It is the end of the NFL year. The Ravens of Baltimore will play the 49ers of San Francisco. The game will be held at the Superdome in New Orleans. The NFL celebrates its championship for the 47th time. For the first time ever, the game will feature coaches who happen to be brothers facing off against each other. The coach of the Ravens is John Harbaugh and the coach of the 49ers is his younger brother, Jim Harbaugh. So the game may also be referred to as the "Bro-Bowl." That will be gaining coverage, as well as their father Jack Harbaugh. As usual, I will write this year the case for each team and then end it with my prediction.
The Case For The Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens had been scuffling a little bit, losing four out of their last five weeks of the season to end the year 10-6. The Ravens then allowed only field goals to Indianapolis while they scored touchdowns. Then they had a miraculous win in Denver where they grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat. They followed that up with a really stifling defensive effort in manhandling New England. Baltimore beat the best of the AFC to get here.
The quarterback of the Ravens is Joe Flacco. He is known as a laid back cerebral player. But what I have seen from the Baltimore offense is the ability to take large chances downfield to the very talented wide receiver duo of Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. Throw in a decent tight end in Dennis Pitta and those are enough weapons to get the job done in any circumstance.
The Baltimore Ravens used to be known for their defense. This year it was 16th in the league in allowing yards at 352.5 per game. The rush defense was a little bit better than their pass defense. In the playoffs they have specialized in a bend-but-don't-break defense. Indianapolis got to the red zone several times in their game against Baltimore but only came away with field goals.
The Baltimore Ravens' back story is the impending retirement of their outstanding linebacker Ray Lewis. Ever since he announced his retirement, the team has played better and better each game.
The Case For The San Francisco 49ers
Where have you been San Francisco? The 49ers are back in the Super Bowl for a sixth time. They are 5-0 all-time and they are a franchise that dominated the NFL landscape in parts of the 1980s and 1990s.
The 49ers had a record of 5-2-1 after their bye week. They impressively defeated New England at New England on Dec. 16. They also woefully lost to St. Louis on Dec. 2. They...