also already won at the Superdome this year in Kaepernicks 1st career road start. The Ravens are more of a cold weather, grass surface team. Our team speed and youth should have a little edge on the turf, especially without an opposing hostile crowd.
We will see. I would wish you guys good luck, but i wouldnt have meant it. I hope the ball bounces in our favor every single time.
[ Edited by Niners99 on Jan 24, 2013 at 1:25 PM ]